Published 18 October 2016 Category: Compass Tips

Five Productivity Tips For Successful People

Businesses are increasingly moving away from measuring people’s output based on how long they sit at their desks. Presenteeism – when people remain at work for longer than required in order to “show their face” – is no guarantee of productivity, particularly in this age of social media, when we’re just as likely to be tweeting football scores from behind as screen as compiling reports. So how to become a more productive person without working 24/7? We look at five top tips to help you on your way.
Timing is everything
Some people are naturally more productive first thing in the morning, while others are night owls. Aim to take this into consideration when tackling your workload. Are you most likely to sustain focus if you dive straight into a project or do you need time to “warm up” when you get to the office? Wherever possible, prioritise your tasks accordingly and you’ll find it easier to stay motivated to completion.
Double duty
Most of us will have a commute of some kind to tackle each day. Why not use this downtime to tick a few items off the list before you start your day in earnest? Clear as many items from your inbox as you can, set reminders and cross-reference your calendar to your appointments to make sure you’re set up for the day. If you’re driving to work, why not use this time to listen to business podcasts (insert link to podcasts article) and gain valuable industry insights as you travel?
Clear lines of communication
Email can be a major time-suck for even the most organised individual. Before you do anything else, switch off any screen notifications and sound alerts. If you can, set aside two or three designated timeslots throughout the day to deal with email and avoid checking it at any other time. If your contacts have grown to expect an instant reply, set up an auto-response to let them know that you’ll only be checking in at specific times. Your inbox will quickly decrease in volume as people reduce the number of unnecessary emails that they send you outside of these times. If that sounds a little too drastic, commit to only checking your email when you actually have the time to respond, meaning that you save time on re-reading previously opened messages.
Know your strengths… and your weaknesses
While learning new skills is an important part of entrepreneurship, the ability to effectively delegate and outsource certain tasks is also a crucial skill – particularly if you’re an SME with limited time and human resources. Acknowledging that others might be better suited to assist you with, for example, copywriting, social media or web design not only enables you to focus on using your skills and expertise to most effectively support your business, but also typically ensures a more polished end result.
Get on the list
To-do lists are nothing new, but a little bit of maintenance each evening can help you to save time and become far more productive in your work. Firstly ensure that everything is written down each night before you go to bed. Check your previous day’s list and either delete or carry forward any outstanding items. Once your list is complete, prioritise your tasks. This can be achieved simply, either by marking them with a symbol (e.g. a star for urgent, a circle for medium and a triangle for low priority), or by underlining in a different colour. The whole process should take no more than a couple of minutes, but will allow you to fully switch off and rest at night, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be reaching for a notepad at 3am when you suddenly remember something urgent, and that you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in the morning. And if there’s one thing that increases everyone’s productivity, it’s a good night’s sleep.