Most people I know personally would call me organised, efficient and probably a little OCD. I’ve always found these terms somewhat offensive but when I really think about it, they are not bad traits at all. So, I thought I would offer you my top tips for being more productive at work as well as in your personal life.
Create a to-do list every day
If you find you spend a lot of time procrastinating or underestimating your ability to get things done, then it might be time to start writing lists. I am a sucker for lists, whether they are to-do’s, checklists or even a good old fashioned shopping list! I start every day by making a list of what I have to achieve for the day, which helps me prioritise and manage my time. Today I achieved my whole list before lunch, enabling me to get a start on this blog post.
I use a couple of productivity apps to help, one is called Trello and the other is called Google Keep. Trello is a collaboration tool where you can organise your projects into ‘boards’. In one glance you can see what tasks are being worked on and by who, as well as the progress. Find out more about Trello by clicking the button below. Google Keep is basically a checklist app that I use to note down daily tasks (and even shopping lists!). Click the link below for more on Google Keep.
If you prefer an old-school method, there is nothing wrong with a simple piece of paper and a pen to write your list of tasks.
Prioritise and delegate
Once you have your list of tasks, you need to prioritise and, if possible, delegate. In both Trello and Google Keep you have the ability to drag and drop notes in order or set due dates. For those working off paper, simply number your tasks according to priority, with 1 being the most important.
If you are delegating a task, note this on your list along with when each step is due for completion. Once done, check it off – what a wonderful feeling!
Stay focused – do not multitask
It is a common misconception that people are able to multitask effectively. While this may be true for tasks such as singing and washing dishes, consistently multitasking is not an efficient way to run a business. Unless you are 100% focused on your prioritised task, it will take longer to complete and you likely won’t finish it to the highest possible standard. So, my advice is to start a task, finish said task, cross it off your list and then move on.
This is really important not only for productivity but for your digital wellbeing too. Putting simple management strategies in place, such as removing unnecessary notifications on your phone and setting certain times to check your email rather than every time it pings, is an effective way to eliminate distractions that take you away from your priority tasks.
If you work in a space with colleagues who like to stand around and gossip, let them know when you are taking your break and that you will talk to them then. The less distractions you have, then more productive you will be.
Take regular breaks
I know this sounds like an oxymoron, but taking regular breaks actually helps you be more productive! Set times to take a break and have a little walk around outside, or if you work from home, use the opportunity to stack the dishwasher or put a load of washing in the matching. By taking a break from your work task, you give your brain a chance to refresh and, in turn, be more productive when you get back to your desk.
Above all, I strongly recommend you put sleep at the top of your self-care list and aim for a minimum of eight hours rest each night. If you are prone to lying in bed on your phone to ridiculous o’clock not really doing anything but watching YouTube videos or scrolling Facebook, not only will your sleep quality be compromised, but your body and brain will be tired the next day. This equates to plummeting productivity.
Practice good sleep hygiene by switching off electronic devices an hour before sleep time, go to bed and get up around the same time each day, and set yourself a bedtime routine that signals to your body that it is time to wind down.
BONUS – I also found this video on using Google tools to assist with productivity that I thought may be helpful. Click the link below to watch.