By Moira Dunne. B.A. Mod, M.Sc, PMP, Productivity Consultant and Co-Founder of beproductive.ie
EVER WISH YOU HAD A TIME TURNER?
In the magical world of Harry Potter Hermione Granger used a Time Turner to turn back time. She created 3 extra hours a day to attend classes that ran concurrently allowing her to be productive and get more work done that everyone else.
Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Imagine your typical busy day. You have a plan but throughout the day lots of new thing crop up. At the end of the day you realise you hardly got to work on your planned tasks. No problem, just turn back the clock and get everything done!
But we don’t live in the magical world of Harry Potter, so we need “magical” strategies instead.
In today’s hectic and distracted world it can be hard to stay in control of your day and be productive. The constant stream of messages, alerts and requests often cause us to work reactively. It can be frustrating. Most people make good plans and set clear goals but those plans can get side-lined as new requests and alerts arrive. Below we list 3 tips to be productive in 2018.
It can be useful to remind ourselves what we can actually control. We can proactively manage:
- What we work on
- How quickly we respond
- What we prioritise
- How often we check Email
- Our energy levels and focus
- Our mobile phone notifications
So if you decide to be more proactive and take control, here are 3 tips to be productive that will help you do it.
3 TIPS TO BE PRODUCTIVE
TIP 1 – KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES
To maximise your use of time, it is important to know your priorities. Be clear about what is important for your company, your role, your clients and your targets. What are you trying to achieve; what are your long-term goals? Do some thinking and planning. Then set weekly goals and identify the tasks that will achieve these goals. Now you have your day-to-day priorities. Focus on achieving these tasks and protect your time by minimising your distractions.
Remember, if you don’t set your own priorities, someone else probably will.
TIP 2 – UNDERSTAND HOW YOU WORK
The first step in CONTROLLING how you work is KNOWING how you work. Do you know what you end up working on each day? Do you know why? Are you clear about how you are prioritising your work?
You can gather this information by simply reflecting at the end of each day. Ask yourself:
- Did I stick to my plan?
- Did I end up working on unplanned things?
- Was the unplanned work more important?
- Did I make the correct decisions?
- What and/or who distracted me?
Consider what time of day you are most productive and when you concentrate best. Then plan the important work for these times.
TIP 3 – CONTROL YOUR DISTRACTIONS
Take steps to minimise your distractions now that you are aware of them. It may be phone calls, social media notifications, unimportant message alerts or other people’s requests.
We often let ourselves be distracted if it’s a welcome change from a tough (priority) task we are working on. And a change of task can refresh and help you regain focus. The challenge is to control the time you spend on the unplanned task by using a timer to remind you to tune back into your original plan.
To help minimise digital distractions you can do the following:
- Analyse all the notifications you receive on your phone, tablet of PC.
- Are you giving them all the same priority?
- Are you letting a low priority Twitter interaction distract you as much as the alert for an important business Email?
- Turn off notifications from low priority apps or Email accounts
- Check Email at a set frequency, as often as you need to stay in touch for your role or business.
BE PRODUCTIVE IN 2018
These changes may require a different way of working. It may not be possible to stick to it every day. But on a day that you have an important piece of work to complete and you need some deep-thinking time, take control and protect your precious time.
Try something new in the New Year and you have every chance of making 2018 your most productive year ever.
Stay productive by staying in touch with beproductive.ie on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @beproductive_ie . And checking our website for regular articles and tips. We want to help you be productive all year round not just the first few weeks in January!