12 tips to help give you a productivity boost today
#1 – Look at your business through a fresh lens
When you’re working in your business every day, it is easy to become blinkered. You start to see what you want to see, not what the reality is.
I call this ‘focus distortion‘.
It’s like at home when you’ve been away for a while, and when you return, you notice the pile of old magazines in the corner of the lounge or the devices clogging the shelf beneath the TV. You start questioning how long they’ve been there as you’ve failed to notice them. You do a spring clean and create a new reality as you look at your world through a fresh lens.
Apply the same fresh lens to your business. Challenge yourself to imagine you’re a new executive and begin to question everything, and I mean everything!
Ask WHY questions as you review systems, processes and procedures; why do we do it this way? Is it adding value? Is it helping us to be a relevant, agile, resilient business? Challenge the seven most expensive words in business; ‘That’s not the way we do things’ or its sister statement, ‘We’ve never done it that way before’.
Walking through your business with a restless curiosity and fresh lens is a cathartic experience that will awaken your senses.
#2 – Question what is worthy of your time?
To create the stretch and growth potential for your people and business, you should focus on what you can do. Yes, you’ll have oversight and a contributory role in other areas, but your primary focus should be on the high-value activities which allow you to realise the potential of your business and yourself.
To achieve this, ask yourself this question; what is truly worthy of my time?
If you find you’re spending more time on tasks and activities that you shouldn’t be, then now is the time to change because if you don’t, nobody else will.
#3 – Design your high-performing week
One of your highest callings is to be conscious and deliberate in setting your high-performing weeks for success.
…focus on the things that only you can do, the areas genuinely worthy of your time;
…create more time to work ON the business, not just the busy fool working IN the business.
…book quality thinking time in your diary, knowing the time you spend thinking will make the doing more effective.
Remember, you make your choices in life, and then your choices make you.
#4 – Become your own performance coach
Successful leaders have an insatiable thirst for learning and for showing up every day being the best version of themselves. They spend their life being their own performance coach, ensuring they reach their full potential.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the mechanics of the working day, and before you know it, days, weeks, or even months have passed since you spent time on yourself.
Invest time in YOU.
One of the six core human needs is the need for growth – for emotional, intellectual or spiritual development. If you are not learning and bettering yourself every day, then you are not growing.
#5 – Remove all clutter from your workspace
Why is this important?
Because the information you receive from your peripheral vision, that’s the side of your eyes, hits you subliminally, that means below the threshold and has more emotional content. Therefore, if you leave information, whether this is reports, files, or letters on the side of your desk, you’ll see them out of the corner of your eye, and those reports will now be saying, “remember me, you’ve got to do me.”
A clear workspace will increase focus and concentration and help you burn through more work than ever before.
#6 – Work on the same task only once
Next time you have a pile of papers, emails or post, try applying the four D’s principle as you work through it: Do it, Delegate it, Dump it or Diarise it.
When you work on a task, try to deal with it only once or up to the point where you can’t work on it anymore, and you need to either hand it off or get input from someone else. Give it the focused time to get it to completion or near completion.
#7 – Swap your to-do list for a success list
See how changing the words from ‘to-do list’ to ‘success list’ refocuses the mind on what’s important rather than just what’s to be done. Making this simple change, you’ll find you’re always working on your highest priority items.
#8 – Stop saying ‘yes’ to the unimportant
Every time you say ‘yes’ to something unimportant, you’re actually saying ‘no’ to something important. Your time is finite. You only have so many hours in each working day. You can’t be all things to all people.
Know your priorities. Know your goals. Know what you need to achieve over the coming weeks and months to feel that you have played your best game.
#9 – Challenge the meeting madness
How often has a meeting finished, and you’ve said, ‘that was a complete waste of time!’ Maybe if you’d have challenged whether it was needed in the first place, you could have got back a valuable hour or two. Start questioning whether a meeting REALLY needs to take place and whether it will add any value. Asking for a meeting objective and agenda will help filter out those non-essential meetings.
#10 – Schedule balcony time
It’s so easy to get caught on the dance floor of life continuously doing the same things the same way without making time to STOP, THINK and EXPLORE better options and more effective ways of working. Get on the balcony and create balcony time personally and professionally.
You must allow for thinking time. Whatever your role, you must create quality thinking time to work ‘ON’ your professional and personal life. Block appointments in your diary with yourself for thinking time, even if it’s just 30 minutes.
#11 – Create your focused five
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to lose focus, not just on a monthly or weekly basis, but daily. Here are five simple questions you can ask yourself to keep you on track. I call them the Focused Five;
What will I…
…stop doing? (Stop)
… do less of? (Minimise)
… keep doing? (Maintain)
… do more of? (More)
… start doing? (Start)
#12 – Remember to take a personal ‘pit stop’
Build-in quality ‘downtime’ where you decompress and close down the day so you can shut the door and tune into your personal life, family, hobbies, and outside activities where you are present and in the moment. Often our challenge is that we put little time into ‘downtime’, which means we carry the day into our evening, never entirely turning off, and before we know it, it’s morning again!
Your ability to focus on the things that make the difference can be the difference between hitting your goals and being massively off track.