15 Oct 6 Tips to boost your Productivity This Month
Do you wish you could be more productive? Most people do. Especially now, when the pandemic has sapped a lot of our sparkle and energy, and most people are struggling to get things done. But the good news is, productivity isn’t some magic, mystical thing – it’s just a formula. If you put the right structures and ingredients in, you will find yourself a much more productive person at work. So to try and combat some mid-Covid blues, here are our 6 tips to be more productive as the cold weather creeps in.
The key to productivity is in planning. First thing on a Monday morning, you should sit down and plan out what you need to do that week, when in the week it needs to be done, and what you want to achieve each day. This doesn’t have to be a big long thing – just 10 minutes with a pen and paper will do, and you’ll end up with lists of tasks for each day, all in priority order. Now you know what to do, and won’t get distracted by little tasks that don’t really need to be done right now. At the end of each day, look back on that list and see if you achieved everything. If you didn’t, then move them onto the next day. And then stick to that plan as best you can.
We’re going to be honest with you here. Multitasking is a myth. Not just for men, but for everyone. Instead, research has shown that the human brain is capable of doing single tasks very quickly, switching back and forth between multiple tasks at a rate that makes you feel like you’re actually doing two things at once – but you aren’t. This is a skill some people are wired with, and some aren’t. but either way, switching between tasks very quickly is rarely productive, so if you tend to do this, try focussing on one task at a time. The Pomodoro technique is great for this – focus on 1 task for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. Then do another 25 minutes focussed work, and take another 5 minute break. Repeat the cycle 4 times, and then take a longer break to recharge. You’ll find you get much more done this way.
Tidy Your Workspace
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘mess = stress’? It might seem silly, but it’s true! If you work in a cluttered, messy workspace, you are likely to feel more stressed and get less done. Part of that will be not being able to find things when you need them, leading to you wasting lots of time. But also, our brains aren’t wired to work in a messy space. So if you’re the kind of person who tends to have a messy desk, put aside 5-10 minutes once a week, or even once a day, to just clear things off. Put everything away where it needs to be, take stock of any supplies you might need (which you couldn’t see under the paperwork mountain before), and leave your desk nice and tidy. We recommend doing this at the end of every day, but you could do it on a Friday afternoon as well.
And for a bonus point, this clean desk policy means you’ll be compliant with GDPR, since no sensitive information could be left out for anyone to look at or take!
Drink More Water
So, aside from generally being good for your health, being hydrated is really important for your focus and productivity. Dehydration can lead to a lack of energy and concentration, and is a major cause of headaches and migraines. Don’t believe us? Studies have shown that just a 3%-4% drop in hydration can lead to a 35%-50% drop in productivity. That’s a massive number! So, keep a bottle of water on your desk at all times, and make sure you’re drinking enough regularly throughout the day. Stay hydrated folks!
Saying no as a business owner is tough. We get that. But sometimes it’s necessary, and we need to remember that no is in fact a complete sentence. Remember that you don’t have to attend every meeting, jump on every call, or go to every single event you’re invited to. Your time is precious, and whether you’re using it to focus on work, or to have some much-needed recharge time, it’s important to give yourself permission to say no. Practice saying no to just a few things, and see how much more productive you can be with that extra time!
Break Down Your Tasks
A lot of tasks seem big and scary because they’re… well they’re big, and therefore scary. And that means we don’t want to do them. We tell ourselves we ‘don’t have time’ to do that big task, when in reality it’s because we don’t want to. Which leads to procrastination – the killer of productivity.
So when faced with those big tasks, take some time to break them down into several smaller tasks that are simpler to do. For example, if you’re writing a blog post, you can break that down into:
- Coming up with a title
- Researching your topic
- Sketching out the structure and what you want to talk about
- Writing a first draft
- Editing that draft
All of a sudden you have many, smaller tasks that are easier to tick off, and fit in around other tasks. That means you’re more likely to do them without getting overwhelmed, and get the satisfaction of that big tick off your to-do list!
And if you find all of that doesn’t help? Then you might need someone to step in and take some of the load for you. At Starfish Admin Services, we specialise in helping busy, overwhelmed business owners reclaim their time and be more productive with their day. If you’d like to hear more tips about how to stay productive, or you need someone to support you in your business, just get in touch with the team today for your free consultation.