We’ve all had those days. The workday seemed to have lasted an eternity. You’re ready to bail out and head home. Yet the whole way home, you feel like nothing was accomplished.
Or I’m sure you’ve had days where you have a huge list of tasks to do, and the time flies by. You look up and you’re already staying late, yet you only have half of your tasks accomplished.
What we are all experiencing are issues with productivity. No one is perfect. We all have moments, days, or even weeks where we just can’t seem to get into gear.
The key is to minimize these setbacks and like any other problem, be proactive to prevent it before it starts to take effect. Here are a few quick tips that will help you get more out of yourself:
Plan Your Time, Ahead of Time – We often joke with our clients that people plan their vacations better than their work. If you think about it though, we’re not far off. You know the exact time to grab a chair by the pool, gather for an activity, start the family’s shower routine, and depart for dinner. Why then, do you go into each day with such a loose schedule?
Take 30 minutes either Friday afternoon or Sunday evening and identify all the things you must accomplish in the week ahead. Then, open up your calendar and start blocking off time dedicated to getting that done. Revisit each morning to address any new events or issues that will modify that time schedule (trust me, there will be a few).
Hold yourself to that schedule as best as possible. Don’t allow yourself to run over into another task. If you fail to get a task done in the allotted time, that means you must find time outside of your schedule to make it up. You will create urgency in each task to get things done in a timely manner to avoid the penalty of working in your free time.
Have Designated Correspondence Time – If you think through your day, often the biggest item that eats up our time is our e-mail or social media. As a marketing and branding company, we know it is important to constantly be open to the world.
However, what good are you to your clients and customers if you are responding quickly and frequently and not tending to your businesses operations?
Set aside time throughout the day as designated correspondence time. Take 15-20 minutes a few times throughout the day and handle all communications then. If need be, set aside a longer time period at the start of the day to address all known communications.
Send out all the e-mails you need and maybe even use a program like Hootsuite to schedule some tweets throughout the day. Your followers won’t know you planned ahead, and will appreciate the constant new material.
Use Ambient Noise or Music – Often the sounds and conversations around us can pull us away from our work. We have fantasy football to discuss or the latest developments on the Jersey Shore. Next to e-mail, our co-workers are our biggest distraction.
Fire up a phone app like Ambiance to help create some noise that will drown out your environment. If that doesn’t sound appealing, create a playlist of music that will keep you energized. That may require navigating away from your favorite sing-along jams. Your main goal is to create a “bubble” not give your vocal chords a workout.
End Your Day with Something New – This may seem odd to many, but set aside time at the end of each day to start a new task for tomorrow. This task shouldn’t be busy work, but rather something that is ambitious. Maybe it’s a new product idea or a new campaign.
Starting these projects at the end of the day allows you to end your day with something exciting. You’ll find yourself thinking about the project while you are away and you’ll be eager to get in and start working the next day.
Make sure these projects are not a large under-taking unless they are critical business issues. You kill your productivity by letting your “pet projects” consume the time you need for critical business tasks.
Doug Winegardner is the CEO and Founder of Radius Media Agency.