How often do you find yourself saying, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day!”? OK, but how many of those hours were spent scrolling through Instagram or spending too long on various time-wasters? We’re all guilty. But on the days you really need to hunker down and get things done, you have to put some real effort into being productive. After years of working in busy corporate offices, noisy coffee shops and at home in bed, our business manager, Samantha Welker, found a certain magical mixture of productivity hacks that work for her, and she’s sharing them here today.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of batching, it’s time to get in the know. Batching is simply a form of time management that allows a person to maximize concentration and decrease distraction. As a result, it increases your productivity, creativity and mental sharpness, while decreasing fatigue, procrastination and stress. Things we all need, right?
Batch processing is the grouping of similar tasks that require similar resources in order to streamline their completion. Most importantly, batching is setting aside an intentional amount of time for intentional tasks and making an intentional effort to not allow the distractions or interjections of others break that focus. After that block of time is up, take a planned break, then begin the next block of focused time. Each block of focused time is dedicated to one task or set of similar tasks.
*pro tip – Buy yourself a cute little hourglass or clock to help you set your blocks of time!
2. Stand Up.
I know that sounds crazy, but a standing desk really does increase productivity! You also enhance your sense of focus because when standing, you’re more alert and in tune to the task at hand. Bonus: You’ll burn more calories because a standing desk activates the major muscle groups in your legs. Standing actually allows you to experience decreased fatigue because you won’t slouch over at your desk.
* pro tip – start slowly. Instead of jumping into a 4-hour stretch of working while standing, start with 20-minute increments. Extra bonus points if you incorporate your batching technique during that time!
3. Implement a Project Management Tool.
Whether you’re managing a large team or a solopreneur, it helps to branch out beyond the standard “to-do” list. I know, list-makers everywhere are shaking their heads at me, but hear me out. Incorporating a tool like Asana or Podio can be a game-changer for your productivity. It allows you to:
- create your projects
- break down your tasks
- assign deliverables and due dates
- get a landscape view of your workload
- stay accountable for your work
It’s easy to write something on a list and forget about it as the day passes. Managing your workflow through a project management system is the best way to keep everything clear and organized.
4. Work with an “Important”/”Urgent” Mindset.
Before you begin each week, think through the specific things you want to accomplish. Group the items into an “important/urgent matrix.” An item can be important to get done but not very time-sensitive, so it’s not urgent. On the other hand, some items aren’t all that important but need to be done quickly and are therefore urgent. The items that are both important and urgent should be prioritized most highly, followed by not important but urgent items, then important but not urgent items, with the not important and not urgent items prioritized the lowest.
Productivity is trial and error for everyone, but these tips will definitely get you started!