I love me some good productivity hacks!
And I truly believe that true productivity comes when you get the important (not urgent) things done consistently! So, as a startup CEO, mom and homemaker, increasing productivity isn’t just important for me, it is non-negotiable. Especially since I just can’t afford for any balls to drop.
So here are the 3 productivity hacks that I use personally, to increase productivity daily, to make sure that all those different balls stay up in the juggling act that is my life!
1. Automate unimportant decisions
We waste a great deal of time on daily, routine decisions that add no value…to anyone! If you don’t believe me, think back to how you feel when your long-suffering spouse asks you what you want to have for lunch…again!
So, let’s take my daily home food menu, for example…
As a home-maker, I can decide to waste precious minutes deciding daily what food is to be made at home and then figuring out what shopping needs to be done for it. OR… I can simply create a menu once for the entire month & shop for the vegetables/fruits weekly plus the groceries monthly.
This not only saves time spent daily on deciding what the menu should be but also reduces stress on my poor family for the same routine decisions. It also gives my cook a set menu to follow and she consequently, doesn’t waste my time asking unnecessary questions. That is a lot of time saved and a lot of stress reduced!
Similarly, at work, take time to automate/delegate repetitive work tasks that add no value. This could include mind-numbing routine work like the creation of employee rosters, team schedules and any other lists or plans that take away time daily. Do the work once and template-ize it or hand it over to a team member once you’ve showed them how you want it done…but get it off your schedule! And then watch precious time get freed up on your schedule.
2. Create a time-block for your important tasks
Beware of face-time drain!
I mean this, because as a leader, you will often find that the largest part of your day is spent on face-time with your team leads or with various team members who want to discuss their take on things with you. And while this is a critical part of your daily work, you must be careful to not let it take over the day. Face time can extend into random chat and that can totally soak up your schedule.
So ensure that you set aside at least a 2-hour block of uninterrupted work time to attend to your mission-critical tasks.
Put a do-not-disturb sign on the door, wear headphones to block out unnecessary sounds, switch off your mobile & put a guard dog at the door if you have to…but let this be that time of the day when you get those important 2-3 tasks done without which your day would be incomplete and unproductive. This is actually the most useful of all productivity hacks and is a baseline in all productivity handbooks!
Uninterrupted time is critically important, as it typically takes over 20-30 minutes of sustained work before you can slip into an intense, concentrated flow and that’s when some of your best, most creative work happens. So give yourself the space to let that happen!
3. Save commute time for calls
Here’s one of my favorite productivity hacks ever!
I hate calls.
They gobble up work time.
We all know this but we still allow non-critical phone calls to take up a large part of our day which could be spent instead on constructive work.
Try this instead…Set a polite avoidance message and don’t take unnecessary calls during the workday. Once you get into your car or cab for the commute home – OR in lockdown times, when you take that coffee break or walk break – then take your time and return all the phone calls that you have received during the day.
Not only will this cement your reputation as a professional who returns calls, but will also save your time during the workday and give you a pleasant ride home.
Remember, however to mentally set a timeline for each call & ideally specify that at the beginning of the call to the other party so you can get to the point quickly and get the meat of the call done first!
So, are you ready to get productive?
While there are many tips and techniques that can make you more productive and efficient, it is important to remember that the ultimate objective is to be productive while ensuring that you remain a good, professional colleague who is a pleasure to work with.
I hope these techniques work for you and I would love to hear your thoughts on hacks that have worked for you and could help me in turn, so please do feel free to leave those in the comment section below.
Stay happy! Stay productive!