IN THESE VIDEOS:
1.32 Goal Setting
3.32 Switching off
0.10 Social Media
2.17 Surround yourself with productive people
3.37 Maximise your most creative time
5.21 Stand while you work
Hey, guys. Malisa here from Small Business Performance Coaching.
Today, I wanted to share with you my top three tips for being more productive in the first three months of 2016 than you were in the whole of 2015.
Let’s have a look at e-mails first. Now I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of e-mails, like a ridiculous amount of e-mails, so much so that I’ve often thought of considering my job title a professional e-mailer. Haha. In all seriousness, though, e-mails are a huge time sucker.
You know what it’s like. You go to check your inbox for something, see a few quick things that can be actioned, and you start firing off responses. Before you know it, you’ve engaged in several back-and-forth e-mail conversations and you’ve completely lost your train of thought on the task that you’re actually completing. Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?
To ensure maximum productivity, here’s my tip. Set aside a block of time in the afternoon when you can check your e-mails. It’s really important that you do this in the afternoon and not in the morning. This way, you’ll protect your peak energy hours in the morning and you’ll actually be able to smash out what needs to be done on your genius task list.
Then when it does come time to do your e-mails, focus on that and only that, so focus only on your inbox. I find setting aside about an hour each day to do this is great for productivity. You might also want to set up an e-mail autoresponder that lets people know that you only check your e-mails once a day, and this will help you set expectations for when they will receive a reply, and it will negate any e-mail overwhelm for you.
My second tip is around goal setting, and setting real goals. You’re not actually going to get anything done if you’re just floating around from task to task, achieving bits and pieces. But by setting goals and breaking them down into daily, weekly, monthly, and more long-term periods, you’ll not only have direction but you’ll be able to track your process, you’ll feel more motivated, and you’ll have more focus.
Now when I set goals, I like to do a bit of the following. I like to define my goal. There are two important parts to defining a goal. You need to make sure that your goal is specific, it should be measurable, and it should have an endpoint, and you should also make sure that your goal is realistic. Taking on challenges can be really motivating, but you don’t want to set yourself up to fail. If you’re not sure if your goal is realistic, maybe run it past someone, throw it out there, and see what a few others say.
I really recommend setting sub-goals, so breaking up your goals into smaller, more manageable things. It’s really important for you to stay motivated, particularly for large projects and large goals that take a long time to achieve. Having those little sub-goals is going to help you recognize and, obviously, you’re able to then celebrate when you’ve made some progress.
Then, of course, working through a plan of action. Having a tangible plan of action helps you stay focused. Write down your goals, write down your sub-goals, and once you’ve worked out what they all are, make sure you keep them in a place where you can see them. We like to set our things all out on a big whiteboard, so that way, there’s complete transparency and you can see exactly what’s going on.
I might also mention here that it’s really important to include a timeframe on your goals. Deadlines are going to help you stay motivated and keep you focused on what needs to be done and when. Make sure you’re including a deadline to prevent yourself from putting things off and forgetting about your goals.
Lastly, with goal setting, don’t forget to reward yourself after you achieve your goals within that deadline. All work and no play can get pretty boring, which leads me to my last tip.
Switching off: this is one that I really struggled with for a very long time. I ended up burnt out, unmotivated, and unable to even concentrate on the simplest tasks for so long. Setting yourself boundaries where there is a clear division between work time and non-work time is so important.
It’s so easy when you work from your laptop to allow your work to spill into pretty much all the time, especially when you really enjoy what you do. But trust me on this one, the to-do list will still be there when you come back to it. Ha. Now take some time out each week laptop-free and your mind will thank you for it, and you’ll be far more productive when you do return to the hustle.
Something that I found really, really useful for switching off at night is a program called f.lux. You can get it or you can find it on the Web at justgetflux.com. Basically, it’s a browser add-on that will slowly start dimming your computer screen over the course of evening. Over the period, the screen slowly gets darker and darker and darker.
Basically, it helps you sleep better at night. It helps you switch off and sleep better at night, which means then you get a better rest, and so the next day, you’re ready to smash your tasks and be more productive in those awesome hours in the morning.
That’s it, guys. They’re my three tips to being more productive in the first three months of 2016.
