2015 are you ready? title image

5 Tips that will Improve Your Daily Productivity!

Time stops for no man (or woman)!  2015 is here, whether you like it or not!  Did it hit with a bang, or just a gentle nudge into a brand spanking new year?  I’ve pulled together 5 tips that will improve your daily productivity.

Are you ready to hit the ground running?  Do you have the tools in place to help make life just that little bit easier by being more productive – for you, your family and/or your business?  Read on to learn more about these 5 tips that will improve your daily productivity.

Are you ready to start the new year with a fresh slate, invigorated after a break from the treadmill of 2014 ….. well organised, and plans in place so the cogs keep turning like a well oiled machine?  If not, read on to learn of these 5 tips that will improve your daily productivity; tips I’ve learnt along my journey of life that have helped me.

1.  The Perfect Week

This is something I learned from a couple of sessions with Andrew May (Life Coach and Sports Physiologist, amongst other things). You may have seen him on the TV series ‘Flip the Switch’, where he went into ordinary people’s homes and delved into their lives to help them find more time to enable them to do more of what is important to them.  Andrew advocates that planning is the only way to help you fit everything in, whether you’re a high flying executive, a SAHM, or a solo entrepreneur.  Part of the planning process is creating your perfect week.

Planning your perfect week means making note of absolutely everything you need to do – including exercising, taking the kids to school, travelling to work, time out for lunch or regular breaks.  All these things need to be accounted for and marked up in your calendar, with a commitment to stick to what you put in there.  You should then share and discuss this to ensure it works across your family or business partner/s.  Andrew and his staff share their perfect week; the time of the weekly management meeting was changed to ensure everyone got the best out of the meetings – a win-win situation for everyone!

Really think about when you’re at your peak work-wise.  If you’re a morning person, don’t spend the morning doing admin and routine work and then try to focus on a strategic planning session in the afternoon, when you’re ready to slump.  Use your time efficiently by doing the big hard stuff when you are most productive.

Another rule for your perfect week is to group similar tasks together to improve productivity and avoid distractions, one of which is emails!  Are you a serial email checker?  Does email take over and interrupt all your other tasks?  Limit your email time.  Do emails in the morning or afternoon, or both if you need to, and allocate time in your calendar to do this.  After checking emails in the morning and attending to tasks, turn off email notifications if you just can’t help yourself.  Set up an automatic ‘Out of Office’ message to advise you will respond later in the day, or whatever message is relevant to your situation or business.  Then you can concentrate on the job at hand.  They say it can take up to 20 minutes to refocus again once you break off from a task.

2.  The 2-minute rulesketch of stopwatch in hand_2 minute rule

This is something I try to do, but Johanna Jansen, another blogger at Time Mine, an advocate of the 2 minute rule, writes about it in more detail here.  Think about how much time it will take you to write that task on your To Do list.  If it’s a task that can be done quickly (within 2 minutes) then do it now!  It might be making an appointment, returning a call to a client (it’s better to quickly touch base and let them know you’ll call back later with more detailed info than wait till you’ve got the 30 minutes you know you need), paying a bill, or replying to a basic query on email.

Your To Do list won’t be so overwhelming if you practice this, and you can spend time concentrating on those bigger tasks without running out of time later in the day.  What about keeping a timesheet for a week to see where and how you spend your time?  Don’t laugh – it might take a few extra minutes each day, but it will really help you analyse if and where you could become more productive to save you some precious time each day.  It’s a bit like keeping a spreadsheet of your daily spend to work out why there is still so much month left at the end of the money! :-).  Then try out the 2 minute rule and see if it makes a difference for you.

3.  Digital or Paper?

Whether you’re an Android or Apple fan, the tools are available to enable you to have all your information in one place.  From your calendar, email, reminders, notes, documents – having everything stored in one place can increase productivity so you can access everything immediately when you need it.  Tools such as Evernote, Drop Box, MailChimp, Page Manager for Facebook; are all tools to keep you productive when you’re on the move.

If you prefer paper (or even if you don’t) a Sanity Folder is another useful ‘tool’!  Sonia of Life, Love and Hiccups writes an awesome blog and talks about how she keeps organised with her sanity folder here.  How much time do we spend waiting everyday?  Anything you need to read, complete, catch up on, can be kept in the sanity folder to be reviewed when you’re waiting.  At school pick up, the doctors or specialist, in between meetings, waiting for your bestie for a coffee catch up!  Use your waiting time productively instead of flicking through Facebook!

4.  Fluidity

Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim fame is another awesome blogger and one of her recent posts was about the ‘Fluidity‘, (which you can read in full here).  Rather than focussing on striving for perfection, her business coach suggested she needs to be more fluid, and accept that things will change, but adapt your expectations and get on with it.  At one time I was often (internally miffed) if my plans had to change.  Bust as most of my working life has been spent supporting other people (in a good way!) I wouldn’t have survived if I wasn’t able to adapt to the changing requirements and expectations of bosses, colleagues and clients.  How adaptable are you to change?

Live every day with intention billboard

5.  Live every day with intention

I recently saw an inspirational quote from Lorna Jane of the popular active wear brand, which I thought was pretty appropriate – live every day with intention!  This isn’t the quote, but you’ll get further inspiration here.  Set your plans and goals, with the aim of achieving something every day, no matter how small.  Remember it’s far easier to achieve those major goals by breaking them up into monthly, weekly and daily tasks.  Don’t set yourself up to fail before you’ve even started by not putting plans in place.  This can often be one of the hardest things to do.  We have good intentions, but without the plans those intentions go nowhere.  Just something to keep front of mind and think about.  How will you live every day with intention?

With the extra time you save, you’ll have plenty of time at the end of the day to flick through FaceBook!

So will you try any of these tips?

I’d love to know if and how they help you?

Maybe you have some others you’d like to share?