As the New Year approaches and people start to make new goals, there’s a common theme. People want to be more productive. We want to feel fulfilled and accomplished. We’re eager to go after our dreams, accomplish our goals, and have purpose. Unfortunately, we tend to get ahead of ourselves. We add more to our plates without even knowing how to handle what we already have. That’s a problem. We end up failing, which would be okay, if we weren’t so discouraged in the process.
Sometimes, you have to do more, if you want to be more productive. On the other hand, sometimes, we just need to do less.
Check out these 6 tips to help us all be more productive!
KNOW WHEN TO MULTITASK
DO multitask while you wait. Anytime we do something that requires us to wait for 10 or more minutes, such as school pickup, it’s a great time to be more productive. On a ridiculously long hold with the phone company? Maybe you have to wait at the doctor’s office. Personally, I tend to have these little wait periods while I’m cooking. Have calls you need to make? Is there an email you’ve been waiting to respond to? Have a busy day tomorrow? Start jotting down your to-do list. Catch up on 10 minutes of your favorite show. Make the grocery list. Jot down some business ideas. Update your calendar.
The truth is, we spend a lot of time
waiting wasting! If we have to wait for 10 minutes, just 6 times per day, that’s an hour per day, 7 hours per week, and usually at least 30 hours per month. We’re talking about almost a 40 hour work week in just one month of these lost 10 minutes throughout our days. Honestly, I think it’s even more!
Don’t multitask during things that require a lot of attention such as creative work, technical tasks, or family time. Avoid multitasking during things that are hard to transition into or from. Focus. Remove all distractions. Put everything on hold. A lot of things we do require concentration and for our intellectual rhythm to be flowing. These are not the things we want to play the stop and go game with. And often takes more time to get back into the flow from an abrupt stop then it would to keep going and finish what we’re doing.
DO things that make you happy. If red lipstick does it for you, then wear it! Are you a must-have-my-coffee kind of woman? Start your day with your favorite brew! Do all the little things you can to make your days more enjoyable. Be positive and teach yourself to look on the bright side of everything you can. I can always be more productive when I love what I’m doing, so I try to love my days. I try to make the little things count. We have more energy and spirit when we are happy. Let loose, smile, laugh, and be kind. Be silly.
DON’T be too busy for your people. Time for yourself, family, and friends is important. No matter how productive we are with our time, it is not endless. Time runs out. Don’t ever let your time run out for being with the people you love or caring for yourself.
DO be invested. We often say we are invested in something, but we’re not willing to put our money where our mouth is. Whether it’s your home, business, or personal life, be willing to invest in making it better. We bought a full-size portable dishwasher because I was spending about 2+ hours per day just washing dishes. It wasn’t cheap. I didn’t want to spend the money. It was money well spent! The problems with my hands were so severe I had to have surgery on both. There should be no hesitation in doing or buying things that will give us actual returns.
DON’T lie to yourself! Some people love to spend money on everything that is designed to help them be more productive. Let’s just not forget that we still have to do the work. If we’re not willing to do that, then we’re going to waste our money and our time!
DO collaborate with like-people. Perhaps that is people who are in the same business as you, or share life similarities, such as the same amount of children, or a like work schedule. Find out what they are doing to be more productive. Work as a team with others, whenever it’s practical and feasible. If laundry is your home-life kryptonite, find a way the family can share in this responsibility. If spreadsheets are your professional weakness, ask for templates that work for others. Sometimes we are inspired to do something, but we don’t know what to do! If you wanted to redo your living room on a budget but don’t think you’re creative, perhaps you’d take to Pinterest. If you are selling something and are great at design but lacking in social media skills, find someone who can help. Collaborate.
DON’T think you have to know everything. Being resourceful is a great parallel to being knowledgeable. If you don’t have the answer to something, believe that someone else does.
DO be willing to hand things over to others. Can the kids handle a little more responsibility? They usually can! Can your co-workers take something off your plate while you are working on that extra time-consuming project? There are so many things in our day that we could delegate! There are three common obstacles. We’re afraid to ask for help. It might be an investment. Or, have a hard time letting go of control.
DON’T expect everyone to think and do things your way. Some things are worth a little sacrifice for the convenience and freedom. What about ordering your groceries on line? Save yourself a trip to the store! Sure, you won’t be able to hand pick each tomato. You’ll survive! Let the kids make their own beds. Are the corners really that important to you? Need to send some follow up emails? Hire a virtual assistant for a few hours of work. Outsource the production of your new product. Put your calls on forward to your assistant while you work on that mentally-challenging task.
ROTATE YOUR PRIORITIES
DO be flexible. Priorities change and we having to be willing to change with the demands of our lives. If you are at work, in the middle of an important meeting, and the school calls to say you are needed because your child has been injured, you’re flying out the door! The meeting was the most important thing of the day, until that call. Recognize that these things happen. If you are working on a blogpost (me) and your site breaks, the priority becomes fixing the site. Maybe you want to completely redo the curb appeal of your home because you plan on selling in the next few months. It’s okay to spend one week on and one week off, working on that project. Allowing yourself to rotate priorities allows life to happen. (Life is going to happen anyway) Rotating priorities allows you to be ready, when it does!
DON’T be overly scattered! Rotating priorities is one thing, but wandering all over the place, both mentally and physically, is another. Spending too much time stressing over the big picture will keep you from getting the little things done. We make it to our destinations one step at a time, so each step matters. We can’t skip over them. Sometimes the priority needs to be all the loose-ends and little things. Sometimes the priority needs to be a big project.
Check out the Facebook Live I shared about the first tip, my favorite, for how to be more productive!
What are some of your tips that help you be more productive? Please share in the comments!
Also published on Medium.