Tip 1 Work in sync with your ‘productivity clock’.
Growing up I remember that everyone was expected to be productive at the same times during the day. And we just aren’t. There are early birds and night owls, and every shade of grey in between. Everyone has a natural rhythm so you need to work out what yours is, if you don’t know already, because working against it will ruin your productivity and could lead to you burning out long-term.
Whether you’re a lark or a night owl, you’re more productive if you work to your body’s and brain’s natural rhythm. It’s one of the beauties of working from home if you work for yourself, and it’s great if you work for someone who just needs the job done and doesn’t care about your working hours.
It has to be within reason of course; you have to fit in around your customers or clients. But by and large you can work your day around the hours in which you’re most productive and effective, staying in sync with your productivity clock, as I like to call it.
I’m naturally an early bird and it’s taken practice and discipline to keep my levels up late afternoon or evening. It’s okay if I’m working directly with clients like those in different time zones in Australia and the US, because you benefit from that surge of adrenaline and focus that client work brings. But otherwise, whenever I can, I eat my frog for breakfast and do those tasks that need me on top form when I’m at my most productive.
This could be an interesting question for clients, and something to consider with your children too, if you’re home schooling – when are they at their best?
Tip 2 Focus on one thing at a time.
There’s been a lot said and written about multi-tasking, but for me, multi-tasking is a lie!
Yes, you can listen to music whilst ironing (is anyone still ironing in lockdown?) or watch football on your exercise bike. But when there’s something important to be done that needs concentration, then that concentration needs to be undivided – your focus fully on that one thing!
Focused effort gets way more done in way less time than switching between tasks, and a whole host of studies have been done which prove that point.
They put blinkers on a racehorse for a reason – so they can only see what’s in front of them and not be distracted by everything around them. Blinkers increase both their focus and their speed.
What does ‘putting on your blinkers’ mean for you? Maybe switching off your phone, turning off your notifications, putting a ‘do not disturb unless the building is burning’ sign on the door.
Distractions come in all shapes and sizes – have a think about what yours are, and then put a simple strategy in place to minimise them, if not eliminate them completely.
Tip 3 Batch your tasks
The third of my top tips for productivity was shared with me some years ago now, and that’s ‘batching for energy matching’. Batching your tasks – pulling similar tasks together, and doing them all in one chunk of time.
Rather than flitting from one task to another, having to re-focus every time you change task – from something creative, to something analytical, to something that needs you to be in a different headspace altogether, like making client calls -batching allows you to get in the right mindset for what you’ve set yourself to do, to get ‘into the groove’ as you’re doing it, and to increase both your productivity and the quality of your work, as a result.
And again with batching it’s about matching tasks to your productivity clock. So take your plan for next week, group your similar tasks and chunk your time for completing each group – then watch your productivity soar!
Do one thing: check if you’re maximising your time in sync with your productivity clock, apply your blinkers and give batching a go.
ps The last couple of weeks we’ve focused on getting past overwhelm – on getting that ridiculously long to do list reduced and prioritised. If you missed them, I recommend you check them out via the links below as useful precursors to this week’s top tips.
NB Your personal productivity is a key element of your Personal Management and Development System which is step 8 of a 9 step roadmap we lead our clients along. One clear path which builds 7 critical systems in your business and ensures that you, your team, and your operation have a complete workable blueprint for scale.
To learn more about the 9 steps that will move you from frustrated fire-fighter to freedom from the day to day of your business, visit: https://www.mariannepage.co.uk/chaos-to-consistency.html