Following being floored with the dreaded flu, I thought it was timely to write a post about productivity. As an owner of an incredibly busy business, it is often difficult to find time to fit everything in, a problem that I think most people have on a daily basis. I have been reading a lot recently about how to be effective and productive, rather than just busy, so thought I would share some of my favourite snippets of advice, and some tools I use in my own business:
- Tim Ferris, author of the “4 Hour Work Week” – has lots of helpful suggestions on productivity but the one I find most useful: Block out a period of time before starting your day, opening emails etc, to set your goals for that day.
- Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, says, “I keep things focused. The speech I give every day is: ‘This is what we do. Is what we are doing consistent with that, and can it change the world?'” Stay laser focussed on your purpose – only do activities that help you achieve the purpose of your job.
- Tennis legend Martina Navratilova says, “I concentrate on concentrating.” If you work in an open plan office like I do, it can be easy to become distracted and fire questions at each other across the room. I work with my team on grouping questions, so a couple of times throughout the day we stop and go through any questions, rather than having constant interruptions. This allows time to focus on creative problem solving, whilst also allowing much needed uninterrupted down time on other projects.
- As entrepreneurs, or busy business people, we all have lots of ideas jumping around in our heads all day long – to be really productive, you need to clear that headspace to be able to focus and think creatively. There are lots of tools for idea gathering, but in some way shape or form, create a way to note down ideas that jump into your head, so you can clear them from your mind, but then go back and revisit them later. Two great tools for this are Trello & Evernote.
- One of the most valuable things to understand is where you spend your time. We all have those days where we can’t think where we have spent our time, as the day seems to have rushed past us, but it is really important to understand where your potential time sucks are. At DUO, we use a time tracking software called Timely, that runs in the background and allows us all to track any number of activities and projects.
In addition to the ideas above, I subscribe to Life Hacker’s How I Work series that interviews high-profile business leaders on how they work and often have great ideas on productivity and business growth. Here’s to a productive 2016!
By Laura Weaving, MD, DUO Global Consulting