Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Top tips for improving your productivity at work

Being organised is THE best thing you can do for your business. Being organised makes us more effective, makes us feel calmer and makes us think more clearly. 

And it is really simple to do if you know how!

Becoming organised ALWAYS comes down to your own efficiency. Essentially we want to know how we do things faster but still thoroughly? I've said it before and i'll say it again but it all comes down to managing your TIME.

Follow our 'top tips for improving your productivity!

1/ Understand your time V workload - So very important this one and absolutely tip number one.There's NO point taking on work that you do not have the time to complete within the time you have available. This is where we get ourselves into trouble and begin to add pressure which will make us LESS productive.

2/ Have a realistic 'To Do' List - At the start of each week take the time to list EVERY single job which needs doing that week. Put those jobs in order of priority. Ask yourself what HAS to be done today and what can wait till the end of the week. Everybody is guilty of procrastinating and 'cherry picking' the jobs you would prefer to do. Even if those jobs are of a lower priority. This is a MISTAKE. Put the jobs in order and then DELIVER them in order. That way you stick to deadline and keep stress levels down. This will really help your productivity.

3/ See it, do it. -Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends implementing the "two-minute rule" to make the most of small windows of time that you have when working. The idea is pretty simple. Essentially if you see a job that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. According to Olenski getting this task out of the way immediately takes LESS time than returning to it later. Perhaps you see something needing to be done whilst on route somewhere else in the office. Some filing perhaps. Or changing the ink in a printer.    You could do those quick jobs now, or leave them for later. If you do them now that is another job knocked off your to do list. If you do that several times a day it reduces everything you need to which frees up your time to get on with the bigger stuff. My productivity has gone up hugely since reading Steve's article.

4/ Quit your meetings! - Ask yourself if you REALLY need to have this meeting. So often we have meetings for meetings sake. There is a weekly meeting penned in the diary because, well there just is. Do you need it? Do you need to travel for it? Can it be done online? Could it be resolved with a quick phone call? Ask yourself how necessary it is. If you really don't need to why not make it a fortnightly meeting. or just a meeting when necessary. It can saves HOURS in your day. Just ask 'is it the best use of my time today'

5/ Map your hours - I've blogged about this before and it helped me to understand and breakdown how much work I have to do on a week by week basis. If, like me, you have multiple clients and multiple contracts it can be tough to try and juggle the work and ensure you are giving each contract the time and dedication it needs. Especially if you don't know exactly how long you're spending on each job. Make sure you map the hours you have available versus the hours you are committed to doing the work. You don't have to stick to it like a rigourous timetable as it is totally moveable but you need to ensure you have enough time available to deliver. It will help you understand your workload on a week by week basis and tackle it with a clear mind.

6/ Take a breakMake sure you take regular breaks throughout your workday. Just a trip to get a drink and taking a short lunch makes us more productive. Give yourself a breather and time away. Your brain needs a rest!

7/ There's always a chance to work - This comes back a little to the two minute 'see it, do it' rule. If you find yourself with downtime. Maybe you're on a train, sat in doctors waiting room, waiting for a meeting to start, waiting for your computer to re-boot. Even boiling the kettle. I always have a quick think if there is anything small I can knock off my list during that time. A quick email reply. A quick phone call. Quickly update your to do list. File your 'done' emails into a folder. Is there anything you can do to reduce the load?

8/ Minimise interuptionsThis is so simple. If you have allotted time to write a proposal or presentation that is what you do during that time. Don't answer a call from another client or colleague. Ignore the blinking email notification. Do the job you have sat down to do. Speaking to another person about something else will put you off the job in hand. That person/email/message will be there is an hour when you can deal with it and assign it the time it deserves. Just make sure you do get back to them!

9/ Track your time - You may think you know how long something takes but have you actually timed it? Are you giving a project or a client longer than you've actually planned for? Or even invoiced for? To ensure you are productive you need to understand how long your tasks are taking you. Only then can you ensure you have given yourself enough time to get a job done.

10/ Stop trying to be perfect! - Big one for me. I used to try almost too hard to get things perfect. Nothing is EVER perfect. Someone somewhere wont like it. Someone somewhere will have a note or an edit. Biggest thing is try not to overthink it. Just sit down and do it. Editing can be done at a later time if you aren't happy but getting something to your boss or your colleague or your client and moving on is really good for productivity. If they want changes they'll say and you can make them but getting it done and dusted and not over thinking and trying to be perfect is a great way to be productive. Nothing like a big penline through a task marked as 'done!'

So there you are. Simple really! If you are still struggling with your workload though we can help! Why not outsource some of it to us! Give us a call 07887552888 or email

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