Productivity: The REAL ways to boost your business
There is so much hype about working smart, productivity, gaining back hours – the list of buzz words, techniques and tips & hacks are endless, but, being totally honest, they are useless if they don’t work for you.
Productivity is personal…
What works for one person doesn’t work for the next person. It’s discovering some things about yourself and then looking for ways in order to make your day to day life easier.
For me, it took a long while to discover that I’m dyslexic, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I knew I had it. I’d struggled for years with various things like a short attention span, poor spelling, Dyscalculia and a mind that runs at a thousand paces amongst other things.
A tool that I use which is a MASSIVE help with my dyslexia is Grammarly – it helps you with spell checking and grammar, plus the paid version (which I use) helps with context, vocabulary, advanced grammar rules, corrects writing mistakes and helps with plagiarism through a checker. It is literally a life saver for me. It’s one less thing that I need to worry about and takes off the time and pressure in an already busy world. Check it out and see if it could help you.
What’s brilliant about being dyslexic is I have some fantastic skills as a result. I’m good at navigation, I can analyse quickly and I am able to problem solve like a ninja!
Did you know that some 20% of the UK’s top entrepreneurs are dyslexic? Famous icons like Lord Sugar, Richard Branson and the Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad have become amazing business legends.
So, if someone tells me to learn how to “speed read” it isn’t going to work. It doesn’t “fit” with my brain. What I have developed over the years is ways to be more productive by working WITH myself not against.
Turn off distractions…
It sounds simple, and it really is. Turn your phone to silent, ideally do not disturb – ignore the text messages, notifications, phone calls and have set times to check your phone. You can set it so that important numbers can get through (like family or childcare) on do not disturb so don’t worry about missing urgent calls.
You can sometimes actually offer a poor service by answering calls off the cuff or on the move. It’s better to speak to someone when you are ready to take their call and be able to speak properly.
If you don’t want to miss important sales calls, then think about investing in a call answering service if the volume warrants it. You can actually gain more customers by using a service like this.
The same goes for being available in person. Make yourself unavailable, close the door, batten down the hatches to get stuff done. And a big one, learn to say NO.
Close down unnecessary apps and websites…
Especially social media… it’s so easy to head down the Facebook rabbit hole looking at lost pets, “news” and the latest sponsored ad. If they’re not open, it is less distracting.
If you need something to “stop” you going onto these sites you can add an app (how ironic!) to help you stay away from the time killers for set periods of time.
For someone with a short attention span, I need to work in short sharp burst with quick gains. This technique by Francesco Cirillo is perfect for me. Here is a quick overview of how to do it but the official website explains it fully.
- Choose a task to get done
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Work solidly on the task for 25 minutes
- When the alarm sounds take a quick 5 minute break (make a cuppa, short walk outside, stretch – make sure you are refreshing yourself)
- Do 4 Pomodoro’s (4x25min blocks) then take a longer break (20/30 minutes)
I’d recommend one of the longer breaks for eating lunch, another for getting some fresh air and always ensure you are totally switching off from what you have been doing. For example, don’t spend your break at a screen or making a work call. You need to be refreshing your brain. Maybe call a friend or relative, put some washing out if you are working from home or do some meditation.
You can use this technique to set your task list for that day and a clear plan, you’ll soon figure out how long things take and you will probably find you get more things done.
It’s great for people who procrastinate, struggle with distractions and overwhelm of a big to do list. It’s really helped me.
This blog is not affiliated with, associated with, or endorsed by the Pomodoro Technique® or Francesco Cirillo. Check out the website for full details
”Work expands to fill the time available for its completion” – if you give yourself half an hour to clean the bathroom, it’ll take half an hour. If you set yourself 15 minutes, it’ll be as clean and has taken less time. Same with laborious tasks like emails – give your self a short amount of time to work faster through the task. Try setting yourself 15 minute burst 3 times a day. Read more about this topic here
Finding the right time
This is also a really important part to being productive.
When is your most productive time of the day?
Are you an early riser with a raring to go pace?
Are you a night owl and the creativity strikes whilst burning the midnight oil?
There are various ways to find your optimal times to work rather than guessing.
One of the ways is to complete the Automated Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (AutoMEQ) – it takes around 5-10 minutes to complete (19 questions) and gives you a tailored report of the findings including optimal times to head to bed and when to rise. It may tell you what you already know, but it’s really interesting to read the report as you may find some surprises in there.
Are you loosing 2 hours a day…
The average person procrastinates for over 2 hours a day and it can take up to 23 minutes to re-focus yourself fully on a task if you wander. If you use techniques to keep you focused you’ll reduce the amount of time wasted in a day.
I hope that this has helped you think about how you work and ways you might adapt your style. If you need any help with any of the sections mentioned in this blog please give me a call or send me an email:
07900 958459 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat.
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