Virtually Untangled’s List of Productivity #Hacks
As you all know, my team and I are HUGE keeners when it comes to organization and productivity (putting our “secret sauce” of creativity on the sidelines for a moment). Especially with all the distractions in our busy lives, it can be nearly impossible some days to truly focus on what is most important in our business. But trust me, you can do it if you get your priorities straight.
This is something we see frequently in our line of business. People do not finish the day feeling accomplished then they end up judging themselves for all the things they did not get done that they wanted (or needed) to do. The pressure is on to be as productive as possible to get where we want to go. And more often than not, we are our own worst critic and think that calling out our “laziness” or “inefficiencies” can lead to some sort of mindset-adjustment to get around the roadblocks to our success.
First off … just give yourself a break already! Yah, you heard me … Cut yourself some slack!
If you genuinely want to increase your productivity, you must make the decision to do so, stop being harsh to yourself, and start implementing new ways — and tools — to improve your productivity. This will not only reduce your time clutter, but you won’t believe how much you will be able to accomplish.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
~ Paul Meyer, Author
To get you started and on the right track (away from those roadblocks), last year we shared with you a handful of steps on how to become productive in 15 days or less. But it’s not only those steps that are going to help you get to the next level of living that life of productivity you’ve always dreamed of. And we would hate to admit this out loud à but there are a lot of “time wasters” in our daily lives which can sometimes have a negative impact on what we are trying to accomplish. That’s why it’s so important to understand the low-down on time management as well – which in reality can also be viewed in partnership with project management, therefore making productivity well rounded on all sides.
Remember, if you work “too hard” you tend to lose sight of your bigger picture. And we most certainly don’t want that as that’s what we’ve been working so hard to build up to and work towards in order to gain more lifestyle freedom. Research actually suggests that as we burn out, we have a greater tendency to get “lost in the weeds” — since that’s the last thing you want.
- You want to work more efficiently, not work more.
- You want that life of freedom (whether it be with time or money).
- You want your big dreams to become reality.
So, for that to all happen – and become a long-term plan – we have compiled a list of our favourite productivity hacks. Everything from routines, communication, the safety of your mentality, and how you work with your team (or on others). Which brings me back to the bones of this post; HOW TO LIVE A LIFE OF PRODUCTIVITY with our #HackList …
- Learn to say “No”.
The more often you say yes, the more indispensable you will feel and your to do list will grow. Learn to feel confident in saying no once n’ awhile. It won’t kill your reputation. Promise.
- Take more breaks.
I get it, you’re “too busy”, but in reality, breaks are good for your brain and will improve your focus while boosting your mood. Trust me, you will actually get more done.
- Set your schedule the day before.
Every morning is a busy one and by the time noon rolls around, you’re in the thick of it all. So, take 10 minutes to set a loose to do list the night before to keep you on track.
- Establish a priority hierarchy.
And hold yourself to it. And place your focus only on the task at hand because if you’re working on “A” but too busy worrying about C, D, J and Z, you won’t do a good job on A.
- Dedicate some “focus time”.
Communication is one of the hugest distractions in the business world. So, when you really need to deep dive into a task, turn off all communications and keep your time dedicated to what you need to accomplish.
- Keep note-taking tools at your fingertips.
You never know when inspiration is going to strike. Fortunately for us, Asana is our virtual – and organizational – savior.
- Publicly disclose your goals.
Whether on social for a bigger picture goal, or to a buddy just getting you through Monday’s morning’s panic attack. This will keep you accountable on all levels and help you accomplish your dreams – no matter the size.
- Stop with all the multi-taking.
Yes, it may “feel” like you’re getting more done in the same amount of time, but it’s actually hurting your ability to complete things efficiently. On average, a productivity loss of 40%.
- Do short batch tasks as a bundle.
You know things like billing, signing off on paperwork or contracts, updating your to do list or financials … And no, this is not considered multi-tasking, but batch bundling!
- Use automation software as often as humanly possible.
Pre-schedule those social media posts or marketing emails in batches, update your calendar automatically, use a calendar booking tool, use online forms, set recurring invoices to be automatic, etc.