Hey, guys. It’s Hayley from Small Business Performance Coaching
I’m going to go through my three productivity tips for 2016.
The first one that for me is about how and when to use social media. At some point over the last few years, I’ve picked up a pretty bad habit of checking social media all the time. I’ll do half an hour of work and then look at Facebook, just to be like, “Oh, yes. I just need to look at something right now.” But then I actually realize that it’s way more distracting than helpful.
It’s gotten pretty bad. Sometimes, I’ll open Instagram to check that one of the guys from the gym has posted what they needed to do, and then before I know, I’m in some other completely unrelated page.
Again, it’s having those set times to actually check my social media and have a reason as to why I’m going in there and to not detour and start looking at other stuff. It definitely slows me down, it would definitely slow you down, and it probably doesn’t help whatever you’re working on in terms of accuracy and creativity or any other performance metric.
One of my big focuses and I think what everybody’s focus should be in 2016 is if you need a break or something from your work, which is completely fine, maybe don’t just jump on Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram for that break time. Instead, stare out the window for a few minutes, I don’t know, or better yet, take a quick walk around the office or around the block, go outside.
I really think that this will help me be a lot more productive in 2016 and help when I do have those breaks to actually let my brain have that time off. Because when you are browsing social media and everything, you’re still using your brain; you’re not actually relaxing, although you think you are. That is one of my main focuses of 2016 and I hope that you guys can also look at doing something like that, and it might even make me a little bit quieter on social media.
Surround yourself with productive people
Surround yourself with productive people. For me, I actually work very well alone but I also find that my productivity is maximized when I surround myself with productive people who I don’t always spend time with. In saying that, I get to work with some awesome people every day, but sometimes I actually work a lot better if I surround myself with productive strangers.
If I’m going to a cafe and work there, or I volunteer with a charity and sometimes I go and work in their office, because I’m around different people and it keeps me a bit more accountable for staying on task because, again, I’m not browsing social media without a purpose. I’m around people who are smashing goals, they’re eating healthy, they’re very focused. It’s almost like you’re competing with them, so if they’re coming out with great ideas, I’m like, “I want to come up with great ideas,” and it just pushes me to push myself.
Being around productive people and just mixing up your environment every now and then just to get your brain thinking, and just giving yourself a different environment, I think, is really important.
Maximize your most creative time
Then that touches on maximize your most creative time. A lot of people work best in the mornings because they’re like, “Oh, I have fewer interruptions, and I’m best at brainstorming at that time with my writing, and I like meeting others who inspire and challenge me, blah, blah, blah.” But for me personally, I don’t work well in the morning, so I get up and my brain does not switch on for a couple of hours. I don’t drink coffee, so I have to go work out, go for a run, or do something, eat some food, and gather my thoughts.
I don’t work well in the morning. If I have to get up and do something at 8:00 or 9:00, I know that it’s actually going to be better for me to do that around 11:00 or 11:30. Then, also, at nighttime I know is when my brain is the most creative, so I can write some really cool stuff at nighttime.
Obviously, that’s not going to work for everybody, but I guess it’s really understanding when you work the best and actually sticking to those times. Because you can also go, “Oh, yeah. I’m going to do this, this, and that tonight because I know that I work better at 11:00 at night.” But realistically, how much have you actually done in that day already? Is that achievable? It is finding that balance of knowing what is achievable in your day and when you can best deliver it.
I guess it’s really a balancing act, which again, comes down to being organized and knowing when you’re the most creative. As some of the other guys have touched on, it is setting goals and outcomes to your day. It all comes back to this.
Then I guess this is outside of the scope of the three, but this is one of my own personal goals of 2016. I actually had this conversation with TJ a couple of weeks ago, and it’s literally standing up more when I work. I’m always sitting at a desk on my laptop. It’s actually getting up, getting when I’m on call, standing up, or when I’m doing work standing up.
Probably a year ago, this has become all the rage. Even if you don’t have a standing desk, even set something up on a box or, like I said, take your phone calls standing up. My personal aim is to alternate it. I’m starting off with doing at least two hours a day, but then I ultimately want to do half a day standing, half a day sitting, and alternating it, and just seeing how my productivity improves and if I feel better for it, as well. So I’ll keep you posted.
Anyway, guys. I will leave you to the rest of the guys to give you their three productivity tips.