Productivity: The effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.
You’re busy. You work hard. But are you productive? No, they’re not the same thing, and even if you are rocking your productivity game, there’s always room to improve! Let’s find out how:
Stop glamorizing multitasking. You may feel more productive when you’re juggling lots of tasks, but don’t let your brain fool you, it’s taking longer to get things done and studies have shown that focusing on more than one task at a time results in lower quality work. One thing at a time is the way to go if you’re looking to maximize your productivity.
Respect deadlines (even the ones you set for yourself). While it’s good to give yourself extensions when needed, if you do it too often it’s easy for deadlines to become arbitrary. And when deadlines become arbitrary, it’s time to admit it: you’ve become a certified procrastinator. Procrastination dressed up as multitasking is still procrastination, folks. RESPECT DEADLINES.
Set SMART goals. What are SMART goals you ask? Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-based. Specific: You must have clarity! Measurable: Your goal needs to be trackable so you can see your progress! Attainable: Don’t set impossible goals! Relevant: Does your goal align with your short- and long-term objectives? Time-based: Set a realistic, ambitious end date! Shooting for the stars is admirable, but when it comes to your productivity, think through each letter.
The biggest tasks come FIRST. It may seem more attainable to knock out the little things first, but is it more productive or are you just making excuses for procrastination? Tackle those big things when your brain hasn’t been overworked from a million little things yet!
Make meetings work for you. The first question you must ask yourself: is this meeting necessary? There are a lot of memes about whether a meeting could’ve been an email, and those memes exist for a reason. Once you decide a meeting is essential, begin each meeting by clarifying the purpose and intent of the meeting. Upon conclusion, review the actionable items each attendee will complete as a result of the meeting.
Check email twice a day. When you’re the boss, you shouldn’t let that email clog-up to the point where you don’t know where to begin, but you’re also too essential to your operation to be watchdogging emails all day! Pick two times each day to thoroughly check and respond to emails. No more, no less.
Say NO to notifications. If you want to stay on track with the smart goals you’ve set for yourself, turn off notifications. Social media, texts, even emails- TURN. THEM. OFF. If you try to keep up with every inquiry in real time, you will literally never accomplish anything outside of managing replies. Being responsive is important but set specific hours in the day dedicated to responding to client inquiries.
Fuel your body! It’s important for your mental and physical health to take breaks throughout the day. This means taking a breather, stretching your legs, and fueling your body. Having healthy snacks/drinks on hand for when you need to pump up the volume is a MUST. An eWN favorite is Verb bars. Only 90 calories and as much caffeine as a shot of espresso. Delicious.
Create a workspace you love. Not just because it’s fun to make a Pinterest board, but when you’re in the thick of your busiest time of year, it’s crucial to stay focused and on-task. That’s hard to do if you’re always looking for excuses to leave the office! Whether you work in your home office or an offsite workspace, make sure it’s somewhere you want to be.