Picture this – you’re in sales, you’re mostly out and about meeting prospective clients, which takes up a huge chunk of your time. On top of that, you have thousands of other things to do like prepare data, punch in a market report, attend meetings. You’re always short on time. Well, let’s look at it from a different perspective –is it really a time shortage or inefficiency? How much of those 8 hours do we spend efficiently? 60% – 70% maybe. What’s eating 30% – 40% of our time? What can we do to increase productivity?

1. Stay organized

You don’t have to be Marie Kondo to know that being organized is the most important thing you can do to increase productivity. If your home or office is a mess you’re going to be stressed out. Keep organized by having a place for everything and everything in its place.  So instead of spending hours looking for that one piece of paper with that really important phone number on it, you will be doing actual, real, productive work.

 

increase productivity road map photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov

Road map to success

If you’re an experienced traveler, you know that unless you have unlimited time and money, you need a map to get to your destination. But with so many sites to see along the way, it’s sometimes hard to work out where to go first. Likewise, a business plan, broken down into smaller tasks, is essential for meeting your goals. There are three things to consider along the way:

 

Must do

When you go on a road trip there are people you have to take along with you and places you have to pass through to get to your destination. With your productivity plans work out who is essential and what must be done. Write these down, but remain flexible, you never know that in the future you need to change your course.

Should do

Well, not everything goes according to plan. Maybe your road trip buddy goes back home, or it rains for a week so you can’t go on your planned hike.  If you hit a road block, make sure you have a plan B.  This will keep you in the driver’s seat, and it’ll give you the confidence to know you can handle any bump in the road.

May do

Sometimes, it’s nice to take a detour to enjoy the scenery. Maybe you’ve discovered an interesting side project that you’d like to explore in depth. Go ahead, explore! But keep your eyes on the end goal.
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Clutter

We all know the old saying ‘ Cleanliness is next to Godliness ’. What is true is that a neat and clutter free environment refreshes and energises us. Would you  bake a cake in a filthy kitchen? No, you’d clean it up and then get to work. Keep your work area clutter free by having a place for everything and everything in its place.

productivity clutter free Death to Stock

 

Unclutter your workspace by using programs such as Trello – this is a great alternative to plastering sticky notes all over your computer screen.

trello productivity

This tool works well even if you’re a freelancer or working with a small team.

Lose distractions

Delete Candy Crush Saga, turn off your WhatsApp, and focus. Not only do distractions keep you from your work, they’re an added source of unnecessary stress.  Keep your phone on silent, and answer messages when you have the time. If you really need to take a break from work, go for a short walk, or do some Office Yoga.

2. Stop procrastination

Procrastination is the biggest barrier to productivity. You know how it goes, you get an email from a client who wants you to write up a proposal, and you think “Yeah I’ll get to it five minutes.” Then five minutes becomes five hours, then five days and before you know it you’re scrambling to write a subpar proposal for a client who is irritated at you. The best way to beat procrastination is to not procrastinate, as soon as work comes in, schedule time for it. Simple, right?

photo credit: andreskrey via photopin cc productivity motivation

Prioritize

These days everything is urgent. Your boss needed that report yesterday, you need to urgently file the taxes. With all of this urgency in the air, it’s hard to work out what really is important. Don’t jump from one task to another, that’s a surefire way to keep your stress levels up and your work quality low. Instead, sit down and prioritize your work, this will keep you stress-free so you can do a killer job.

Visualize

The most effective way to be productive is to visualize it. Now I don’t mean sit back in your chair and daydream about how productive you will be. I mean get a whiteboard and a marker, write down your ultimate goal, then jot down a road map to success by breaking down the huge task ahead of you into smaller, more manageable tasks. Make sure you can always see this whiteboard, it’s going to be the map that keeps you from getting lost in the details.

Schedule it

Ok so having a road map is fine, but unless you have unlimited time and money, you wouldn’t take a road trip without knowing when and where you’ll be making stops. Using your experience, make an estimate for how much time each task is likely to take, leaving some room for flexibility. Having a schedule will in itself be a strong motivator.

productivity running exercise photo by Dave Meier

Take time out

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. We have heard this so many times, yet time and work pressure barely leaves time for breaks. Plan your breaks in advance and let your colleagues know, so they can be prepared for extra work they may have.Take time out every day, exercise and meditation are great stress busters and will help you relax so that when you have to work you can be completely focused.

What tips do you have to increase your productivity? Share it with us in the comments!

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Ewout is straight-forward and direct. He makes sure we keep moving forward. He’s a friendly chap and never fails to motivate the team to perform at their best.

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