Entrepreneurs are always trying to figure out how to get more done in a day. There never seems to be enough hours in the day. Do you ever feel like that? Do you wish you were more productive?
Everyone on this planet has the same amount of hours in day. So how do some people seem to do so much, juggling huge businesses, families, be super fit and healthy, whilst others seem to be struggling day to day stuck in a sea of emails?
Below are a whole host of productivity hacks to help you get more done and done better, in less time. The more of these you do the better you will get, but I would suggest implementing a couple at a time.
1. Don’t check your phone first thing
How you start your day is how you spend your day. A study found that 61% of people checked their phones within 5 minutes of waking up! That’s crazy! If you start your day in responsive mode, ie. responding to messages, Facebook alerts, emails etc, then your whole day will follow suit. You will be reactionary, just responding to others needs.
See how long you can go without checking your phone in the morning. You will find you get so much more done.
2. During project time turn off your emails and put phone in airplane mode
Every time you are distracted it takes your mind 20 minutes to get back on task. 3 distractions and that’s an hour gone. No wonder people go through a full day and feel like they haven’t really done anything.
If you have a project to work on. Then set aside the time and turn off ALL distractions. Phone off, emails off, make sure no one can disturb you. This is your time to work on the project.
3. In fact, turn off your notifications on your phone… COMPLETELY
Be intentional with your time, do not be a slave to your phone. Just because it dings, rings, flashes does not mean you HAVE to look at it at that moment. The problem however is you are now trained to do that.
So turn off all notifications, and at set times throughout the day go in and check each of the apps you need to. You will save a load of time doing it this way too.
4. Check emails at set times throughout the day – e.g. 3 30 minute blocks.
This follows along the same principle that every time you get distracted it takes 20mins to get back to the task at hand. Emails are a HUGE distraction. So open up your calendar and block in 30 minute blocks of time throughout the day, where you will go in and respond to all emails. You do not need to be at everyone’s beckon call 24/7. By doing this, you get much quicker at responding to emails and more productive in time away from the emails.
5. Do NOT read an email, then mark it as unread and leave it till later
How often do you do this? I know so many people who do it. They get the email, open it, read it, and then think, I’ll respond to that later. The problem is your mind is now on that email, it’s working on a response. It knows that email is there and needs to be responded to. So while you think you go off and work on other tasks, part of your mind is still on that email.
Follow the rule I mentioned above, check emails in set blocks of time. And respond to every email you open. There and then.
6. Clean Your Inbox
When you first open your email inbox in the morning what do you do? If you are like most people, you spend the first couple minutes just deleting emails that you know you won’t read.
We are subscribed to so many email lists, of things we are interested in, or used to be interested in. It’s time to unsubscribe!
From now on, everytime an email comes through and you haven’t read any of their emails in weeks/months, go in and hit the unsubscribe button.
Or if you want to keep them, set a filter that automatically by-passes your inbox into a separate folder, so you can go in and read them later.
7. Do the hardest/most important task first
Everyday, people everywhere, write down long to do lists. Then they get to work on them. But what they normally do, is crack on with the easiest tasks first. The problem is by the time they get to the difficult task, they are now lacking energy and willpower. And guess what happens, that task gets pushed back and back.
So flip it, when you energy levels and willpower levels are highest, at the start of the day, crack on with the most difficult task. Then when you your energy levels start to sink, it doesn’t matter so much because it’s only the easy tasks left.
8. Block out times in your calendar
Are you the type of person that says “If I find the time, I’ll do it!”? Do you ever find the time… no chance.
For things that are important you need to make the time.
That’s why when someone wants to get fit and healthy, they should block in their diary all the times they will be go to the gym. There is no chance of you waking up each day, and magically finding time to go to the gym. You have to plan for it.
You should do this for all the important things that you know need to get done daily, weekly and monthly. Make sure those thigns are already in your diary.
Block out project time once a week. You don’t need to know exactly what you will be doing in that time, just that its blocked out and can’t be filled with anything else.
9. Plan Your Day
How structured is your day? Is every minute accounted for? What are the most important tasks for you to accomplish? Write those 1-3 things down.
