We’re in a world of too much distraction, too much noise and far too much work. So we’ve got all the tips looking into ways to be more productive – and make business work.
In a utopian world, all the cogs in the factory of life turn nicely together where we’re working Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm – or maybe to 12noon on Fridays if we’re lucky. The reality is everyone is busy. We’re working longer hours where we’re plugged in from the moment we wake up until the screen falls on our face when we fall asleep. These hacks will get us productive in no time.
Being productive isn’t about suddenly being disciplined or organised and perfect. It’s about working smarter – not harder. And this all starts with our health. To push our body through the stresses of the day, we need to look after ourselves first and so build our energy for our mental and physical wellbeing. Focus on our health first and we can take care of business. We’re not a robot (unfortunately). We’re human bodies with complex minds that require purpose and enjoy achieving.
- Eat breakfast every day – even if only smoothies
- Take it outside: walk barefoot in mud, frolic in the sunshine, skip in the rain
- Perform one random act of kindness per day – no matter how insignificant.
- Ditch the guilt: know when to say no. It’s ok to not say yes all the time.
- Remove the boundaries around time: the less pressure we put on ourselves, the better
- Ditch your notifications. Unsubscribe. Unfollow.
- Celebrate the milestones: we work too hard not to appreciate our achievements and the moments that matter
It’s All About Attitude
Productivity isn’t about suddenly being disciplined, organised or perfect. Productivity is about working more efficiently. In 1896, Vilfredo Pareto devised the 80/20 Pareto’s Principle as “the law of the vital few and the trivial of many”. He developed the theory in the context of economics but found it extended naturally to other areas of life. This means:
- 20% of our activities account for 80% of our results
- 20% of our products and services account for 80% of our profit
- 20% of our customers account for 80% of our sales
What are the most valuable tasks that you can complete, to account for your best results?
Answer this, and you’ve got the answer to life, the universe and everything.
The truth is we’re not actually that busy. We prioritise our time for the tasks that matter – whether for our business, family or wellbeing. It’s one of the most precious commodities in business – even more so than cashflow, sales, profit and our employees. Today, more than ever, time means money.
- Have a power hour: start with critical emails and critical jobs and power through
- Limit meetings: keep meetings only to the most significant (preferably 6-8 maximum).
Make sure there’s an agenda to address points to keep it flowing, and have someone take notes for distribution once it ends.
- Have one day a week meeting-free
- Set daily goals and a timetable
- Schedule your email time into your calendar
- Set weekly check-ins to monitor the progress of your goals
- Know exactly where your time is going: online time manager toggl will show you what you really get up to
Scale & Automate
In business, we need to find the most sustainable ways for growth. Automation is the answer – especially when it comes to time-consuming processes.
- Set up and use templates
- Know when to delegate and when to outsource: trust in the people you’ve surrounded yourself with
- Streamline accounting with online cloud programs like Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks Online
- Communicate efficiently by cutting back on emails with messaging systems like Slack
- Project manage online: if lists are good enough for Sir Richard Branson, they’re good enough for us. Asana takes lists that step further as a wonderful online project manager to make working with teams and completing tasks a dream
- Zapier Asana with your calendar to automate meeting project deadlines
- Schedule your social media: reduce the task from 30 minutes per day to 90 minutes a week with great schedulers like Hootsuite or Buffer
Morale To The Story?
Even though these are great tips, there is actually no such thing as hacking productivity: it’s about how and when you work best. For all the “productivity hacks” out there, you won’t really know what works until you make it work for you. If waking up at 4.30am every week day is your answer to managing your time, or you find your power hour is at 10pm, then make it so: just make it work for you without all the guilt, tags and strings attached.
The immense responsibilities of running a business can’t be achieved when you neglect your health, mismanage your time and run around doing everything while achieving nothing. Finding exactly where you spend your time is the first move in making your business work. Once you know which top 20% of your tasks account for 80% of your results, invest your time there: where you’ll have the answer to life, the universe and everything.