How often are you left feeling at the end of the working day that you wish you just had a few more hours to get x, y and z done? No matter how much we get done in a day, or how efficiently we have done it, there is usually a way to fine tune our activities and increase productivity.
Each one of us will have a different productivity issue – for some it may be that they get sucked into the social media vortex every time they go to make a business post, for others it may be that the morning routine needs to be changed up– so we need to look at a variety of different solutions to suit the problems faced (although if your morning routine is anything like mine, I’m still not sure what to suggest to speed up a small child putting their shoes on).
So, here are my 5 top productivity tips to help you get the most out of each day that 2019 has to offer:
1. Kick off your day with your most critical tasks
I love a to-do list and I find it helpful to start the day by identifying one or two of the most pressing tasks on my lists (I have separate ones for business & personal). Once I’ve ticked off the most important things from my to-do lists, I instantly feel like I’ve achieved something. Also, starting with something critical means there are no opportunities during the day for me to get distracted or to procrastinate over actually completing the task.
2. Don’t always try to “push through it”
When your brain needs a break, take one as this is usually a sign of overwhelm. There is evidence to suggest that taking time out (for instance taking a walk or heaven forbid, taking a lunch break) makes you more productive by giving you more emotional resilience to the ups and downs we inevitably feel during the working day, whilst also helping you to get some perspective on the problem you are trying to solve.
3. Follow the “5 Minute Rule”
I am a big fan of the five-minute rule which quite simply states ‘if it will take you five minutes or less, just do it now’. Small immediate actions can keep you moving toward a big goal or deadline. The rule also stops your to-do list getting filled up with quick tasks (it will likely take you longer to add them to your list than complete them!) and gives you a sense of energy and momentum for the day. Combined with the first top tip of completing your critical tasks first, you’re onto a winning day!
4. Using your phone to be productive
As much as most of us are glued to our phones, we seem to have forgotten the art of speaking on them. Challenge yourself this week – every time you go to reply to an email, ask yourself whether it can be answered instead by telephone and, if it can, make the call. The minutes you’ll save will all add up, especially if the email chain could have resulted in a lot of ‘email tennis’.
Additionally, if you’re in a lot of meetings, why not think about changing your voicemail so that it asks the caller to send you an email or text message instead? It saves you the time of listening to the message and potentially returning the call. Personally, I hate both leaving and receiving voicemails, so this is a great one for me!
5. Delegate the jobs that result in you multitasking
Now, being a virtual assistant, you may have guessed this one would make the list, but it still surprises me the number of people who have difficulty delegating or outsourcing tasks when they really shouldn’t.
As a top-level Executive or business owner, it is not an effective use of your time to take on more than necessary and multitask. Don’t sweat the small minutiae – you should only be concentrating on the tasks that are going to increase your revenue and help propel your business forward (such as the strategic tasks in your business).
If this last tip has triggered anything in you that makes you think I may be talking to you, why not pick up the phone (see tip 4!) and call us to discuss exactly what we can take off your plate?
We offer a free 30 minute consultation and I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be for your life to suddenly become more productive… Call us now on 07760 222906 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can pick up the phone to you instead!