In fact, there are some very straight forward things you can implement that have a significant impact on productivity and results. Here are:
10 Tips to Improve Productivity
1. Start with the end in mind
I first learnt this many years ago when reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people” by Stephen Covey. If you don’t know where you are heading, how can you choose what actions to take?
Always start each year, month, week and day knowing what you want to have achieved by the end of it (Note: this applies to your family life and lifestyle as well as your business).
2. Apply the “first things first” rule
Do the highest priority things first. That way, if you run out of time later in the day it will never be the most important stuff that gets dropped.
3. Set a “school” timetable
Remember those old school timetables with days and allocated time slots for lessons? Well, set one up every week. (Note: as with point 1, include family stuff as well as business stuff). It will keep you focussed and on track. It will also help you protect what is most important and stop you from over scheduling.
Remember to apply point 2 – put the most important things in your schedule first.
4. Stop multitasking
Multitasking reduces productivity and increases stress levels. Focus on one task at a time until it is done. Do this in line with point 2 and 3. (Read 3 Myths of Multi Tasking for more on this subject)
5. Reduce how often you check email/social media
Constantly interrupting tasks to check emails and social media reduces productivity. Set times during the day for checking email/social media. Use a timer. When the timer goes off, shut email and social media down to avoid temptation.
6. Take regular breaks
People who take regular breaks throughout the day actually do better quality, productive work. Schedule regular breaks as part of your daily routine.
7. Learn to say “no” more
Many people often find it difficult to say no to things, even if it impacts on their own priorities. It’s OK to say “no”. It will stop you taking on less important stuff at the cost of your priorities.
8. Get an accountability buddy
Being accountable to someone else for achieving something by a set time is a great way to keep you focussed and productive. Find someone to buddy up with. Set tasks you are both going to do by a set day/time. Agree a check in time by phone. Amazing how well this works. Try it.
9. Break tasks down into bite size chunks
For each task you have, break it down into bite size chunks. This helps keep you focussed, motivated and helps maintain concentration levels. Then apply point 10.
10. Time bind each activity
Set a time limit on each task. This will keep you focussed and reduce the risk of overrunning.
What are your top tips for improving productivity? Please share yours in the comments below.