On some days we’re super productive getting everything and a bit more done while on the others we do… well, not that much.
But don’t we all wish we were productive 100 per cent of the time? While that might not be possible, realising what the biggest time wasters are and learning some time management tips can help you improve your productivity. So have a read through!
That’s not a secret that we all have those days when we procrastinate and avoid doing something important. However, when we procrastinate, we usually end up doing things that are a complete waste of time, such as watching TV, scrolling social media, or simply sitting doing nothing and only thinking about that important task we need to do.
Even though multitasking is usually considered a great skill to have, it’s not always like that. While you might think that you save time when multitasking, in the end, it’s the other way round.
When you spend time doing five different things all at once, you can’t concentrate on any of them properly. This means that after you ‘finish’ all those tasks, you notice how many mistakes you’ve made or how much more detail you need to add. This leads to you having to spend more time working on every single thing separately.
Doing everything yourself
We get it, as a business owner, you like being in control, so it can be hard for you to delegate tasks to other people. But have you ever thought that someone else might be more experienced and be able to complete those tasks in a few minutes while the same task takes you hours? You need to learn to focus on things you do best and leave the rest to those who do it better!
You can’t be productive if you’re overthinking
Overthinking and worrying stop you from doing many things. Whether it’s thinking what others will think of you, you doubting yourself or comparing yourself to others, all these things really affect your confidence and well as productivity. Whenever you have those thoughts, you need to remind yourself that not everything you worry about will happen. To be more precise, this study has found that 91% of worries don’t come true! And if you feel like comparing yourself to someone, compare it to your past self! This way you’ll see how much you’ve actually achieved.
Saying yes to everything
What do you do if someone invites you to a party you don’t really want to go to? To a meeting that could be a quick phone call? If someone asks for help with their new business because you’re more experienced? Do you say yes? If so, you’re wasting a lot of your precious time you could be spending on your own business growth or even resting. There’s nothing wrong with caring about other peoples’ feelings. But remember, you need to put yourself first to be more productive!
Time management tips to be more productive
Many people say that they don’t have enough time to do things. But the truth is that they just don’t know how to manage their time! Once you learn how to manage your time effectively, you’ll notice how much less time you waste and how much more productive you can be!
Plan, plan, plan
When it comes to managing your time, the most important thing is planning. You need to make sure you know every single thing that is happening during your day, whether it’s business stuff or personal things. You also need to think about details including preparation before your appointments with clients, travelling time and even the time you spend checking and replying to emails and answering phone calls.
Things like picking up your phone can distract you and it can take a long time to focus again on the thing you were doing before answering that call. Planning some time for phone calls or emails can save you time in the long run as you can concentrate on other tasks without any distractions.
Once you have a diary that is filled with all your plans, you will see the gaps you can add things to. This means that you can add things from your to-do list or even if something unexpected happens, you’ll still have some time to deal with it without giving up any other tasks.
Become more productive by creating an achievable to-do list
Do you have a to-do list? If so, how does it look? Do you have pages and pages filled with all the tasks you need to complete? While it might be a great way to start planning as you know what things need to be done, it’s not the most effective one though. Your to-do list has to be achievable and let’s face it, you can’t complete pages of tasks all at once.
A great way to create a to-do list is by organising tasks by their importance. Top ones – priority, lower – important, but when you have time and then everything else on the bottom. Get rid of the bottom ones! As they aren’t a priority, you are unlikely to get them done and if they become a priority, you’ll just stick them to the top of your list at the right time! Also, it’s a good idea to include time next to each task. This way you know how long it will take and if you don’t have enough time to do it all at once, you can split it into smaller tasks you can complete throughout the day or the week.
Take time to prepare
Before any meeting, client appointment or even phone call, take five minutes to think about what you want to achieve from it. If you take that time to prepare, you come across more professionally as you know what you’re talking about and you’re way more likely to achieve what you want in that time or even quicker.
Another tip – at the end of the day, take 30 minutes to prepare for the next day. While you already have a diary filled with all the tasks you need to complete, there always are some things you need to prepare. It can be as simple as bringing some paperwork you have at home to the office or picking something up from the shop on the way to work.
Although you might think you’ll remember it without writing it down, little things can be easily forgotten or keep you up at night. So why don’t you take some time to prepare for the next day and rest well after!
Give yourself a start and end time
As a business owner, you don’t have anyone telling you your working hours. This means it can be difficult for you to switch off or start working in the morning if you don’t have an important appointment before the afternoon. To avoid that, it’s important you set a start and end time.
The usual 9-5 might not work for your industry, so you need to set your working hours accordingly. If you give yourself an end time, you know when you need to stop to avoid overworking. And if you feel like you still have a lot of energy and want to do an extra hour or so, you can do so and give yourself a pat on the back for achieving more than you planned to!
Learn to say no
We have already explained how saying yes to everything wastes your time. So how do you learn to say the opposite? Saying the word ‘no’ can be difficult and you might think that it makes you sound rude. However, there are other ways to say the same thing!
For example, if someone asks you to do something, you can say that you’re really busy, look at it when you have some free time or ask them to come back to you tomorrow as you might be available then. Chances are they’ll do it themselves or ask someone else for help.
You don’t have to do everything yourself. If you have a team – delegate tasks. Don’t assume that other team members don’t have the right skills or enough experience because it could be the other way round. They might be able to do it better than you and you can focus on things you do best.
When it comes to your personal life, you can also delegate tasks. As a business owner, it must be difficult coming back home and having to take care of your family. While other members of the family might be used to you doing all the work around the house, you need to explain to them that you simply can’t keep up with everything. Ask everyone to pick up some tasks they can do to help you out. It could be something as simple as your little one tidying up their own room. Let them have ownership and responsibility.
Focusing on one thing at a time makes you more productive
Have you ever realised how much you can do when you focus on only one thing at a time? Even if you have only 10 spare minutes, you can achieve way more than you think you can! The secret to it is to avoid any distractions and pay all the attention to what you’re doing and have the end result in mind, so you know what you want to achieve. If you want to learn how to master single-tasking, check this article here.