The path to getting things done always begins with doing.
Productivity is a word thrown around loosely within entrepreneurship circles, with everyone looking for "hacks" or "tips and tricks" to make their day more productive. Ultimately these are surface level, with a real change being fostered by a change in our actions.
To become more productive you need embrace action as your fuel. Whether you're a leader within a company or starting your first job in corporate America, action is always going to prevail as the preferred course.
But not just any action. Deliberate action, aimed at achieving your overall goal. Ie. If your goal was to climb a mountain your first step wouldn't be in the opposite direction of the hill, it would be right at it.
However, with the unprecedented amount of distractions around you, it's no surprise when you get pulled in directions away from your proverbial mountain top.
In this article, I want to give you five techniques that I use every day to make sure I stay on course and get work done.
Time-blocking is exactly as it sounds, a piece of time you block out from all other distractions to focus on a high-priority piece of work.
For example, I block out 90 minutes to write every morning. During this time my phone is put on silent, email is closed and my team knows not to disturb me (unless of an emergency).
2. Using the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is where you pick the tasks you want to get completed and then set a timer to work on them (typically 25 minutes), work for the time then take a short break (5 minutes) before starting again.
Try and get three to four of these consecutively then take a longer break (25 minutes) before starting again.
3. Limit meeting time and frequency
Most meetings could have been an email, or discussed in a project management tool at each team members' discretion. Start by looking at your current meetings and challenge yourself to get them done in half of the time.
Most meetings should only require 15 or 20 minutes. Also, look at any standing meetings within your organization and if there's any you should cut. Just doing these two things will free up more time for you to work on high priority items.
4. Batch your email responses
We are inundated with email and the average person checks their email 74 times per day.
Having your email open isn't enabling interruption, it's willingly inviting it.
To get out of the email trap, set specific times throughout the day to check and respond to email, I recommend checking email three times per day, around noon, in the late afternoon and before you close out your day.
5. Write a Priority List
Start your day by writing out a list of things you'd like to get done that day. Then go through and number each task based on their importance.
The highest ranking tasks are what you need to tackle first, then work your way through your lower-priority tasks.
Remember being productive doesn't start with climbing a mountain, it starts with the first step towards the mountain.