If I looked at your calendar right now, would it be clear what you are doing tomorrow and what will be accomplished by the end of the day?
The evening before, get your diary out and create a plan for the following day.
Two things happen when you do this…. One your mind subconsiously starts getting to work on those tasks. And the second thing is you now wake up and dive straight into your plan, instead of spending the first hour of your day trying to figure out what needs to get done.
10. Give yourself a time limit on a task and stick to it.
The mind is funny thing it will whatever time you give it. Give yourself 30minutes to complete a task you can do it, but give yourself 3 hours and that same task will drag out all afternoon.
If you want to write an article, set aside an amount of time. Start the clock and get to writing. Be strict with yourself. Once the timer is up, you move onto the next task.
11. Workout – YES EXERCISE!
The idea of taking 20-60 minutes out of your day to workout may seem counter intuitive. Surely if you want to get more done, you should work more, not less.
However the benefits of exercise will dramatically increase your productivity , increase your energy levels, and then there’s that bonus of keeping you healthy and fit and living longer!
You want more time, exercise and nutrition is essential.
Exercise is proven to increase productivity, creativity, energy levels, focus, improve your mood and so much more.
It doesn’t have to be a run if you hate running. Find an activity that you enjoy, 5-a-side football, basketball, netball, whatever you enjoy, go do that.
12. Take a 20 minute walk at lunch
A 20 minute break from work will allow your mind to recover and come back stronger afterwards. The added benefit of the gentle exercise will increase your energy, focus, creativity and productivity for the rest of the day too.
Have you seen those posts, telling us that sitting is the new smoking? Its true, sitting is truly killing us. We are not designed to sit, not for long periods of time anyway.
Standing has so many health benefits its crazy. From lowering blood pressure, improving posture, lowering risk of disease and so much more.
And it improves your productivity. A recent study from Texas A&M University showed that people who used standing desks were 46% more productive on a daily basis than their seated counterparts! WHAT!
Getting more sleep, will allow you to recover from the day, and have more energy the next day. I know that won’t be a shock to a lot of you, but do your actions actually follow that advice? Too many entrepreneurs sacrifice sleep thinking if they work more they will get more done.
It’s just not true. Also, the quality of your work will also deteriorate, and you will probably end up re-doing half of it anyway.
There is no magic number, I think the whole 8 hours of sleep is a nice guideline. But if you feel great after 6 hours, your health is great, your energy levels are and you wake up and are ready to roll then 6 is probably enough.
If you are feeling wiped out, no energy, health is deteriorating, then you may want to check your sleep.
Get your sleep!!!!
15. 80:20 Rule – Pareto’s Law
This is the law that 80% of the results come from 20% of the work. Focus on the actions that are going to really generate the results. There is a lot “work” you can do that does not drive the business forward.
Focus on the actions that are going to create massive results! What do you do with the rest of the work, that still needs to get done? Outsource it, delegate it to someone else. You as the business owner have to be focused on growing the business. Don’t get stuck working in the business.
This is another of those “I don’t have time to take 10 minutes out to focus on my breathing” type things right.
And yet the benefits of meditation are so incredible that not doing it seems silly.
In 10 minutes, you can improve your mood, improve your focus, your creativity, your productivity and your health, and so much more.
17. Listen To Binaural Beats
Listen to what now? Getting your brain waves on the right level for optimal focus and productivity is key. The use of binaural beats, music (sort of), to help with this is proven to work. There are different sounds to get different responses from the body. Whether its focus, relaxation, better sleep, reduced anxiety and more. Try them out, wear headphones for best results.
18. Morning Routine
How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of your day. How you spend your days will determine what your future looks like. So make sure you start every day strong! Get into a positive mindset and set clear intentions. I would take some of things we have spoken about today and put them into your morning routine. Do not check your phone. Perhaps start the day with a workout, 10 minutes of meditation, planning your day, writing down the 3 most important things for you to do.
So as I said at the start, perhaps implement a couple of the productivity hacks at a time. The more you do, the more productive you will be.
I hope thats been useful, if you have enjoyed it, or got some good tips, please share it.
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