How is it that you get to the end of the day and sigh, “I’ve got nothing done today”?
Of course you have worked hard, but maybe not on what you intended.
Most of us try to solve the lack of productivity by simply putting more hours in… and those hours tend to get soaked up in the same way.
Follow these simple principles to get back more time.
1. Decide your top 3
Before you go to bed, work out your top 3 priorities for the next day and put your energy into those in order of priority.
2. Do what’s important before what seems quick and easy
If you start the day with, “I’ll just do such and such; it’ll only take a few minutes,” and you keep devoting time to those inconsequential tasks, the day runs away with you, AND you are depleting your energy on things that won’t drive your business forward.
Instead, start with your top 3
The top 3 are commonly called “big rocks.” If you imagine trying to cram a selection of assorted rocks into a vase, you’d be better to get the big rocks in first because the tiniest pebbles will easily fit in afterwards.
3. Work in focused timeslots of 1.5 – 2 hours
Multi-tasking is the enemy! Instead, aim to focus exclusively on a task until it is complete. 1.5 – 2 hours is a sensible amount of time for focused activity, and you are way more likely to complete tasks this way. This will add to the overall sense of achievement which massively boosts productivity and job satisfaction, too.
4. Keep away from email!
The biggest factor in “unexpected time loss” is email. (Warning: unexpected time loss can also occur when drinking rum, but I can’t help you with that one.)
If you can, avoid opening your email until you have at least accomplished your first major task.
Only ever open your inbox when you are ready and able to act on what’s there. Otherwise, whatever turns up in your inbox will derail the plans you had or nag at you even if you’re not working on it. That’s exactly when you find yourself exclaiming, “Where did the day go?”
When dealing with email, the only actions are: file it, act on it, or delete it. Don’t look at it and say, “Erm, will have a think about that one.” Act on it now!
5. Don’t drain the well
Not very easy to do for you workaholics out there, but you need to take some time out of every day for yourself. That may sound unrealistic – I know, believe me; this has been tricky for me, too, but I invite you to try it because it pays dividends.
Even just 15 minutes a day will make you feel more energised – and it adds up to 60 hours of free time a year that you otherwise aren’t getting.
It’s even better if you can find an hour a day. If you’re not used to that free time, you may even wonder how to spend it, but find a way. Start a list of things you like to do – take a walk, have a massage, bake a cake.
I promise you, it will make a difference.