What is your #1 productivity hack that works?
How to do more in less time? What keeps you motivated and productive? Do you use a technique or a specific approach to your to-do lists that works? Share what works for you when it comes to time management and your best productivity tips.
Without question, it is having a system for yourself and your teammates (especially sales reps) where they only check email 2 or 3 times a day (depends on the position though because customer service reps have a different job description and will need to have quicker reply times). But in general, it is completely unproductive to constantly be looking and replying to emails because human beings are not able to multi-task and it basically creates ADD and disallows you from accomplishing everything you want as efficiently as you would like. It is much more efficient to accomplish and group like tasks so just put your headphones on and knock those emails out all at once a couple times a day. It's a hard habit to crack, and even harder to get your team to buy in, but once they do, they will thank you because it is a game changer.
I find what helps me is,
1. Find a note book to keep a to do list. And I use what they call the cuvey bucket system- Google that to explore this productivity skill.
2. I put on light background music. Pandora station's '1920's prohibition' channel is the best for light upswing background music.
3. Gel chia seeds over night and mix with fruit juice for a daily boost of vitamins and nutrition for productivity.
1. Getting things done method: everything that takes less than 2 minutes, do right away.
2. Schedule to dos in your calendar/agenda incl. estimated duration.
3. Ideally immediately write down those things together with the first little task that you need to do and name the final result/goal.
4. Write the lists in 4 spaces, important & time critical, important, time critical, unimportant/don't do.
In a day and age where everything is digital, it is important to block time out on your schedule, especially if you are prone to get dragged into multiple meetings and "drive bys". Schedule time in the morning when you are fresh and motivated to tackle challenges. Make sure you block enough time to do what you need to complete and do not let folks interfere with you during that time. If you use a corporate Instant Message like Skype for Business or Yammer (Office 365 tool) then it is important that you are shown as busy or "DO NOT DISTURB" if you are set to Do Not Disturb, then they are not able to IM you or contact yo through the tool, but you are able to reach out to folks if you need to.
If its important to you - you need to actually block time on the calendar (day and time) for it. Allow all the spontaneous, daily interruptions be scheduled around that blocked time. If you wait until you have the time to do it - you will never do it. Something will always come up - so just schedule that something around that blocked time.
As an author on Time Management, Productivity and personal effectiveness, I could write a book on this - ohh, I have: three.
But you ask for my #1 hack only, so here it is; plain and simple. Do a good one to two hours of work at the start of the day before I look at my emails.
Why is this number 1? Because it really does start the day of productively. Not only does this mean I have an excellent deposit in the account of productive, high-quality work done, and it does use my most productive time to its best advantage, but, it also gives a huge psychological boost. I feel that the day is set up to be productive. This is hugely motivating.
When I know I am on a deadline or have a project I really want to attack with gusto, I turn off all my email notifications and focus. Every 45 minutes to an hour, I will check my phone for voicemail or text messages. If I deem a message urgent enough, I will take a 15-minute break to speak with the individual who left the message and set expectations of when the work can be done and estimate how long it will take. I don’t believe in multi-tasking when I work. If I have several projects I am working on, I set time limits and mark them on my calendar. For instance, I may blackout two hours in the morning for writing and then take a break to check emails, return phone calls. Depending on my schedule, I will either return to writing or schedule myself for another project.
#1 is to set a timer for 20-60 minutes and just start.
I like some non-vocal music in the background to cover up any distracting environmental sounds.
I'll also put a sticky note on my monitor with a reminder of what I'm working on in case I *somehow* find myself distracted by the internets.
Hi Marzena ~
I'm going to go out on a limb here and urge you to pay attention to yourself, first. While all of the strategies such as blocking out time and do not disturb signs are very helpful, you'll be less than productive if you continually push through when your mind or body are asking for a break. Build time for balance into your day, even if it's just five minutes outside or a walk in the park during lunch. Here's a post on how to do this: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/grounding-millennials-amara-rose?trk=mp-reader-card
Second, and related, know your own rhythms. Some of us are rarin' to go first thing in the morning; others are their most creative and productive late at night. Within the limits of running your business (obviously you need to be available when clients want to work with you), do your best to work during your most productive times of the day. A mosaicHUB article on how to renew your energy: http://www.mosaichub.com/resources/resource/the-renewable-resource-called-y-o-u
Hope this is helpful.
My method is actually pretty simple - I have a physical switch for the wireless on my work laptop. When I need to get writing done, I flip that switch.
Drawing effective boundaries for time and tasks is crucial, and I'd say that in doing so, discipline is far more effective than motivation. Studies show that we have a limited amount of willpower available each day. Making decisions, multitasking, resisting Facebook, all those little things eat up your willpower. And the lower your willpower, the less motivation you'll be able to bring to your tasks.
When you find a way to help yourself stay disciplined - firm boundaries on time or tasks, setting habits for work, or even hitting the off switch on your wi-fi - those steps help preserve your willpower. And in the long run, discipline and habits will help you be far more productive.
I use a method from the early 20th Century. The success six. Each evening before you finish up for the day. Take ten minutes and write out your six priorities for the next day. Now number them 1 to 6 in order of priority. The secret is only doing item 2 after you have completed item 1. Item 3 after completing item 2 and so on until item 6.
Start the next day before you finish the current day. You will be amazed at how much time you free up for yourself.
The Pomodoro Timer, Zappier, ProsperWorks.com, and ToDoist.com are my keys to automation and efficiency.
Having a checklist which is in order of "most important".
I have Wunderlist, which is fantastic.
I also ensure my emails only come in every 30 minutes, not every blooming 5, so I don't get distracted and want to clear my inbox and reply.
There are lots of different approaches and systems and the most important thing is to find the one that works for you. It will probably depend on what particular problem you have in being productive.
Your first step is to work out what issues you have and then find a system to help with that. For example if you keep delaying and putting off a particular task then you might want to read a book called Eat that Frog, which helps with procrastination. Alternatively if you keep forgetting to do stuff then a online/mobile app may be more appropriate a solution.
If you want to find out how to do more in the same amount of time then there is an technique called DILO where you keep a note of everything you do in a day and work out what it is you are doing that isn't adding value to your day.
Hope that helps.