Grab your copy of the worksheet for this article by signing up at the bottom of this article.
Part 2: Four More Effective Ways to Increase Productivity at Work
Every entrepreneur has too much to do and too little time. But you can be more productive at work than you are right now. A few simple strategies can make all the difference.
In our last session, I began Part 1 of a 3-part series where I reveal a dozen of the most effective ways to increase productivity at work. I’d love to hear about the success you’re having implementing the first four strategies I shared. (You are practicing what you learn, aren’t you?!)
Being more productive at work is simple. It’s not easy. Do you try to stay focused? But the day disappears in a blur of emergencies and interruptions? (Do many of those interruptions come from your own brilliant ideas?) Do you start the day with great intentions? But when the workday ends, you have nothing to show for it? Do you ever wish the chaos would stop so you could think?
Until you started your business, you managed your time and your life according to someone else’s plan. You follow someone else’s schedule. You react to whatever anyone throws at you. You do, do, do. And you learned that thinking, strategizing and creating was not productive. But that’s not true when it’s your business.
Now you need to think, even to dream. You need uninterrupted time to do that. And the only way that can happen is if you plan your day and execute that plan.
Today, I’ll share four more of a dozen great ways to increase productivity at work.
Strategy #5: Make a plan and stick to it
Owning your own business means you decide how to spend your day. Don’t let phone calls or emails dictate what you do. Plan a time to answer phone calls and emails. And it should not be during your mental peak. I like to do it before lunch. I know I won’t take longer than necessary because I’m hungry! Prepare your plan for the day and follow it. No one can ignore a ringing phone or dinging computer. During work hours, turn off your notifications.
Strategy #6: Stop interruptions
The smallest interruption is enough to break your focus. Think how hard it is to pull yourself away when you’re focused on a task. When someone interrupts you, you’re confused. You’re still thinking about what you were doing. At first, you can’t understand what they say. Finally, you shift your focus and deal with the emergency – and it better have been an emergency! Now you to face another transition to get back up to speed. Nothing saps your mental energy like interruptions. Plan your availability and let people know. Otherwise, keep your door closed or work from home when you need to focus.
Strategy #7: Measure success in tasks
In Corporate America, it’s become a badge of honor to work long hours. When it’s your business, there’s always more to do. You can rack up a lot of hours! But remember, you’re looking for ways to improve your productivity at work, not spend more hours there. Forget about the number of hours you worked. Focus on the tasks you completed that have an impact. You’re an entrepreneur. The hours you work are meaningless. How many tasks did you check off? (Don’t cheat and fill your schedule with meaningless but easy tasks! Focus on tasks that move you forward!) How much progress did you make? Did you do more today than yesterday? Can you beat your record?
Strategy #8: Focus on progress
Building a business is a marathon. Even becoming an “overnight sensation” takes years. Create rituals and habits that help you make progress each day. Plan your week. Plan your day. Check off tasks. Next. Next. Next. If you make progress every day, you will reach your goals. It’s motivating to have a big dream. But it can be disheartening when the vision never seems to get closer. Focus on ways to be more productive at work every day. Celebrate progress. Before you know it, your goal will be right in front of you.
Remember, none of these strategies work if you don’t use them. The most dangerous words any entrepreneur can say are, “I know that.” You may think you know these strategies. But are you actively using them in your work every day?
I’d love to hear your feedback. What strategies are helping you increase your productivity at work? Where are you struggling? I split this series into smaller sessions so you could put the lessons into practice in your business.
See you next session when I finish off our series on more 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.