4 ways to Improve Productivity

When did 9-5 become 5-9 in your opinion? Why are we so busy all the time and why does it feel like we rarely get anything done in our day?

If you’re working over 10hrs a day and still feeling like you’re not getting things done – then you have to question your time management skills. There are 4 main traits, in my experience, that time-poor people have and simply changing these will make a huge difference to your day. Just try it – I dare you:

But first, why should you listen to me? I co-own a digital media agency, manage more than 35 clients successfully and keep in touch with each one, manage more than 3 staff members whilst still taking care of all the new business ventures, marketing and accounting. (Then don’t get me started on all the housework and renovations – but that’s a different blog) SO yes! I’m quite busy! And I don’t work more than 8-10hrs per day but still get everything done.

And I drink a lot of coffee:

Conversion-Optimisation

 

So here is my advice:

 

First.

Are you one of those people that has emails dating back over 2-3 weeks ago that are still in your inbox? Is there a reason they haven’t been completed or filed? (time poor perhaps?)

Most people think organisation is a waste of time or that they simply don’t have time for organisation. Let me tell you – spending time on organising your emails, notes, desk, etc will actually save you time in the long term & it will also put your mind at ease. Nothing gets the cortisol rising like seeing numerous emails in your inbox and feeling like there’s so much left to do – when in fact you’ve probably already done things at your end and just need to file and sort them. Spending just 10-15mins a day sorting, tidying-up and filing notes & emails will save you a bucket load of time. You will feel more organised, more accomplished and if you ever need to refer back to a task – it will be that much easier to find it. Trust me – I’m OCD – and I have over 200 folders in my Outlook that help me organise myself that much better.

Just work out a naming system for each folder and file emails to the right folder each time you’ve read and responded to it. If you’re waiting on a response – leave it in your sent items – not in your inbox. If it’s been in your sent items for over 3-4 days – then remind the person again that they need to get back to you, file the old email and keep the reminder in your sent items. You should not have any emails in Inbox or Sent items that date back more than 1month. That’s just crazy! Try this and see how you go.

 

Second.

Multi-tasking is stupid! Don’t do it! I used to multi-task all the time and that made me feel like a typical girl J but then I realised it’s a waste of time. Think about it – your mind is all over the place, you are welcoming all these distractions and you feel like you’ve been working on things for longer which makes you stress. The key is to do 1 thing, finish it, then do another. If you’re working on an important report – close your outlook so you stop getting distracting pop-up emails and focus on completing the task. Cross if off your to-do list – then focus on the next task. Make a time during the day where you just answer emails and do nothing else for a while – then close outlook again and complete another task.  Just try it for 1 week and see how much more you get done. Don’t mean to diss my kind but I think guys have the right idea on multi-tasking. (sorry ladies)

 

Third.

Your work-place may not allow you to do this – but if it does I think you’re really going to enjoy this one. I had been looking for ways to improve my productivity at work when I heard about the 4-day work week. This really spiked my interest as I have no issues working 10 hour days – except that if I do it for too long – I tend to burn out.

So I wondered – is 10hrs/4days a week better than 8hrs/5days a week???

I had to experiment! And here is my experience on this:

Knowing that I had an extra day off in the week – actually made me happier at work and made me work harder to get things done so that I can genuinely enjoy my day off. I found that I was getting so much more done and ploughing through my to-do list in anticipation for my day off. Which I always chose as Wednesday so that I can have a mid-week break prior to a weekend.

Also on my day off – I got to complete all those other things that we all have to do but never have time for (housework, painting, spending time with family and puppy, and more time to prepare and cook a nice quality meal) – so come the weekend and everything is basically done! All I have to do is relax and plan a little getaway.

I truly enjoyed this structure and felt so much more accomplished – it was great to see that other people agreed with me – read this interesting article for more info:

 

Fourth.

I’m going to make this short and sweet.

Avoid meetings like the plague!

Do we really need to meet up again and discuss the project instead of actually doing it?

In my case – I only meet-up with my clients and these meetings are always productive and it’s great to catch-up and work on that relationship. But as for internal – work meetings? I think they are a complete waste of time! We find that using Google Talk, Google Hangouts & Basecamp for quick questions & updates on projects works so much better, allows us all to be across everything and frees us up to do actual work – instead of just talking about doing it. Zzzzzzz

I truly hope that if you’ve read this – that you will attempt at least 2 of these things. Good Luck! And here’s to a more balanced and accomplished life 🙂

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