Let's chat about productivity.
Last week was one of those that felt really BUSY, but also like I got absolutely nothing done at all. Can you relate?!
Our lives are busier, more stressful, and just a lot crazier than we've ever known them to be. So how do we continue to get things done through all of this?
Some of these will be familiar concepts, but let's break them down into new ways that you can integrate them into your day!
1. Batch Working
The only way batch working tends to work for me is by turning off all other notifications and distractions, and setting a set time limit on that task. For example - for the next hour I'm going to focus purely on writing blog posts, and without any notifications to pull me away, I might be able to get a whole heap of content completed!
I can then break up the rest of my day into chunks - one hour for emails, one hour for all the other little to-dos, one hour for social media posting etc etc.
SIDE NOTE - batch working can apply to whole DAYS as well. For example, we only schedule meetings for Tuesday and Thursday mornings, as they tend to cut up an otherwise productive day. By popping all of our client and team meetings into one section of the calendar, that means non-meeting days are a LOT more productive - because the whole team knows they just have to focus on getting things done on those days.
2. Setting goals/markers
The simplest way that I do this is by saying I have to tick ten items off my to do list before I can finish for the day. And then I start with some of the smaller items - ones I know will only take me 5 or 10 minutes, in order to get some momentum going. I pop a number next to each item as I cross it off, and the sense of achievement when I hit number ten is great!
Sometimes I might be so on a roll by then that I'll continue to power on through other work, what a win! But usually, just finishing those ten items is good enough.
3. Do the "worst task" first.
You know the one I'm talking about - the email you've been putting off sending, the boring accounting submission you've been delaying.
Endlessly procrastinating that one task makes you feel unproductive, because that item just sits there, weighing you down.
Instead - the first second you sit down at your desk, before you do any other single thing, before you can make a single other excuse, start on that task. You will feel AMAZING for having completed something big and nasty that you've been procrastinating for ages.
Go on, do it!
4. Cutting yourself some slack.
"Done is better than perfect," is a saying I've been using for years. We're so used to pushing ourselves to perform at 120%, but that kind of level of output will only lead to burn out.
And let's be honest, in this fast-paced world, your clients, readers and followers are probably spending only the BRIEFEST of moments engaging with your content or service.
If you can adjust your output to a 80% level - which is still an "A", which is still exemplary, you can function at a level which is much more likely to avoid burn out, and get through a lot more tasks, a lot more efficiently.
5. Accepting that we simply cannot do it all.
I was recently reading a great article titled the Eight Secrets to a (Fairly) Fulfilled Life on The Guardian. I loved the author's quirky take on success and fulfilment, in particular the below:
"There will always be too much to do – and this realisation is liberating. Today more than ever, there’s just no reason to assume any fit between the demands on your time – all the things you would like to do, or feel you ought to do – and the amount of time available. Thanks to capitalism, technology and human ambition, these demands keep increasing, while your capacities remain largely fixed. It follows that the attempt to “get on top of everything” is doomed. (Indeed, it’s worse than that – the more tasks you get done, the more you’ll generate.)
"The upside is that you needn’t berate yourself for failing to do it all, since doing it all is structurally impossible. The only viable solution is to make a shift: from a life spent trying not to neglect anything, to one spent proactively and consciously choosing what to neglect, in favour of what matters most." - The Guardian
Such a good reminder to prioritise the really important tasks, and then simply to let go of all the rest.