Become less Busy and more Productive
People are busier than ever these days. Busy at work, busy with the kids or family and with Christmas coming up it can feel like a never ending race to finish all your to do’s and tie up all the loose ends before the new year is out.
It can be tough. With work load increasing, a crazy home life and so many things on your plate it can feel like there is so much to do and so little time to do it. It’s no wonder confusion, stress, anxiety and overwhelm set in.
I’ve been there myself, and there are many times I feel like that on a regular basis. Sometimes you need to take a step back and gain some perspective. This helps you become less stressed and gain more clarity and focus to get things done.
We all have the same 24hours in a day, so why is it that some people can achieve so much more than others? Yes, they probably do work more hours and do things other people aren't willing to do. But they also have systems in place, they follow specific routines, strategies and have habits they carry out on a consistent basis.
The first things I’d say is that the word busy gets thrown around without much thought to what it actually means. People say it often and almost wear it like a badge of honour. It’s not until I heard busy being described as not being in control, like running around like a headless chicken, with no order or structure in their work or life that it really changed my attitude towards being busy. To me now, being busy sounds like someone doesn’t have systems in place and are disorganised. Being busy sounds messy, as being productive sounds like the important things are getting done.
And that’s what I am going to share with you today. Tips and strategies to be less busy and more productive, helping you get more done in the 24 hours you have. Things I’ve picked up over the years and things that have had a huge impact on my work capacity and productivity. If you want to feel less stressed more in control and knock out all of your important tasks before lunch then read on. The tips and strategies I am about to share are carried out by all high achievers, these people have all these things in common which have become part of their daily rituals, routines and habits.
Have a morning routine
The first thing would be to have a morning routine. Waking up as late as you can, immediately scrolling through social media, quickly getting dressed and running out the door does not put you in power. You start the day rushed, stressed, and reactive to your surroundings that caries on through the day.
There are many ways to stricture a morning routine. Mediation, journalling, reading, drinking water, movement, greens powder are all staples in a powerful morning routine. And there is a reason. Taking the time to focus on yourself instantly puts you in control, you have time to focus on your life, your goals for the day instead of focusing on somebody else’s and playing catch up like everyone else. You’ll become less reactive, you wont rush to work, and this sense of peace, calm and empowerment carries on through the day.
Prioritise your tasks
You might be constantly bombarded with urgent requests, e mails and more things to add on your to do list. It doesn’t matter how efficient or organised you are, you will never get everything done in a single day. Highly successful people never get everything done in a day, they get the most important things done. This is where having a hierarchy for your tasks separates what’s really important, to what’s not.
Schedule 5 minutes in your day to write your Big 3 for the next day with the time you will have them completed. These are three things that really matter, that have a deadline or things that are going to move you closer towards your goals. They are not huge projects, but small manageable tasks you can accomplish. After deciding your Big 3 choose one that is your 1 non negotiable. One thing you MUST you complete the next day? Knowing your Big 3 and 1 non negotiable provides a filter for most important and prevents you putting time and energy into unimportant tasks that can wait.
Tackle your Big 3 first thing
Once you have chosen your Big 3 then tackle them early in the day. As early as possible. This is where a morning routine comes into play, people are generally more creative in the morning, you’ll have extra time without interruptions to get things done. Even if you wait until you get to the office, tackle your Big 3 straight away with a fresh mind and extra focus that will help you achieve them faster. There is a real sense of empowerment and achievement knowing you have accomplished your biggest tasks before lunch. This creates a domino effect as momentum builds through the rest of the day and you’re able to smash out all your other tasks with ease.
Block your time
Blocking your time is hugely important and is unfortunately overlooked. Blocking time in your day allows you to focus on ONE thing at a time. Use google calendar or your diary to block time in your day to work on specific tasks. 10am-11am might be sales calls, 12-1pm lunch, 2pm-3pm writing reports. You’ll be far more productive and less likely to bounce around from one task to another which sucks time out of your day. Studies show it takes about 20 mins for our brains to sync back to the work we were doing to start with. And the cost for having to switch between tasks can range from a time increase of 25-100%. So talking to a colleague for a couple of minutes, checking that notification on your phone or doing two things at once will set you back longer than you think. Don’t be a fool to the phenomenon that is multi tasking, you won’t be doing either task to the best of your ability. “To do two things at once is to do neither”
Protect your time
Once you have blocked your time, you have to protect each slot like your life depends on it. Turn notifications off, put your phone on aeroplane mode, exit your internet browser, lock yourself in your office or a cupboard if you have to. Minimise ALL distractions, get your brain in gear and 100% focus on your important work. Listen to focus music or some binaural beats that will help you zone your focus in. Tell people what you are doing and ask not to be disturbed. Have the mindset that these time blocks can’t be moved. If someone wants to schedule an appointment during a block then kindly decline. Usually important work from your boss or colleague is an immediate hand off rather than work that needs to be done immediately. If you aren’t in control of your time blocks then someone else will be.
These things might seem simple but they are highly effective. I guarantee you will see an improvement in your productivity and get more done if you follow these principles. If you would like to know more about each in more detail then reach to me. I would love to help.
In the meantime. Work hard, but work smart.