15 ideas to make you Super productive
The world is moving faster every single day. In fact if you want to keep up with it, you need to start developing some super powers…super productivity skills just to keep up! Everybody faces different arch enemies – for some it’s the dreaded interruptions, for others it’s that evil villain technology…for most it’s dealing with a lack of discipline or organization!.
Whatever’s holding you back, there’s no time like the present to start fighting back – you can develop productivity skills and habits and you can get better at efficiency and effectiveness.
Check out the 15 ideas below, put on your tights and pick at least one or two ideas to try out this week!
Know what’s important.
Are you really clear on the activities you do that add the most value to your business? Are you really clear on the top 5 things you need to get done in the next 90 days? If your answer is yes to the above, then you should only be spending time on those most important things. If your answer is no – then you are wasting time…probably a lot of time and until you get clear on what’s important you’re not productive!
Own your time – you’re in charge!
Simple idea but not implemented very often. You get to pick when you want to work on email and respond to phone calls…there is no law that says you need to respond right away and as long as you set expectations – you can respond within 12 or even 24 hours and people won’t blink an eye. The point is – check your messages at a point that’s convenient for you and take charge of your time.
Use systems…automate where you can.
Anything that you do repetitively, every week or every month is a candidate for automation. It will take some time (and maybe some money) up front to figure out how to implement the system, but you will save time (likely a lot of time) every week or month after that.
Take care of yourself.
Just like you need to take your car in for oil changes and regular maintenance, you have to take care of yourself if you really want to be productive and effective. Make it a priority to take care of yourself and you’ll start finding more energy and more focus. You might even consider taking ‘summer hours’.
Does your phone make noise when you get an email or a text? Does your computer say ‘You’ve got mail’ (or the equivalent) when you get email? Are you getting notifications from Facebook, Twitter or other Social Media? Then you’re killing your productivity with self created interruptions. Turn off all notifications and see how much more you get done (seriously – try it).
Use chunks of quiet time.
It can take up to 20 minutes to recover from an interruption – and nothing interrupts you more than a co-worker asking you a question or just stopping by to chat. Take a suggestion from Jason Fried (founder of software company 37 Signals) and establish quiet times – he recommends ‘No Talk Thursdays’ but find whatever works best for you.
Don’t work long hours.
You’ve got a huge amount to do – so the tendency is to just buckle down and work long hours to get it done. However lots of studies have shown that your work drops off dramatically after about 8 hours in a day, not to mention the toll that you take on the next day by burning the candle at both ends. Challenge yourself to cut the work day off at a reasonable time. Who needs sleep? You do!
Work when you’re working.
Of course the corollary to “Don’t work long hours” is to actually spend your work hours on work! That means no trolling the internet, no long water cooler discussions…save that for a clear break time or for after work.
Stop trying to multi-task.
I’ve said it before (along with lots of other people) – multi-tasking doesn’t work. You end up spending a lot more time on each thing you’re doing than if you just stayed focused on one thing at a time – studies show you’re 40% less productive! It’s a big change, but make a serious effort to start focusing on one thing at a time and you’ll find yourself getting more done!
Get stuff out of your head.
People can’t remember more than 6 up to maybe 10 things at any one time. So if you’re using your head to remember your to do list, you are forgetting things…which means it won’t get done. You’re also wasting a lot of brainpower on trying to remember things. Find a system that works for you that allows you to get important things out of your head an in a place where you will be sure to work on it later.
Put it on a calendar.
You are 75% more likely to get something done if it’s scheduled on a calendar as opposed to just on a to do list. When you take the time to think about when something needs to get done and how long it will take by putting it on your calendar, you’ll also have a much more realistic view of how much you’re doing and you’re less likely to overcommit. This may be the most important thing I can recommend in terms of an easy change! * Really Important Tip!!!
Cultivate an action bias – what’s your strategic next action?
Train yourself to always ask the question “What’s the next step to take to get this done?” and then scheduling that step. Having a bias towards action means you’ll spend a lot less time stuck on what to do next.
Touch stuff once.
One of the great time wasters we all face is email. It’s common practice to open an email, read it quickly and then save it to work on it later. Start using the 3D approach to managing email – if it takes 2 minutes or less then Do it, if it takes more than that then either Delegate it to someone else or Defer it (schedule it as an activity for yourself). You’ll spend a lot less time in your inbox and a lot more time getting things done.
Eat that frog!
Procrastination is bad news when it comes to productivity. Brian Tracy coined the phrase ‘Eat That Frog!’ as a way to illustrate the importance of dealing with your most important (and most difficult) task (your frog) first thing every day. When you eat that frog, you’re clearing out the big important stuff first – and you’ll build up a lot of momentum for the rest of the day.
Give yourself a deadline.
Have you ever noticed how much you get done the week before you’re going on vacation? You’re in the zone, you’re on a tear, you can’t be stopped! That’s because you’ve got a deadline that you can’t afford and don’t want to miss. Use that same principle other times and give yourself deadlines on tasks to create that same sense of urgency. Share it with somebody else (A Peer Group Advisory Board perhaps?) to help hold you accountable.
There are lots of other ideas for being more productive – I didn’t even talk about all of the apps and cool technology out there that can help you get things done, but this is a good start. Now it’s your turn – share your best idea or the idea here that you want to try in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach
Cool super photo by demandaj