Staying focused and productive can be difficult in today's world of constant notifications and distractions.
When searching for productivity tips online, you'll find countless suggestions for doing more in your workday. However, the goal is not to cram more into your day, instead making the most of the time you have set aside for work, so you can have a fulfilling life outside of your business.
In this post, we're talking about productivity hacks that can help you use your time more effectively and get more done.
Automate and streamline your work.
There are so many tools, apps and systems available, some of which are even free, that can save you a lot of time. There's no excuse not to be using them! It's surprising how many business owners still do things the hard, manual way when they could be utilising tools that are accessible to everyone.
For example, if you're in a business that provides proposals to clients, using a proposal tool like Better Proposals. This gives you the ability to have content blocks that you can drop in and out, add services and quotes, and even team members with just a click of a button. This can significantly speed up the proposal process and make you look more professional in front of potential clients.
Another area where you can streamline your work processes is the induction of new team members. By creating step-by-step task lists or recording instructional videos, you can easily train your new hires and save time and effort for both you and your team.
Automating data entry is another great way to save time and streamline your business. An example of this is using tools like Hubdoc or Dext to extract key information from your receipts and invoices, so you don't have to spend hours manually entering data into your accounting software. This not only saves you time, but it also reduces the risk of errors that can occur when manually entering data.
Automating these processes frees up valuable time that you can use to focus on other important aspects of your business, like growing your client base, developing new products or services, or improving your customer experience.
This is a great way to structure your day and manage your time effectively. By blocking out specific time slots for tasks, you can ensure that you're making progress on your to-do list and not getting distracted by other things. This can be especially helpful if you work in a busy environment where there are lots of distractions and interruptions.
One thing to keep in mind when calendar blocking is to be realistic about how much time you need for each task. It's easy to underestimate how long something will take, and if you don't give yourself enough time, you'll end up feeling rushed and stressed. On the other hand, if you give yourself too much time, you may end up wasting time or getting sidetracked.
It's also important to be flexible when it comes to calendar blocking. Things can come up unexpectedly, and you may need to adjust your schedule accordingly. Don't be too rigid with your time blocks, and be prepared to shift things around if necessary.
Get control of your inbox.
Starting the workday by opening your inbox and reacting to other people's demands can leave you feeling out of control and overwhelmed. However, most people don't expect an immediate reply to their emails, and many urgent matters can be handled with a phone call. By setting specific times throughout the day to check your inbox and muting notifications, you can take control of your to-do list and prioritise your own tasks.
Avoid letting your inbox control your to-do list and become a time-waster. Additionally, consider using a chat tool, such as Slack or Teamwork, to contain internal communication and save time.
It's important to consider your natural rhythms and energy levels throughout the day. Some people are more productive in the morning, while others are more productive in the afternoon or evening. So if you're a morning person, maybe starting with your biggest and most important tasks first is the way to go. But if you're someone who needs more time to warm up in the morning, maybe starting with some quick and easy tasks is the best way to build momentum and get into the flow.
And if you're struggling to stay focused and motivated throughout the day, try breaking up your tasks into smaller chunks of time. For example, you could work on a project for 25 minutes, take a short break, and then work on another project for 25 minutes. This technique, known as the Pomodoro Technique, can help you stay focused and avoid burnout.
Taking breaks is crucial to maintaining focus and productivity throughout the day. It can be tempting to power through and push yourself to the limit, but this often leads to burnout and decreased performance. By stepping away and allowing yourself to rest and recharge, you can come back to your work with renewed energy and a clearer mind.
When taking breaks, it's important to prioritise your basic human needs, such as hydration, nutrition, and physical movement. Many of us neglect these needs in the pursuit of productivity, but they're essential to our overall health and wellbeing. So make sure to take the time to check in with yourself and attend to these needs throughout the day.
Saying "no" can be challenging, but it's important to reduce burnout and help you to feel more productive during your workday. Every time you say "yes" to something, you are saying "no" to something else. Without realising it, we often sacrifice time with loved ones or hobbies we enjoy for work or other obligations. That's why it's important to take the time to consider whether saying "yes" is truly what we want, or if it's sacrificing something else that's important to us.
It's also helpful to write out your boundaries with a "because" statement. It's one thing to have boundaries in your head, but it's another to see them in writing and understand the reasoning behind them. When you have a clear understanding of your boundaries, you can confidently say "no" when something doesn't align with them.
Outsource and delegate tasks.
Delegate tasks that are not within your area of expertise or taking up too much of your time. This can free up your time to focus on what you do best and what is most important for your business. Tasks that can be delegated include bookkeeping, social media management, or administrative tasks like scheduling appointments. Outsourcing may require an initial time investment, but it can ultimately save you time and money by allowing you to focus on growing your business.
Delegating is also a great opportunity to develop your team's skills and empower them to take ownership of their work. The point is to delegate everything that you possibly can so that you can focus on the things that only you can do or have the biggest impact in your business.
Remember, these tips are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it's okay if not all of them work for you.
The important thing is to find what works for you and your business and implement those strategies consistently. By doing so, you can reclaim your time, increase your productivity, and achieve your goals faster and with less stress.