Planner: Emily Ley's Simplified Planner
Productivity is important for moving forward! The alternative is looking back at the list of things that should have been done - those important things - and wishing that you would have made time to get those tasks done. You don’t have time to look back and wish you would have done what needed doing. It might be possible to put in extra hours here and there and overexert yourself to catch back up, but that’s not the kind of refreshing life that you are after!
These three productivity killers have definitely taken their toll on me and my business, but not anymore! It’s now important to me to set boundaries with work so that I can tackle the important things and eagerly look forward to new things in my business. I now understand that I can take action, protect the time I have and see the results that I want!
If you are trying to cut back on wasted time, find yourself behind on what needs doing, or don’t even know where to begin, this post is for you! It’s time to get your time back!
POOR DAILY SCHEDULING
Keeping a great calendar is vital for any leader. Try scheduling your day with blocks of time dedicated to specific tasks. I think it works best if you do this block scheduling at the beginning of every week and then adjust the blocks at the beginning of each day as needed!
Focus on the task at hand and forget about the rest of your to-do list! It’s also important that you don’t try to multitask during these blocks! You can manage your social media and email later (afterall, those tasks have their own block of time)!
“You know those things you have always wanted to do? You should go do them.” -Lara Casey
I look ahead for the week and schedule when I will blog for the week, when I will submit weddings and shoots, when I will work on new projects and products, and when I will have availability for phone calls and meetings, etc! So I may schedule a 3 hour block on Thursday for product development and realize that the most important thing at that point is developing content for the blog. Just do what needs doing!
Note: Don’t move blocks around so that you can procrastinate! That defeats the point of daily scheduling!
“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” -George Patton
Now just because I schedule these things doesn’t mean that my schedule works perfectly! But time is going to be managed. MY time is going to be managed. And it might as well be managed by me and not a list of random, unintentional to-dos.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
Related: Keeping a Great Calendar
When your business starts growing, your inbox will too! If left unmanaged, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated to keep up with the emails that come in. If you’re behind on your inbox, designate a block of time to tackle all of it! Once you have it under control, it will take a much smaller block of time to manage each day!
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln
At the end of 2014 I had thousands of emails sitting in my inbox. This not only killed my productivity, but it was draining to me! It’s exhausting to open your email inbox and feel like you are losing your mind!
I created a lot of folders that have helped me to keep by inbox clean and organized! I now even have a folder called Follow Up! Once I have responded to the email and am just waiting on a response in return, the email goes to the Follow Up folder! Once a week, I go through the folder and follow up with the bride/vendor/potential client!
I also realized that the majority of the mess in my inbox was due to subscriptions! Thanks to Unroll.me, I can easily unsubscribe to the daily newsletters from large companies!
A FOCUS ON DAILY TASKS UNRELATED TO WORK
Start by asking yourself what daily tasks you spend a lot of time thinking about. Do you take action on those things when you need to be working? If so, try keeping a piece of paper on your desk so that you can just empty your head as the list starts to fill your mind. This will help you to fully focus on what needs focusing! You can tackle that list later!
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” -Alexander Graham Bell
Note: This is also especially helpful to me when a new blog post, product or business idea makes it’s way into my head! I keep a journal next to my computer and will just jot it down somewhere inside! This helps me to transition back to whatever I really need to be doing at that point in time!
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” -Zig Ziglar
Sometimes things are out of your control. Give yourself some grace! If you work from home and have children with you during the day, I would suggest scheduling a block for the “unexpected” each day. Then you will be able to move that block of time around as the unexpected will inevitably occur!
I work from home, so household chores are one of my biggest (potential) distractions! I like to plan ahead and close off anything that will hold me up during the work day.