Which means that it is time to talk about being more productive with our time.
Productivity… it is the talk of the town when it comes to getting stuff done.
To me, being productive ISN’T about being “on” all day, or working all day. It isn’t about working 12, 10 or even 8 hours a day.
Instead, it is about getting more done with the time I do have.
I would much rather work productively for 2 – 3 hours and take the rest of the day off, than faff around for 8 hours and still feel like I didn’t get anywhere.
So here goes… 4 ways you can be more productive with your work time (you’ll love the last one, I promise!).
1. Mono Focus
My mother always used to tell me that I couldn’t concentrate on my homework with the TV on… and as much as it pains me to tell her that she was right… she was right.
And all these years later (school homework was longer ago than I wish to count) the sentiment is the same.
You can’t work productively if you are trying to do more than one thing at once.
I’m sorry, you just can’t.
The netflix bingeathons aren’t conducive to productive, focused work.
Don’t get me wrong, having the TV on in the background is fine for pottering around kinda work, image editing, social media posting etc, assuming that you don’t have a time limit or deadline… but if you really want to create something important (or if you want to work quickly) then it needs to go off.
And I’m not just talking about TV here.
The more you are trying to do at the same time, the less productive you will be.
Close those other browser tabs, move your phone to another room, turn off email… and focus on just one thing at a time. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can work through a task that way.
2. Get Organised
I’ll just do this one thing quickly she says to herself… only to then spend 20min trying to reset the password to something, because it has been forgotten.
Or trying to find a new printer cartridge, because of course, this one ran out the moment someone tried to use it.
It takes a bit of time at the beginning, but being organised and knowing where everything is, will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Having a system for passwords, will save you scrambling to find it when you can’t get into the program or software that you want.
Having a place for all your business stationery will save you from running around the house trying to find that one thing you need.
And having a tidy desk, will save you from digging around for that scrap of paper with that really important note on it.
While everyone is different, I know that tidying my desk at the end of each day means that I have a much more productive morning the following day, and I can focus from the moment I sit down.
I have plenty of business friends who claim that their messy office doesn’t stop them from getting things done, and that they know where everything is if they need it… but if that is you, I challenge you to decide if that really is true.
Keep a carefully eye on how much time during your day you spend looking for something, or moving piles of paperwork to get to something.
For me, being organised, definitely makes me more productive.
3. Use tools to help you
I’m a huge fan of Focus@Will. (You can read my full review of it here)
Focus@Will is a subscription based platform which is full of music, specifically written, composed and designed to help you increase your focus and your concentration.
It allows me to set a timer to really focus on a specific task, while playing music which actively helps me to focus on the task at hand and work productively.
While some people swear by just a timer, I find it is the combo of timer and music that help me be the most productive.
Focus@Will might not be your thing, but make sure you are using other tools to help you make the most of your time.
Maybe it is the timer on your phone, to help you with the Pomodoro technique.
Maybe it is the Freedom app, to block sites that you waste a lot of time on.
Maybe it is a News Feed Eradicator, to block your Facebook news feed (another of my personal favourites).
There are some great tools out there to help you focus and get more done. Make the most of them.
4. Work Less
Parkinson’s Law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Let’s put it this way, if I give you half a day to draft a blog post, I’m sure you could.
And if I set a timer for 30 min and asked you to draft a blog post, I’m sure you could too.
Work will always expand to fill the time given, so if you give yourself 8 hours in the day to “work” then you will definitely fill it with “stuff”.
Will it all be productive? Maybe not
Will it all help you move towards your goals? Maybe not
If you give yourself just 2 hours work time in a day, you’ll get through almost as much, simply because you know you have a limited time and have to push through it.
Now, obviously, if you are seeing clients, that time will still need to be allocated.
But outside of that, strictly limit the time you have available to sit at your computer, and push yourself to be more productive in less time.
I’m giving you permission to take more time off here!
Get away from the screen
It will make you far more productive than sitting at your desk all day, every day.
Trust me here.
What do you think?
Do you agree with me? Productivity can be a very personal thing and what works for one, might not work for another.
I’d love to hear from you below. Tell us all about how you make the most of your time and stay productive.
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