Ahhh productivity – something many of us strive for but often we then are down on ourselves or beat ourselves up because we “didn’t achieve” what we thought we were going to. Me included!
And especially since going into business for myself, the motivation to keep going when some days it’s just you in the home office, can become overwhelming and tiring.
Over the years, I’ve tried many different things to help me and here are my top 5 tips that has helped to increase my productivity.
Know Your Best Working Hours
This has probably been my biggest key learning as when I was a teenager, getting out of bed early in the morning was not the priority. But now that I am (ahem) a little older, I have actually found my most productive time of the day is the morning – anytime from 6am onwards. Come 1pm I really start to wane and find I do not achieve as much as I do in the afternoons as the mornings.
My clients are well informed that I don’t work the traditional office hours but am available during the day for them if that’s how they operate and need. But I always advise that if I’m emailing them very early in the morning, that I DO NOT expect a reply at that time!
- Determine when you work best – morning, daytime or night owl and use this to your advantage.
Write An Action List
This one is nothing new and anyone who knows me, knows I love a to do list (or as I’ve decided to call it in 2023, an Action List). I’ve also been known to add something, then cross it off if it just to complete a task LOL
Personally, I prefer a hand-written list so always have pen and notebook beside me or in my handbag (and because I’m a huge stationery lover!).
However there are plenty of online apps and programs (such as Asana and Trello) that you can use. I utilise Asana for long standing clients so they can easily see what is happening without the need for emails going back and forward.
Before I finish for the day, I take 5 minutes and write out my tasks for the following day. This enables me to start the day with a clear picture of what needs to occur.
Not only can this be used for the work at hand, but you can easily use 5 minutes to create a list of blog post ideas; post for social media; networking events and more.
- Find the best tool that works for you to keep a list of actions/tasks.
Batch work is a method that groups similar tasks together for the purpose of being more productive.
I batch work to be completed in two ways – either via client (as they have multiple tasks to be actioned) or by task eg: creating social media posts or website updates.
- Batching makes it easier to stay focussed on the task at hand and get it completed more quickly and efficiently.
Use A Timer
This one is quite simple and also works well with kids! Determine the task, set the timer (eg: 5 minutes) and start.
Knowing a clock is running can have a powerful effect on our productivity, allowing ourselves to focus and feel directly responsible for each passing moment.
- Timers can help you refine and improve your processes to become more efficient.
If you are a sole operator, then working in the office by yourself can often feel quite lonely. Great for an introvert…not so much if you are an extrovert.
One of my memberships is with Virtually Yours run by Rosie Shilio who provides virtual co-working which I love. Run on Zoom, we all come together, have a chat and catchup then list out our actions/tasks that we want to complete or get started, then set about doing those tasks. Rosie pops up a timer and we go off to commence/complete our tasks, checking back in roughly every hour.
I have been finding this beneficial because it’s another way to make me accountable and get stuff done but also have a network of people to chat with (think water cooler chit chat!) who I can also ask for help and support if needed.
- Find and join a co-working space be it in person or online to help foster work management.
If you are interested in Virtually Yours, you can check it out here.
And here is my bonus tip – stay off social media unless absolutely necessary during the working day. I can end up down a mindless rabbit hole of scrolling so I schedule time to look at social media a few times throughout the day and to keep me on track.
Do any of these resonate with you? Or do you have a different productivity hack? If you want to outsource to help you become more productive in your business, send me an email to discuss how you can be supported.