5 Things To Help You Become More Productive.
Updated: Jan 12
We'd all like more time in the day, right?
In fact, we've all probably uttered the phrase "There's just not enough time in the day" more than once in the last year.
The truth is, we can't make time. There is literally zero way of making more time. We can't make extra seconds, minutes, or hours. We've got what we've got.
Let's break a day down...
Hours - 24
Minutes - 1440
Seconds - 86400
The average 'working' day.
Let's minus off 8 hours for sleep, 2 hours for eating, 1 hour for exercise, 2 for travel, 1 for shower/ getting ready, an hour for "you". That's 15 hours gone on average. We've got 9 hours to get all the work done and maybe get some time with loved ones.
Over the last month I've been trying out a 4 day week. It's where I get all the main chunks of work done so I can have an extra day to chill, spend time with loved ones or work if I want/need to. It's taken me almost 10 years of self-employment to get to this stage. It's stressful and hard at first but it can be done. Granted, I did still work an hour or so on my "off days" but it was in my control.
So how did I manage it?
1. Clocking what you're doing.
I spent a few weeks clocking everything I was doing. The work, the breaks, the times I felt productive, the times I felt creative, the days and times I needed a nap, my routine, the good, the bad and the ugly. I sussed it all out and managed to create a schedule to fit with how my brain works.
I get creative around 7pm so that's when I create graphics. I like writing content in the mid afternoons (it's 2:30pm as I write this), I brainstorm best after 8pm, I don't like verbally talking to people before 11am. All of these little things helped me create a schedule where I would be working at my best. Where I would be more productive.
I usually do all my planning on a Sunday. It's when I wind down from the week and get ready for the week ahead. I purge my office of anything I don't need anymore and I get everything ready, where possible, to hit the ground running for the week ahead. I plan for everything. I have a good idea if I'll get a full lunch break, or if I'll need to eat at my desk. I'll know where i'll be and how long stuff will take me. PLUS, I also plan to be interrupted. When I tell people I'm at "full capacity", I'm actually at about 85-90%. This ensures that if something last minute pops up, I'm covered. The stress is automatically minimised. If nothing pops up then I have time to either work on my own business, get ahead of the day or go spoil myself with free time.
3. Longer Days.
In order to shorten your work week, at first, you may need to lengthen the working day. The days of 9-5 are dead. Most business owners are working more that 8 hour days. You may need to sacrifice on some days to make the others more special. I'd much rather let work eat into an extra hour of my day 4 days a week to 'earn' a day off on Friday.
My average day is 9-7 as it stands. This week in particular i've busted out a few 12+ hours because I'm in the middle of a rebrand and relaunch. change is coming for Miss Make It Happen, so I've had to work more hours on my business. I'm more than happy to do this as I know it'll lead me to a better work life balance in the end.
4. Be strict
When a friend has a day off and asks you for lunch, it can be all too easy to stop and wander off for 2 hours. What you've got to ask yourself is - Will this lunch be worth it? Can it be arranged for a time when you're both not at work.
You'll also need to be strict with clients. Some will just want to call and talk. You'll probably develop personal relationships over time and this will make conversations more difficult during the day. 'Jeff' may call to tell you he needs XYZ but then launch into 20 minutes of chat because he hasn't got much to do. YOU however don't need to listen. You can politely tell Jeff that if you've got all the work information, you should be going. You can arrange a catch up call another time. It's harsh but you need to be protective of all your 86,400 seconds!
5. Stay strong.
Any changes can be difficult at first but you need to stay strong. If you get through a couple of weeks of being selfish with your time, have a plan, know where you're meant to be, what you're meant to be doing, it'll all start to become routine and increase your productivity.
So, in summary - workout where your time is currently being spent, Plan EVERYTHING, be committed to doing what needs to be done, be strict with your time when other people are concerned, stay strong because it DOES get easier.
In the mean time,