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Top 5 Productivity Tips

Five ways to beat those days when you wonder why you bothered sitting in front of the computer…

If you’re reading this, the chances are you spend a lot of time working on your own and have to motivate yourself to get stuff done. I  don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder why I didn’t just check out for a long lunch instead, so little have I achieved.

With that in mind I thought I’d do some reading up on productivity tips to share with you. Let me know how you get on with them.

1 – Sort your stuff by urgency and importance using the Covey Matrix

There is a great tool called the Covey Time Matrix which sounds like some science fiction film, but is a very useful way to categorise stuff you think needs doing by importance and urgency. The beauty of this method is that it’s a great way to sort stuff that will make a big difference from unimportant but seemingly urgent tasks and those which you shouldn’t even bother with.

I’ve used this technique before and cannot reccomend it highly enough. Read an excellent step by step guide here, and download a template you can fill in to get it all on paper here.

2 – Plan daily and weekly, and identify the top 3 things that need doing

Set aside 30 minutes a week, and 10 minutes a day deciding what needs to be done, highlighting the three things that are the most important, and make sure they get sorted. It’s a bit like a daily version of point 1.

Have a weekly list with things you aim to get done per day and then each day have a daily list with the top 3 things as well as other stuff that crops up.

Be realistic, put things that are less important lower down as nice-to-haves, but make sure you get them done if they were on your weekly list as one of your top 3 !

3 – Don’t multitask!

The idea that people can do more than one thing at once is a bit of a myth, sadly. You are going to have times when you need to be on call and super reactive, and it’s best to be realistic about when these times are so that you don’t make the error of trying to do important stuff at these times.

You need to do one thing well at a time if you want to avoid driving yourself mad, and that involves discipline, not to mention telling people that you will help them when you have the time.

Read this great article on why multitasking is a bad thing for you, and this one on nicely saying “no” to people so you can get important stuff done, and not get fired for being unhelpful to your collegues and management.

4 – Get started on tough tasks you’ve been putting off by giving them 5 minutes to begin with

This one is a cracker! When you need to get started on doing that proposal, writing that content, doing that budget or painting the hallway, use the “5 minute rule”.

Instead of putting yourself off with a big task, just promise yourself you’ll give it 5 minutes, and then do something else. Chances are you’ll get more than 5 minutes done, and might even finish it.

Above all, you’ll start doing it if you allow an hour a day to get a big task done. Nothing is better than action to beat inaction. Read all about it here.

5 – Build a routine and working environment that make it easier to concentrate

Especially true if you’re working from home, you need a good location to work from, a sensible routine and healthy habits to get stuff done and actually enjoy the process!

Get into the office at least once a week or join a local co working to meet other people if you work remotely / hybrid. This article is full of good tips to help you on your way.

Some further reading

This flipbook is excellent and very practical. 

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