Productivity has recently been top of mind for me as I’ve been delivering my productivity training across Norfolk, and last night spoke at the new Beccles Business Babes networking group to share a couple of tips from my workshop.
With the never-ending demands of a small business, social media, family and life in general, staying productive can be a challenge, so I thought I’d share those two tips with you…
#1 PLAN AHEAD
Whether that be planning ahead for a holiday away, the school holidays, closure over Christmas etc you often know well in advance of the dates, so put them in your diary at the beginning of the year and start planning straight away! If you have ongoing client work let clients know when you’ll be away – and give them loads of notice. Plan bigger projects around those dates, don’t book in extra work in the week leading up to your time off, and automate things like social media and email using free tools such Buffer and Mailchimp
I also love something I call my Sunday Planning Session. On a Sunday evening I’ll sit down with pen & paper (‘cos despite all this digital marketing malarkey, I’m still a pen & paper type of girl!) and I spend anything from 20 minutes to an hour mapping out my week ahead. That way I’m clear on what appointments, meetings and 1-2-1 sessions I have booked in, I know where I need to be on what days, and the other times when I don’t have to be in a certain place I can prioritise what I want to do on what days. This means I don’t get up and sit there thinking “hmmm, what should I do today” then find half the day has passed before I’ve started anything, as I can look at my weekly plan and know exactly what I intended to get done that day!
#2 SCRAP YOUR TO-DO LIST
This is a game changer, honestly. Take your to-do list and cross off anything that doesn’t actually need doing (feel better now? heck you do!), then create a must-do list and a want-to-do list. You can even separate them out further into different categories, such as one for business and one for home, or if you have different projects or different clients then do one for each of those.
I create my must-do lists in Any.do which is a really nice app/Chrome extension/website, and of course it syncs together seamlessly across devices. Any.do is very plain and clutter free with a choice of colours for you to personalise it. Plus there’s no need to upgrade, the free version is great.
But don’t get bogged down on the how, use any list app, your Google calendar, pen & paper – whatever works for you. Digital often works better for this list as it moves quickly as you tick things off, and it saves you from a messy looking list, or time wasted re-writing it!
Separating out your must-do list(s) means you feel less overwhelmed, as each list isn’t anywhere near as big now as your original to-do list was, and it will help to minimise distractions as you’re only looking at your business list whilst working on your business, and only looking at your home one whilst back wearing your mum/wife/housekeeper hat! This will make such a difference if you put it into practice.Scrap your to-do list, then create a must-do list and a want-to-do list! This really works... Click To Tweet
For my want-to-do list I use a notebook which is jam-packed with ideas. These you can get to when you have some spare time – or if you never feel like you have spare time, then dedicate one day a month to looking through these new ideas on your want-to-do list. This allows you to clear your head by putting your idea straight down on paper so you don’t forget about it, but also gives you the chance to leave it for a while before coming back to it. Sometimes we have great ideas, spend a whole weekend trying to work on it, then realise it’s a bit of a crap idea! Coming back to it another day will help you see it more clearly and save wasted time, and on the flip-side, you might have a great idea but just not have the time or space for it right now. With your want-to-do list, you can leave things sitting there until the right time to take action.
We all have the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so if you’re feeling like you could do more with your time, then make a commitment to actually try one of these tips for a minimum of 2 weeks, ideally 2 months. Different things work for different people, but until you try them, you won’t know how they make a difference to you!
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