I’m a fan of getting stuff done. The only way I know to get meaningful stuff done is to get serious, even aggressive about my time. My productivity techniques seem to get reviewed, refined, and tuned on a regular basis. Never are the embraced time and productivity management tactics I use, followed to a tee. This is where the “constant improvement” mentality kicks in.
It’s not about getting it perfect, but getting it going. It’s not about checking everything off, but keeping it flowing. [Tweet Me]
I encourage you to consider the same mindset, and dial in your own productivity techniques. In this post I’ll share the challenges of being productive as I see them, 5 tips, and some other ways to improve productivity.
The Challenge of Maintaining a Productive Lifestyle
- Many distractions in the online world- Whether spending time on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, or trying to keep up with the latest tech news or the latest online marketing techniques. Distractions about, seeking to chew up our greatest asset. Time.
- For many, it’s global competition- Unless you have a local focus, competition abounds in most markets. Awareness of your competitors, while appropriate, can also distract you from, well remaining competitive.
- Discipline now so you can have fun later- Many of the distractions available, are fun and entertaining. The challenge for many is being disciplined to resist and reward yourself when the job is done (with some fun).
The tips below were developed over an extended period of time, and I believe, if you apply them, the challenges above will swiftly be put in check!
Tip 1: Blocking Out Strategy Time
- Time to think about where you should be working- The only way to be strategic with your time, is to sit down and dedicate time to looking at how you are working, and prioritize what needs to get done.
- Identifying the low-hanging fruit- One of the first things I like to do, is see the low hanging fruit. What can be done, that requires the least amount of effort but has the greatest return potential? Use that as a starting point and build from there.
- Maximizing what is working- Consider your productivity patterns. Is there a time of day, day of week, place you work where you are exceptionally productive? Go with the flow. Find ways to leverage that strength to your advantage.
Tip 2: Clarify Priorities and Objectives
- From Strategy Time priorities come to the surface- Interesting dynamic that I’ve experienced here. Simply spending time thinking about how you are spending time gives clarity to what priorities should be.
- Know what you must do to be successful- Strategy time also serves as an opportunity to understand what is required for you will achieve your goals
Tip 3: Mapping Out Your Week
I like to sit down Sunday and map out what my intentions are for the week. Writing them down helps clarify my priorities, and somehow sleeping on it helps my mind ‘gear up’ for what I intend to do. Some additional thoughts on this:
- Don’t Cram- I aim to get just 5 things done a day. What I don’t accomplish get’s moved to the next day (or week, depending on the item). I’ve learned this one the hard way. Daily schedule gives me 3 productivity time blocks which get’s filled with one or two key tasks for the day.
- Helps you be realistic- Once I’ve mapped out the week I have a better handle on how realistic and achievable the goals are. Here is a point where adjustments can be made.
- Identify the one thing that must get done if nothing else does for this week- This is big. Don’t let the week go by without doing “that” thing. Have that in front of you until it is completed. Once done, I find I get even more done, and the week is a success.
Tip 4: Using a Timer
This is a must. There are easy ways to do this. Here are some benefits.
- Challenges you- See task. Estimate time required to finish. Set timer. Go.
- Reminds you- The timer I use has a ‘tick-tock’ noise, this is great to keep me focused and on my task.
Tip 5: Evaluating Your Progress and Barriers
- At the end of the day- Take 5 minutes to check how you did.
- Consider- What were the barriers from achieving objectives?
- Ask yourself- How could you have planned better? What could you have done differently? Focus on things that are in your control, not all things are.
- Move Forward- How can you plan better tomorrow? Is there more involved in your task than you realized? Has it become less of a priority due to new time requirements? Make changes, move on.
Other Ways to Improve Productivity
- Outsource talent for things that must get done which you hate- Make the agreement that your time will be used on profitable things in exchange for outsourcing other tasks.
- Map out your ideas. You might consider mindmapping.
- Have Annual, Quarterly, and Monthly Objectives, that your daily/weekly tasks funnel up to.
- Ask for Help- Sometimes it’s good to get some outside help. Can be a friend or family member, but sometimes it’s worth paying for. I’m currently recommending Blog Wise: How to Do More with Less. It’s got solid info like all Problogger stuff, and at the moment, it’s only $14.99.
Is this useful? What productivity tips do you have? Chime in below.
Image credit: mkorchia [Flickr CC]