Productivity is something that many of us have struggled with. It doesn’t come easy for everyone, and that’s totally normal. Becoming your most productive self means you need to implement the three P’s: practice, perseverance, and patience.
You must practice different productivity skills, have the perseverance to stick with it, and above all, have patience with yourself. Over time, by implementing small changes, you’ll notice an increase in your overall productivity leading to less stress and accomplishing your goals more quickly. So, without further adieu, we have 15 tips that will help you see those changes sooner rather than later.
Goals not only give you the motivation to get things done, but also allow you to outline where you need to start in order to accomplish them. Think of them as your roadmap– once you know what goals you want to reach after a certain timeframe, which could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc., you know which direction you need to head in first. Goal-setting is a skill that you will need to master in itself, and luckily we’ve already written posts about it here, here, and here.
If you’re more of a pen-and-paper kind of person, a variation of a project management tool could simply be a paper planner for you. However, using something to outline your projects, workflows, and processes will be a game changer. If you need something free or low-cost, try Trello or Clickup. Many people enjoy Trello’s board view, and in Clickup, you can have a board, calendar, or list view depending on your preferences. If you don’t know where to start with creating systems and processes, check this out.
Whatever time of the day you feel most productive and ready to knock out some work, do your most important or time-sensitive tasks then. For some, this is in the morning after they’ve had a cup of coffee. For others, it’s after the kids have gone to bed and they have peace and quiet to focus on their work.
If you sit often, take a break to walk the dogs or just clear your mind. If you’re on your feet often, rest for a while and just breathe. As humans, we need to space out our work day, even if there’s just a 15 minute break in between. Do you remember being in school and taking important exams, like the SAT or ACT? Though the tests only lasted a few hours, students always got a break in between to stretch, relax their mind, take a bathroom break, etc. So, why do we think that now, as adults, we need to work for hours on end? Take a break even if you’re only doing it for us.
If you struggle with self-discipline, having an accountability buddy or group of them can help you cut the crap and stay on track. Have someone that you can check-in with and hold each other accountable for the work you need to complete each day. When someone else knows what you need to do each day, it can act as further motivation to get it done. If you’re looking for a group, why not join ours made just for wedding pros?
Everyday, clean your workspace. Put away all of those messy papers, clear the clutter, throw away the empty bag of chips you ate earlier right away. You may be surprised at how much clearing the physical clutter will help with the mental clutter. Clean off your workspace after each day so that when you start a new day, you can start with a clean workspace.
As a business owner, your education should never cease. There is always room for improvement in every aspect of your life and business. Continuing your education allows you to become a greater asset to your business, as well as your clients. If you can add in 2 hours per week of just learning something new into your schedule, you’re off to a great start.
Turn off unimportant notifications on your phone, close all tabs that don’t pertain to the task at hand, turn off your TV as now isn’t the time to binge that new show on Netflix, get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, whatever you need to do to eliminate as many distractions as you can.
If you find yourself having to write the same email fifteen times per day, it’s time to create a canned response. Most email service providers will have the option to create templates for emails. That way, instead of typing the same response, you can choose a canned response and just fill in spots that will make it more relevant or personal to the person you’re responding to.
Similar to canned responses with emails, you can create keyboard shortcuts on your phone. If you have multiple Apple products, your shortcuts will also carry over to your other devices. A few ideas for shortcuts you can create are:
- Canned responses just like for emails
- Your email address
- Home address
- Important links
- Phone number
- Instagram hashtags
Just make sure that your shortcut isn’t spelled correctly or a word that you use often. For example, the phrase “eml” could automatically populate your email address. The phrase “hshtags” could automatically populate all 30 hashtags you use in your Instagram posts. The phrase “hrs” could automatically populate a canned response to someone asking for your business hours. The possibilities for shortcuts are endless. Creating shortcuts will save you the time and headache of typing the same thing every single day.
If you’re absolutely over your head in work, bringing someone on board may be the next path your business takes. You can hire an employee or a remote contractor depending on your preference. We’ve already written this Beginner’s Guide to Growing a Team, which you may find helpful when looking to outsource to an independent contractor.
Creating a vision board may be the extra motivation you need to accomplish your goals. All you have to do is find 5-10 images that represent where you want to be in the next 6 months, year, 5 years, or whatever feels good to you. The least amount of time, the better, though, as our goals are always everchanging and could pivot at any point in time. Put your images together in a simple collage. From there, you could either print it and frame it to have on your desk or save it as your desktop or phone wallpaper. Look at it whenever you need an extra kick in the tail to finish something.
Close your inbox tab and only check it at certain times. Maybe that’s first thing in the morning, right before lunch, and once in the afternoon. It’s up to you when you check it, but switching back and forth only adds to your distractions. You’ll also find it much easier to email everyone back at once versus sporadically throughout the day.
When we get focused on our work, it’s easy to forget about our basic human needs, starting with staying hydrated and fed. Always have a few bottles of water nearby that you can easily access. Keeping one beside you makes it more likely that you’ll grab it to drink from during the day. If you need to, keep snacks nearby as well so you don’t have to go hours until lunch time to grab a bite to eat.
We can’t stress enough how important getting an adequate amount of sleep at night will be to your overall productivity. On the same note, try setting a gentler alarm sound. If you have a loud noise set as your alarm, that may be negatively affecting your productivity in the morning. As humans, we aren’t meant to be “scared” awake, so having a softer sound to lightly stir you awake will make a big difference with how you feel in the morning.
We encourage you to pick just three tips from this list and practice them over the next week or two. When you feel you’ve mastered them, add another few. Like anything else in business, whether it’s marketing tactics, platforms, etc., it’s important that we start at the top and work our way down. Trying to implement all 15 tips will only add to the overwhelm and won’t allow you to see any results.
If you have any questions or would like to share your own tips that have helped you stay productive, feel free to DM us on Instagram!