Starting today I am bringing you a 4 part series on productivity. Helping you to discover more productive ways of working; how to work smart; and some tools that will help you streamline your biz. If you would rather download this whole series in one handy pdf, so you can read it at your leisure, you can do that here.
As business owners we all struggle to find more time in every day. However, there are some simple steps you can take to make you more productive, in the process freeing up time so you can enjoy life away from your desk.
You don’t have to implement all these suggestions, as some may be more applicable to you and your style of working than others. However, it’s worth trying as many as possible, as you may be surprised at just how productive it can make you in your working day.
Work With the End in Mind
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Therefore, if you want to be as effective as possible in your business, you not only need to set goals, but you also need to assign a relatively tight deadline to each one. If you just work with an open ended due date, it’s amazing how many different ways you will find to procrastinate between now and the goal’s completion.
I expect many of us have found ourselves in the situation of knowing something has to be done, but still having plenty of time between now and when the task is actually due. Even thinking back to school or college, were you a person who wrote all your assignments well before they needed to be handed in or were you the person pulling an all-nighter in order to meet the deadline? While the latter isn’t an ideal scenario, it was quite amazing how much work we could actually sit down and do as that deadline loomed over us, wasn’t it?
The same is true in our business now. A deadline is an amazingly motivating factor but if you allow too much time for the completion of the task, you will find yourself either putting it off until nearer the time it’s due or you will get caught in a procrastination loop and keep tweaking it, long after it needs any changes.
Instead, approximate the time you think each task will take you and then set a deadline slightly shorter than that. That will give you every incentive you need to crack on and get stuff done!
Get Productive Work Done First
It’s important to ensure that you get the productive work in your business done first. This could be large projects you are working on which drive your business forward or it could be the serviced based work you are providing for clients.
One of the most productive times of the day is when you first get to your desk, whatever time that is. Not all of us will be working the same time patterns, maybe you are working around childcare or you are building your business around other work commitments, such as a full or part-time job.
However, whenever you arrive at your desk is the best time to focus on that work which will move you forward. Maybe you need to write blog posts, create e-books or courses, work on creating products, or even spend time working with your clients. If you focus on the work which actually brings money in first, let’s call these money generating tasks, you stand the best chance of succeeding in your business. However tempting it is the first tasks of the day should not be checking social media or your inbox. Yes, you may need to scan your email quickly to make sure there are no emergencies but do not go down the rabbit hole of answering peoples queries at this valuable time of the day. If you do your productive work when you are fresh you can attend to all the small details, like responding to emails or communicating on Facebook, in those smaller pockets of time in the day when focus is not so important
Batch Routine Tasks
Any tasks that you do consistently, such as: writing blog posts or social media content; creating videos; posting customer orders; or any other tasks which you do on a regular basis can be batched.
Batching means that you create or work on a task for a focused period of time. For example, if you are writing social media updates or creating videos you do several over the course of a couple of hours and then you have enough content to last you for an extended period going forward. Another example is that you write five blog posts in one day and then drip those out over the next two months, one every two weeks. In that way you are not constantly switching between tasks, which can be very time-consuming and wasteful. Another example is packaging up orders to be taken to the post office. One way of working would be to package an order immediately it arrived in your inbox, but better to group them all together and package at one time so that you can then post them out.
I’ll be back next time with part 2 but just a reminder you can download the complete pdf for free today by clicking here.