Sometimes, twenty-four hours in a day just isn’t enough. When we look at others we wonder where on earth they find the time to do all they do? They don’t have access to a secret stash of extra hours and no, they weren’t born with an elusive productivity gene either. We can all learn to be more productive and get more done in less time.
If you’re feeling stressed out and time-starved, read on. Today, on the Coaching by SMK blog, I give you 5 simple ways to maximise your productivity without losing your mind.
Productivity hinges on knowing what needs to be done and having a plan to achieve it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the tasks battling for our attention each day. When you know what you want to achieve, you can work backwards, breaking a big goal into manageable tasks.
An important element of a plan is timing. When will you do each task to achieve your goal? Write it all down and colour code it, if it helps.
Make Yourself Accountable
Accountability is not the negative word you might think it is. In fact, accountability is empowering. When we hold ourselves accountable for our own actions, we have an added incentive to deliver what we said we would.
Business owners and those in top management often don’t have someone ready to ask them if they ticked off their goals today. It’s no wonder our goals get left on the long finger for another day when we have ‘more time’.
To see an overnight improvement in your productivity, get an accountability buddy who will check in on your progress so that your goals don’t get left ‘til last. As a business and personal coach, I often work with my clients to keep them on track and accountable. It works!
Focus on the Most Important Things
Armed with your plan, you have a list of tasks to achieve. But you’ll find that some are easier than others. To keep your productivity up, focus on the most important things first.
In his book, Eat that Frog, Brian Tracy encourages us to take care of an important but unpleasant task at the start of the workday. It gives you an immediate sense of achievement and, if it works out well, can spur you on, providing renewed energy for the rest of the day.
Explore What’s Working (Ditch the Rest)
They say that when you ask the right questions, you’ll find the right answers. This is true of productivity. Sometimes we don’t know why we’re not achieving as much as we’d like to. Try challenging yourself to look at the days that work well and those that don’t.
Ask yourself what’s going on and see what you can learn from the answers. If a pattern emerges, it may be a sign that you need to try a different approach. Keep what’s working for you and let go of routines or strategies that don’t serve you.
Making a decision to limit your exposure to distractions can be a powerful mental tool in avoiding them. Just the decision alone makes you more likely to succeed. Of course, you do need to follow through with action. If you find that email is a large source of distractions for you, allocate set times to check it then avoid it for the rest of the day.
Break Your Work into Sessions
The final tip for today is to work in sessions. Working from your plan, schedule your week in a way that works well for you. You might find that intense periods of focus are necessary to get projects underway, or perhaps regular breaks are important for you.
Do you prefer routine or variety? Build your work sessions accordingly. If you work alone much of the time, a group work session may provide you with the shared energy and creative input you need to complete a task.
We all find our optimal productivity in different ways. There is no one size fits all approach that’s fool proof for everyone, so experiment and see what works for you. If you’re struggling with productivity, a coach can help you with setting goals, formulating an achievable plan, discovering what methods of working suit you best and keeping you accountable.
You can book a complimentary 30-minute discovery session, with me, Sinéad, to discuss how I can help you put a plan in place to regain control over your time and boost your productivity. I look forward to speaking with you.