Whether you work as a freelancer chasing down and prioritizing your own clients, run a small business, or are on the top floor of a Fortune 500 company, you need to make sure you are prioritizing your productivity.
You want to make sure that you are making the most of every day to maximize profits and take your business and career to the next level. But as you get caught up in day-to-day tasks, when is the last time you took a step back and assessed what you should actually be doing to take the next step toward success?
If you find yourself running a full marathon only to finish back at the beginning, it’s time to adjust your thinking in terms of quality work, not just work.
Optimize your work time so that you can research, read, and reflect on things that would move your business forward and make you a better employee, freelancer, or owner. By working all day on tasks that don’t move the needle toward your version of success, you waste valuable time.
Get out of the rat race and look at these 10 productivity hacks that will boost your business:
At the beginning of your day, write down the five most important tasks you need to accomplish during the day. Only five. Make them a combination of wellbeing items, work tasks, personal goals, or anything else you deem crucially important.
Those five tasks should be of the utmost importance for the success of your day and should move the needle toward your version of success.
If you don’t accomplish one of the tasks, move it to the following day. You should never have more than five tasks on your to-do list. This makes your vision hyperfocused, increasing your productivity. These tasks should be urgent and take precedence over everyday upkeep and maintenance.
Did you know that sitting in your super comfortable office chair all day long is ruining both your health and productivity? It’s true.
Sitting for extended periods over the course of years, or even decades, increases your chances of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other cardiovascular diseases and promotes stagnation, laziness, and an abundance of other fatigue-related issues.
Using an adjustable-height standing desk can make measurable improvements to your health in as little as two weeks.
Standing up promotes movement, heightened focus, and even the regeneration of brain cells. Do your mind and body a favor. Invest in a standing desk.
For those of you that have employees or assistants, it’s time to ease up some control of your obligations. Learn how to delegate tasks to others to give yourself time to focus on parts of the business only you can.
Find out which employees are the best for specific tasks and allow them to take control of a project. This doesn’t mean delegating the tasks you don’t like doing just because you don’t feel like doing them; it’s getting rid of specific mundane and time-consuming tasks to others so you can focus your attention elsewhere.
Imagine for a moment that you have the following tasks due by the end of the day:
- Finish sales report based on financial numbers
- Finish Slide Deck for presentation
- Clean out the break room
- Email Stu
- Write company-wide email
For the sake of this example, let’s imagine your Slide Deck is for a multi-billion dollar merger that could win the company’s future for years to come.
Likely, that would be priority No. 1 and should take all your attention. If you refuse to delegate the cleaning of the break room, the completion of the quarterly financial report, or emailing Stu from accounting, you would be wasting valuable time on things that, in the long run, matter relatively little in comparison.
Have your assistant or a department head take on these tasks so you can focus on the merger.
Check Your Emails Twice Per Day
Imagine if you recently were gifted another month.
At the end of December, you just got all of December back. What would you do with the extra time? How could your business benefit from the extra time?
That’s what you would get if you stopped checking your email altogether. Sure, email is an essential tool for communicating with colleagues, bosses, clients, or customers, especially during COVID-19.
But according to a recent study, workers spend an average of 30 days on email. To improve productivity and limit time-wasting, check your email just twice a day. Once, at the beginning of the day to catch up on overnight communication and set the stage for the day, and again at the end, to catch up on the day’s updates and look forward to tomorrow.
Turn Off Your Notifications
You’re probably aware of the amount of time you waste checking your phone every time it sings out a notification song to you or jolts you out of your focused workstream with a piercing ding to alert you that aunt Martha just put up the Christmas tree.
If you’re like a typical adult, you get anywhere from 46-90 push notifications per day. Even if you spend two minutes on average per notification, you’re losing anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours lost scrolling on Instagram or reading magazine emails.
Turn off your notifications. Do it now.
Some meetings are a sensible way to spend an hour. These meetings include a dedicated team talking about specific objectives and can often be thought-provoking, engaging, and worthwhile. However, meetings that include the whole organization for a conversation that could be limited to an email or a specific team are gigantic wastes of time for everyone.
Only call or take meetings discussing initiatives, tasks, or ideas directly related to your current work scope. Anything else is pointless and a waste of your time.
Many people brag that they can multitask efficiently and effectively. Those people are bragging that they are poor at productivity. According to a recent study, research has demonstrated that switching tasks is terrible for productivity.
Multitaskers have a more challenging time tuning out distractions when they arise because distractions are part of their work lifestyle. Additionally, doing many things at once can hinder cognitive brainpower and problem-solving skills.
Work on one thing at a time. Focus on the task, complete it, and move onto the next. It’s not complicated. If you see single-tasking through, you’ll see your output increase.
Send It To The Machine
In addition to your phone giving you multiple distracting notifications per hour, your phone may also ring off the hook now and then.
Let it go to voicemail.
Voicemail was created for a reason. If you are entirely focused on one task and dear Mum calls about the cat, your colleague calls for clarification on a task, or your bank calls about a new promotion, just let the machine get it. That’s what it’s there for.
Unless you are in the business of human life or death, anything can wait 24 hours. Continue with your train of thought, task, or project. Limit your distractions, and your productivity will rise.
Are you still faxing things?
Sticky notes, paper clips, vast piles of paper, fax machines, and filing cabinets all share one thing: uselessness.
It’s not 1979. With various papers come distractions and messiness. Software systems allow companies to take everything online, using cloud-based systems to organize better than ever before, and without a single piece of paper.
Google Workspace has documents for every type of business, including mail, documents, sheets, calendar, drive, hangouts to allow you and your business to share documents, schedule meetings, collect and organize data, and make video calls.
It’s time to switch to digital invoices, notices, statements, and forms. Nearly every task necessary for conducting business has a program available online to aid you.
Imagine if you never had to search for another piece of paper on your desk or in your filing cabinet ever again.
Minimalism isn’t just throwing all unnecessary things out into the trash. As a lifestyle choice, minimalism can be seen as ridding yourself of physical baggage, therefore opening up your life to things you deem necessary and worthy.
The same can be said for the workspace. When you get rid of things that cause distractions, you open up more time. Your time can better be used for the task at hand, being creative, reading, or doing other things you have wanted to for years.
Without physical distractions or keeping up your appearance for appearance’s sake, you’re given more time.
With more time comes more production, and often, with more production comes more business.
Do more by having less. Go minimalistic.