Ways to Increase Productivity6 min read
Boost Your Productivity
Productivity is so important but can be hard to achieve. Finding ways to optimize productivity and work smarter is crucial for good work, life balance. No entrepreneur wants to work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week but sometimes we have to. Work piles up and when you’re a one-woman show there’s no one else to do it.
We’ve all fallen into a spiral of procrastination at some point in our lives. We have 100 things to do but our productivity is lacking. When you’re self-employed especially there can be times when you don’t want to work but you have no choice. This doesn’t just apply to entrepreneurs but that’s what I can speak about from experience.
Deadlines come quickly and somedays you don’t want to work but you have to just sit down, put on your favourite leggings and get shit done!
To all my fellow humans who struggle with mental illness, it can be incredibly hard some days to stay on task and accomplish something. I’ve had countless days where I need to work but don’t have the motivation or the brain capacity to get it done but somehow, I always manage (even if it means getting an extension).
This is why I’m here to chat about productivity and how to be more productive when we need to be.
Grab a Warm Bevvie
I will start by saying if you want to be more productive then grab a coffee, matcha or tea. This is just my personal preference and probably has no scientific standing BUT I always find I work better whilst sipping a warm beverage. Yes, the caffeine can help too but I just find comfort in a warm drink, and it helps me stay on task.
Invented by Francesco Cirillo, in the late 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique is a method of time management to help increase productivity.
The technique tells you to choose a task that needs to get done. For you that might be organizing your schedule for the month, creating your quarterly goals or writing a blog post. Then, set a 25-minute timer. Get down to work and stay focused for those 25 minutes. This means throw your phone on silent, or ideally keep it in a new room and don’t have 10 unrelated internet tabs open. After the 25 minutes is up, take a 5-minute break.
I suggest refilling your drink, doing a few stretches or walking around a little. This gives your body a break from the task (most of my tasks are done sitting down) and provides a little mental break as well.
After the five minutes are up, repeat doing 25 minutes of work with five-minute breaks three more times. Once you’ve finished 4 cycles of work and breaks then allow yourself a 15-20 minute break. Take this time to get a snack, scroll social media or watch a quick show. Taking a longer break at the end gives your brain some time to decompress from the task and rest up before continuing your task (if it’s a long one) or moving onto the next task.
If the Pomodoro Technique is too structured for you, or you have several smaller tasks to do then I suggest giving a few of the next strategies a try.
Batch like tasks together so you can do them all at once. For example, if you have three sets of photos to edit do them all at once. Take a short 5-10 minute break between each set but get it all done at one time when you’re sitting there with your editing software open.
Batching also means taking similar tasks and doing them at the same time. For example, maybe you take a half-hour each morning to reply to your emails or Tuesday afternoons are dedicated to content creation. Rather than coming back to these tasks multiple times throughout the day or week, it lets you get it done all at once.
Utilizing To-Do Lists
Now I’m sure most of us have that to-do list what’s 50 items long and seems to only grow. One of the things I started doing, that I’ve worked into my morning routine, is dedicated 3-5 tasks to complete each day.
I’m a visual person and like to have a tangible list that I can cross off as I complete tasks throughout the day. Having a list, max 5 items, for each day helps me focus on a few things at once rather than thinking about my entire to-do list.
Don’t get me wrong, I do still have those never-ending to-do lists, and that’s where I pull my daily tasks from, but it’s not the list I look at throughout the day.
Get the Worst Done First
Figure out what your big task is for the day, or the one you’re dreading the more. Whatever it is, do it first. You’ll feel so much better knowing that it’s already done. This will free up space in your brain for the rest of the day. Rather than dreading it all day, you’ll feel so much better knowing it’s already done.
Pour a coffee, get some caffeine flowing through your veins and sit down to tackle it head-on. You’ll feel so much better knowing that your big task is done and you can focus on tackling a few smaller tasks after.
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is about finding the 20% of tasks you do that bring in the most business, sales or efficiency. When it comes to your business, what brings in the most sales or new clients? Focus your time on those tasks and outsource the tasks that aren’t helping you gain.
Also known as the Pareto Principle, it’s said that 20% of your effort/input will create 80% of the results. This can be applied to anything in life.
20% of workers at a business will do 80% of the work. 20% of customers will generate 80% of your revenue. It goes on and on. If you’re looking for some more information about the origins of the 80/20 rule I suggest this article.
Helpful Productivity Tips
I took to Facebook and asked the boss babes there for productivity tips. I got flooded with answers and have condensed it all into this list:
- Getting into a state of flow
- Working with a coach/advisor
- Time blocking your calendar
- Assign all tasks a deadline
- Using Clockify
- Coffee, and maybe a little more coffee
- Closing all irrelevant tabs
- Focus on one task with no other distractions
- Tabsnooze extension on Google Chrome
- Working at a coffee shop or co-working space rather than at home
- Utilizing to-do lists
- Weekly calendar with tasks
Now go Kick Ass
Choose a few tips and give them a try. If they don’t seem to be working for you then just try some more. Eventually, you’ll find your flow and figure out what works best for you. When you do, you’ll be more productive than ever!