Are you spending your time wisely? In order to maximise your output, tips on productivity might just be the game changer that you need as we head into 2021.
No matter your goal, industry or end game, being truly productive is more than just a state of mind. For many of us, it requires a conscious effort to adjust some life long habits to ensure that the work we produce matches the amount of effort that we’re putting in. After all, there is a notable difference between working hard and working smart – so how do you bridge the gap?
According to a recent study conducted by tech giant Microsoft, the average person works around 45 hours per week. However of these hours, a whopping 17 of those hours are considered to be “unproductive” – or almost 38%. Time is generally considered to be lost via meetings, unclear objectives, lack of communication and of course the big one – procrastination.
The fact of the matter is that we all get the same twenty four hours in each day, so what are you doing with yours? If you’re looking to increase your output, we’ve collected twenty-one productivity tips that will help you to turn time management into your superpower.
#1: MIT’s First – It’s only natural to want to “smash out” the easy tasks first, however this opens to the door to procrastination as your day progresses. Instead, try to hone in on the MIT’s as a priority, or “most important tasks”.
#2: Schedule Deep Work Time – Do you find yourself “in the zone” at one particular time of the day, say at 10:00am? If so, that’s great – and you should weaponise that. Dedicate a portion of your day to “deep work time”, or a set period where you know that you operate at your best.
#3: Write It Down – Not only should you be writing down your task list in a clear and concise format, but did you know that this method can also be used to eliminate distractions? Each time a thought pops into your head mid task, write it down to put in the “deal with later” pile.
#4: Say No More – Are you a people pleaser? If a request to take on more work doesn’t align with your goals or visions, then simply say no. Eliminate anything that doesn’t thrill you, motivate you or inspire you in order to focus on what does.
#5: Focus Time vs Sprints – Numerous studies have shown that the average human brain physically cannot concentrate for any longer than a ninety minute duration, before it needs a fifteen minute “rest”. Take these breaks to work at your overall best.
#6: Eliminate Distractions – While this might seem like the obvious one, it really is the root of all evil when it comes to productivity levels. It’s also important to know and acknowledge your own triggers, such as social media or even your favourite work wife.
#7: Declutter – Whether it’s an overflowing laundry basket, cluttered desk or bursting to do list, a feeling of being “cluttered” easily translates into feeling overwhelmed. In turn, this makes it difficult to focus if you feel pulled in all directions, so keep it simple to work at your best.
#8: Roster For Reoccurring Tasks – If you have set tasks that are due at the same time every week, then allocate specific hours or days to smash them out. By building a routine, you’re also developing a structure and training your brain to know what to expect from the day.
#9: Use Technology – If you’re still using paper based administration as we head into 2021, there’s a good chance that you may be doing yourself a massive disservice. Technology has come leaps and bounds, so use it to help improve your productivity and time management.
#10: Don’t Multitask – Stop trying to complete four tasks while giving them only 25% of your attention. Instead, really try to knuckle down and complete your “to-do” list one at a time to ensure that there are no mistakes and you’re covering all of your bases.
#11: Dumb Down Your Smartphone – Our smartphones are often the primary offender when it comes to distractions and procrastinations. Put it on silent, do not disturb or in another room if that’s what it takes, but it’s your worst enemy if you want to actually get stuff done.
#12: Plan Your Days – Instead of rocking up to your desk each morning and essentially “winging it”, start getting into the habit of planning your days. Even if this is before you go to bed at night, evaluate what you completed for the day, and what is front and centre for tomorrow.
#13: Get Outside – If you want your brain function to be working at top speed, then you need to get your body moving. Take a walk on your lunch break, try yoga in the mornings or evenings, or even try a standing workstation instead of sitting down to switch it up.
#14: Fuel Your Brain – When it comes to kicking goals, we need the fuel to start the fire. While coffee may do the job temporarily, start consuming foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, nuts and seeds) and dark leafy greens to get your brain working at maximum capacity.
#15: Avoid Stressors – There’s a fine line between being motivated and driven enough to smash through a task list, versus trying to work when we’re stressed, anxious or panicked. Try to focus on what you can control, versus what you can’t.
#16: Ditch Meeting Culture – One of the most popular productivity tips emerging in 2021 is ditching the traditional workplace meeting culture. More often than not, it’s simply unnecessary, particularly now that we’ve seen most of them shift online via platforms such as Zoom.
#17: Make Micro Goals – “Make $1 Million Dollars” sounds overwhelming, right? Start breaking down big goals into smaller, more attainable targets with a timeline attached to them. This will make them much more realistic, and easier to achieve on a week to week basis.
#18: Work On Timelines – Similar to tracking goals, if you have a range of projects that have looming due dates, how are you tracking them? Start using project management software (hint, there’s plenty of options online) to track progress and clearly collaborate if required.
#19: Delegate – Being a perfectionist kills productivity. Stop pouring all of your time and energy into tasks that could easily be actioned by someone else on your team, and start working within areas of your brand or business that you truly shine in.
#20: Automate Where You Can – What noticeably chews up your time? Marketing? Accounting? Stock control? The good news is that in 2021, there’s software available for just about every task, so try automating wherever you can to free up your time.
#21: Stop Working So Hard – If you regularly work sixty hours a week but aren’t noticing a difference when compared to a forty hour week, stop – immediately. You’re working hard, but you aren’t working smart – so it’s time to make some changes.
As we dive into a new year, if you’re able to curate a mindset, environment and network that fosters true productivity – then it’s only a matter of time before you start kicking some serious goals.
Do your brand, your business and ultimately yourself a favour and start taking the power of productivity seriously. After all, time is indeed money – so can you really afford not to?