- Bigger isn’t always better.
Break down your bigger to do list tasks into smaller ones when working on a time-consuming project. It can be intimidating to start when you look at one task with all its glory. But looking at the puzzle pieces individually with only help you gain more time and accomplish more in the long run.
- Implement the two-minute rule.
It’s called that for a reason! If it is only going to take two minutes or less to complete, just do it. Otherwise it’s going to take you longer to write it down and find it later to do it.
- Step away from digital once n’ awhile.
Get that pen to paper method back in your life. It may seem obsolete but it’s not a forgotten era. It will help you concentrate, improve your memory and best of all, there are no distractions on a blank piece of paper.
- Get yourself virtually organized.
Clean your desktop and organize your file folders. Make it a habit to establish a clear hierarchy and adhere to a standard naming convention to reduce confusion for yourself, your team members, and your clients.
Technology not only allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world, from almost any device. This has dramatically changed the way people work, facilitating 24/7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries and continents. ~ Michael Dell, CEO and Chairman of Dell.
- Slow down and clear your head by making your bed.
This obviously won’t give you any new ideas on how to work more efficiently, but it will give you a chance to slow down, clear your head, wake up and ponder on your plan for the day/week or future bigger picture goals.
- Organize your thoughts.
Whether it be keeping a private journal or an online blog, this will help keep you organized with your thoughts for the day while giving your room to breathe and reflect on what you did well, where there is room for improvement as well as your feelings.
- Keep a secret snack stash.
At some point in your day, you are going to need an energy boost so keeping a stash of healthy snacks — and maybe a few sweet or salty treats – will keep you going, feeling energized and stop you from getting hangry.
- Declutter the space around you.
It’s often said that geniuses have messier spaces but dealing with a cluttered space is the last thing you need on an overly busy day. Take a few and get yourself organized.
- Build yourself a runway.
By taking a small amount of time every Sunday, you will get yourself ahead of the game for the upcoming week. Think about it … no distractions, no emails, no tasks … Just you and your thoughts.
- Live in a world filled with colour.
By working in a monotone space, you may feel trapped or bored. Try adding some artwork into your space. Or even some coloured journals, sticky notes, and pens to start. The colours will keep you stimulated and make the stresses of the day just roll right off your shoulders.
- Sticky notes are your friend.
- They will keep your mind clear and focused while leaving room for the real tasks at hand so you don’t have to try to remember (or worry about forgetting) anything else besides the important items you’re currently taking care of.
- Mind your meetings.
It’s all about preparation, purpose and presence.
- Bullet points are also your friend.
They are truly the easiest way to make your communications or content more readable and “skimmable” for the busiest of the busy. Do your best to include them as much as possible to help improve the comprehension of your messages or messaging.
- Hack everything.
This is all about mindset and those glorious steps to growth. So, hack people, hack time, hack your calendar and your project management tools, hack your thoughts, hack predictability. And most of all, hack productivity. Be a painkiller in a world of vitamins.
- Unroll your inbox.
Remove all those time and attention wasters from your inbox. You know, the dozens of emails you get every day that you never pay one second of attention to. And we can do you one better, so you don’t have to manually wipe your inbox clean. Drop us a line if you want a more personalized clean-up.
- Feedback is a personal growth tool.
So, use it and give it! The more you learn the more you grow. And the more you give, the more of an encouraging atmosphere you will create.
- Ask and though shall receive.
You can’t be a superhero 100% of the time. Even if you feel like one. So, swallow your pride, put away your cape and ask for help BEFORE you need it. You can’t #BeAll and #DoAll all of the time. Even if you want to.
- Don’t be afraid to build a virtual team.
Delegation is key to keeping your plate clear and helping you operate smoothly. It’s all about knowing WHEN to delegate and making sure you do so to the right people all the while keeping your communications as clear as possible.
We truly hope today’s list of productivity hacks serves as a springboard for you to take the plunge – or outsource the help you need – to get yourself more organized, less stressed and on track to life a life of true productivity (which in the end equals a heck of a lot more freedom!).
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