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Part 3: The Final Four More Effective Ways to Increase Productivity at Work
In our three-part series, we’ve been exploring the most effective ways to increase productivity at work. I’m glad you joined me for part 3. If you missed the previous sessions, you can find part 1 here, and part 2 here.
Every entrepreneur is busy. No, not just busy. Crazy busy. People who don’t own their own business rarely understand how all-consuming it can be. As we’ve explored these effective strategies to make you more productive, we’ve talked about why it’s so hard to increase your productivity when you’re the owner. You need to learn a new approach to controlling your focus, managing your energy and planning what you do.
You first learned how the world expects you to be productive in school. Be there when the bell rings. Leave when another bell rings. Do what you’re told when you’re told. Show your work – we don’t want shortcuts. It doesn’t matter if you prefer art to math. Or vice versa. Someone else decides what you do.
You honed your time management skills at a job… Show up before the boss. Stay late. Do what you’re told. Look busy. If you work faster, they’ll only give you more to do.
But when you own the place, different rules apply.
Today, I’ll share the final four of a dozen great ways to increase productivity at work.
Nothing kills productivity like procrastination. One of the most common reasons for procrastinating tasks is because we’re not clear how to tackle it. How do I start? What should I do? It will take too long. If you are procrastinating a task, ask yourself this question first. “Is this a task? Or is it a project?”
If you can break a task into several smaller tasks, it’s a project – even if it’s small. And when you can break it down, you should. Once you’ve identified individual tasks, it becomes easier to knock them out one after the other. Soon you’ll build momentum. And momentum is one of the best ways to be more productive at work and stop procrastinating.
Limit the time you spend on tasks
Many entrepreneurs who feel overwhelmed and unable to focus are “time blind.” Most people aren’t able to estimate time. Some are worse than others. Are you often late for meetings because you try to fit in one more thing? Do you start a task you think will take 10 minutes and look up 2 hours later? Decide how much of your time a task is worth. Set an alarm. Stop when it rings.
The most important way to be more productive at work is to focus on what you’re doing. Multitasking will not help you get more done. In fact, you’re distracting yourself. It takes time to focus on a task. It might take you 20 minutes to reach full productivity. When you switch tasks, it takes time to pull your brain away from what you’re focused on. Then it’ll be another 20 minutes to get up to speed on the new task. Schedule blocks of time that will allow you to focus on a task long enough to make significant progress. Commit to a single task during that time. Bar the doors, turn off the phone and unplug the doorbell.
Sprint, sprint, sprint
Building your business IS a marathon. But you can get more done every day by sprinting. You face constant distraction, stealing your attention and draining your energy. Make a habit of working in time blocks. When you have a task to do, set a timer and force yourself to put your head down and work full at full speed until time is up. Work in sprints of 15, 30, or 60 minutes depending on the task and your mental energy. Focus on the task in front of you.
During that sprint, don’t answer the phone. Don’t check email. No Facebook. It’s you and your task. If a thought interrupts you, jot it down and set it aside. Focus. You must finish this task. It doesn’t matter how long you can focus. It’s a muscle – the more you work it, the longer you’ll be able to sprint. This is a great way to cut distractions and improve your productivity at work.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on the most effective ways to increase productivity at work I’ve shared over my three-part series. More than enjoyment though, I hope you’ve put what you’ve learned into practice.
It is essential you apply what you learn. If you picked any one of these strategies into practice, you would get more real benefit than if you read a million tips and tricks to improve your productivity.
Learning doesn’t count until you put what you learn into practice. Over the last three sessions, you’ve seen a dozen of the most effective ways to increase productivity at work. Any one of them can make a positive, bottom-line difference in your business and your life. If you use it.
I’d love to hear your feedback. What are your favorite strategies? How are they helping you increase your productivity at work? Where are you struggling? If you have questions, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments. If you’re not seeing the benefit you think you should, sometimes a minor tweak can make all the difference.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these proven effective ways to increase productivity at work.
Linda Walker, PCC, works with “Creative Geniuses.” She helps business owners move from chaos and overwhelm to fulfilment and profit. Traditional approaches to focus, productivity and organization fall short for Creative Geniuses. Linda has created programs for Creative Geniuses on the Entrepreneur’s Journey. Her programs combine group coaching, online training and community. They help entrepreneurs calm the chaos, get more done and have more free time. Get your free report: Top 3 Productivity Hacks for Creative Genius Entrepreneurs.