This is the start of a short series productivity tips for work. If I have learnt one thing in the past year of working mainly from home, it is that disciplining yourself from being distracted is crucial. It is all too easy to have half of your day disappear on non-productive activity. Over the course of time this means you end up spending much more time ‘at work’ and less time doing other non-work activities, be it socialising, relaxing, watching a good film, exercising or simply spending quality time with your family.
None of these tips are ground breaking, and you may well have seen many before somewhere, but this is my take on what is needed to maximise your productive time, minimise idling, and get the best quality of life
Productivity Tip #1[success]Have a plan, and stick to it! [/success]
If you don’t have a plan it is all too easy to jump from one task to another, then to another, then check a few emails, see if anything interesting is on your Facebook feed, then come back to the first task, having achieved a grand total of nothing. Have a plan for each and every day (even if the plan for some days is take it easy, catch up on emails etc), write it down, and most critically do your best to STICK TO IT.
Productivity Tip #2[success]Write all tasks and projects down in one place [/success]
Make sure you capture all tasks no matter how big or small in the same place. Ideally an online tool or document that you can access and update easily from anywhere. However a notebook will suffice if you like to keep it old school, the key point here is don’t disperse your tasks or your ‘to do’ list in multiple places. If you record some things in a task list tool, email yourself another task or two, and have a few post-it notes on your screen that it is much harder to keep track of what needs doing, when it needs doing, and what has already been done. Choose a platform, then stick to using that for all tasks (I even have non-work chores etc in the same list with under a separate category) and soon you will find yourself spending more time doing the work than trying to keep track of it all!
Productivity Tip #3[success]FOCUS! [/success]
May sound a bit odd, but I have a big sign on the wall in my office with the single word FOCUS. This serves as a constant reminder of what I need to be doing all the time – focusing on the profit generating and business growing aspects of SCL. To maintain focus I like to listen to music (no vocals!), avoid distractions such as Facebook (biggest time killer known to man?) and if I find myself loosing focus, a blast of fresh air or chane of scenery for 5-10 minutes often helps. By having a plan, sticking to it, and keeping all tasks in one place (tips #1 and #2 above) focusing your mind is easier, but ensure you block out distractions where possible. Once focus on some tasks is lost, you can seriously loose time readjusting your mind to focus back on what you’ve been distracted from. If you can discipline yourself to avoid distractions and maintain a high level focus at all times, you will be amazed at how much more productive you can be.
Tip #3 was a bit late today – many thanks for that go to Virgin media for doubling my broadband speed, and totally screwing with the service for a day or so while they did it. Missed that bit from your adverts hey guys?
Tip #4 coming tomorrow, followed by an overview of the tools I use to ensure being productive is easy