4 Tips To Improve Your Productivity

Paola

Do you have a long to-do list and you cannot keep up with it? Do you tend to spend too much time on a task and other important ones remain undone day after day? Do you find it difficult to prioritize your tasks or to work out a schedule that suits you?

You’re not alone! I have been there too, and so have most entrepreneurs.

What I have found with clients and social network contacts, certain tasks – especially, email and social media – tend to absorb most of their time. The need to stay connected all day long distracts us from what is really important – reach goals, complete projects, meet deadlines.

So what do you do to schedule your time in the best possible way? You don’t need any fancy tool or software to do that. The only thing you need is to develop better work habits.

 

(Image source: secretselling.org)

Here are a few tips, some of which I have learned from  Marketing Strategist and Business Advisor Andrew J. Cass.

Tip #1 Set time blocks

Let’s start our working day with income-generating activities. Assign time blocks to writing, contacting or speaking with clients/prospects, preparing presentations, etc. and don’t allow any distraction that might interrupt you during these time blocks. Emails, phone calls, text messages can all wait until you have completed these activities.

Set specific times during the day to actually “be” online to check out your email and your social media account.  I generally do that 3 times a day: morning (very quickly), lunch and evening.  Getting up 30 minutes earlier every morning to check your sites, make posts and talk to your associates and friends doesn’t distract you from your income generating activities.   Check your inbox and social media again at lunch and then before calling it a day. 

 

Tip #2 Environment

Find YOUR best environment for certain activities. Most people work on projects, make phone calls, talk on the phone, and read all emails in the same place. This is not good. I have learnt that working always in the same environment is a productivity killer. How can you possibly concentrate on your writing  if your phone is ringing to your left, your email is open, your cell phone is silent but keeps flashing, your kids want your attention (if you work from home, of course)?

So choose your best environment for different activities. For example, you may make phone calls and reply to and write emails in your office; you might write and work on marketing/presentations at a coffee shop, and you might read and study in your living room or garden. Get creative. Move around and find your best environments that boost your concentration and productivity. Moreover, changing environments kills boredom and frustration. I couldn’t imagine sitting in my office all day long!

Tip#3 Allow for breaks

Include breaks in your schedule. Time away from your computer screen is important to re-energize, breath and rest your brain. You can use this time to exercise – a 10-minute walk, dancing, some stretching – or get a healthy snack  (I recommend fruit, rich in vitamins and fructose that are very good for your brain and energy). I often use these breaks for my daily meditation whenever I am unable to meditate in the morning Moreover, I have discovered that is during these breaks that I get the most inspiring ideas for my projects!

 

Tip #4 Allow for some flexibility

This is very important. Always allow time for unforeseen circumstances – delays, emergencies, forgotten duties or appointments, etc. – so, when they occur, you don’t get frustrated!

 

Here’s an example of the schedule I have currently set up for me. It’s just an example. You should find a schedule that really suits you and your needs.

7:00 am – 8:00 am Wake up, shower, dress, take kids to school

8:00 am – 9:00 am  Meditation and breakfast

9:00 am – 11.00 am Work

11:00 am – 11:30 am Break

11:30 am – 01:30 pm Work

01:30 pm – 03:30 Lunch and shopping

03:30 pm – 04:30 pm Work

04:30 pm -05:30 pm Reply to emails, plan next day, close shop

 

Leave your comment below and let me know how you organize your working day and if you found this article valuable, please share it with your friends on Facebook and with your contacts on Twitter.

To a prosperous work schedule

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11 thoughts on “4 Tips To Improve Your Productivity”

  1. Loved the tip about environment. I’m a writer and I’ve found that a trip to the local library – no phones, no distractions, and NO taking out the blackberry (!) really helps me delve in and make headway on my writing projects.

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  2. Tip #1 is the most important one and I need to have some self-control to implement this tip. I find myself tempted to check Facebook updates too many times a day. Thank you for this post and the reminders.

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    • Email and Facebook checking is always a temptation to me too! I now switch off the Internet connection when I’m working and I don’t want any distruction, so there is no temptation ;-)! Thank you for your comment Suzanne!

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  3. I love your post Paola. This is exactly what we were talking about for Jean’s issue the other day. I find that it all makes perfect sense to fallow this kind of schedule. What we must realize is that even if we have written it down, we are only going to stick to our schedule if we have the right mindset and framework motivation for it. Thank you for sharing this with us! I will share! ~ Nathalie

    Reply
  4. Thank you for your comment Nathalie. I think it is so important to work out a schedule especially when you work from home, where thare are so many things that may interfere with your business. However, having the right mindset and the right motivation are the key ingredients for your schedule to really work, as you rightly said: without them, no schedule will do for you!

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  5. Time blocks are so helpful! I tend to like as loose a schedule as possible, but that doesn’t necessarily make me super productive. So, I compromise with time blocks–there are certain times set aside each day for certain activities. It helps me get things done, especially the things I’d procrastinate on otherwise. Thanks for sharing these great tips, Paola!

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    • I also tend to become unproductive if my schedule is too loose. Time blocks are really helpful: if, for any reason, I cannot complete a scheduled task, I simply rearrange my time blocks. This way I have my schedule and I allow a certain flexibility and freedom that I absolutely need. Thank you for your comment Jessica.

      Reply
  6. I’m thinking that setting time blocks would be the most useful advice for me. I tend to work on things until I’m done, sometimes adding little details that are not really necessary. Then I wonder where the day went. Dividing your schedule into time goals will avoid that.

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