Tired of looking at the clock and realising half the day is gone but you’re not sure what you have done? Nothing has been ticked off the list and you haven’t stopped all day!
It’s so easy to get caught up with tasks that pop up throughout the day and, before you know it, it’s after 6pm.
It is always a juggling act when you are running your own business, but it’s so important to keep the business running and moving at a high level rather than getting bogged down in avoidable distractions.
After feeling unaccomplished and frustrated, I started to put strategies in place for my work day that allowed me to have freedom and productivity. Here are some helpful tips that can help you get through your list and feel accomplished at the end of the day.
Block out time for emails
It’s so tempting to hit that refresh button and check your emails throughout the day so they don’t pile up, but it’s also the number one distraction. You might be productively working on a task and an email pops up asking you for an answer on something. Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour getting information together to respond and you’ve lost momentum on your original task. If you block out time for emails mid-morning and mid-afternoon, you are able to attend to anything urgent whilst not having distractions to productivity.
Don’t answer calls
Much like emails, it’s natural instinct to pick up the phone when it rings. These unexpected calls can take up as much as an hour at a time and interrupt your tasks. There was a point last year where 90% of my day would be taken up by unexpected phone calls and I felt that I was unable to get through anything I needed to. I decided to call people back in blocks and if there were any urgent matters, people would text or email – cutting back the time spent on the phone.
Condense your daily task list
If you’re anything like me, you like to pile as much into your day as possible. But this isn’t always a good thing – it can lead to feeling unaccomplishment if the task amount is simply unachievable. It’s important to prioritise and focus on 3 main tasks per day (or even less if they are large tasks). This way, you won’t let yourself down by not getting through as much as you’d hoped, and tasks can be completed at a much higher level.
Begin the day with a big task
Ticking a big thing off first can provide momentum and motivation to be ultra-productive. Save tasks that require less brain-power for later in the day. It’s important to be intentional about focusing on big-picture projects as our mind will often want to work on the smaller and easier tasks.
Prep your to-do list the day before
Beginning the day with a clear view allows you to get straight into it and reduce the risk of procrastination. Structure is the key to productivity. I use Microsoft To-Do to structure my day the night before. I often write a large list of things on my radar – then prioritise and condense as suggested above. This is also a great way to see all the tasks that need to be done and when you need to delegate.
Bonus tip – take a break:
Being “unproductive” helps with productivity. Having a rest means your mind can recharge and get through projects much more efficiently. It can be difficult to perceive rest-time as helpful, but once you train yourself to adapt to it, you will see how much more energy you have to power through your work.