I’d say I’m a very productive person, especially when I take on several tasks that I am passionate about. However, I often take on more than I can handle because I really love what I do. It’s when you become a little overwhelmed that you find out more about yourself; your limitations and about productivity.
Here are some reflections on productivity, time management and how to stay focused and organized.
-1- Seek Out Blocks of Productive Time
Once you find out when you’re the most productive (a.k.a. your prime productivity time), make a schedule around those times. Set aside blocks of time where you can take care of the most important tasks and eliminate distractions. If you’re most productive in the morning, get all the most critical tasks done during this time.
If you find that this block of time is rather lengthy, you can send out an email letting others know that they can’t expect an immediate response from you during these specific hours. People will remember this and they will respect your time.
-2- Utilize Productivity Tools
We live in the digital era. There’s not a moment that the little light isn’t blinking on your device or a that a notification isn’t pinging or popping up on the screen. This makes it incredibly hard not to check our social media and emails every few minutes, even if it is work related. These distractions are counterproductive, you don’t need to reply to everything right away!
Shut off all the notifications. You aren’t missing anything important, I promise. If your will power isn’t strong enough (mine sometimes isn’t) there are several website blockers that will block access to specific websites for set periods of time. Some add-ons for browsers are LeechBlock for Firefox, StayFocusd for Chrome and WasteNoTime for Safari.
-3- Filter Through To The Important Stuff
Everywhere we look there is more information and content online than we could possibly consume, relevant filters and aggregators are important to staying informed.
Hootsuite and Twitter lists easily filter through all the updates to bring you the ones from those in the industry who break the most relevant news. Flipboard is great for bringing you the most popular and recent content in the areas that interest you. Or is you a more of an RSS feed person, use Feedly and segments your feeds into different categories. There are even some email aggregators that do a good job of finding you the most thought provoking stories. MediaPost and eMarketer are a couple of great options for the social media world.
It doesn’t matter how you filter, as long as you do it. Not having to sift through the pages and pages of junk to find what you’re interested in will save you a ton of time leaving you to be more productive than you imagined.
-4- Be A Filter, Yourself
Take it a step further and be a sort of human filter. You can send out a weekly update of the most interesting content you’ve found. Or even if you just sent an article or two, you can help. It’s simple, just provide a quick summary of what it’s about or share the most thought provoking point from the article.
If you’re thinking that this couldn’t possibly be productive, you’re wrong. Sure, you’re taking your own time to share this information with others but this can benefit you in more ways than you think. To start, people will appreciate this and might end up doing the same for you if you maybe missed something they feel you’d be interested in. Another way is that you can keep record of the information you summed up and shared with others in case you might need it later for a presentation or an article.
-5- It’s Okay To Delegate!
You might have some people on your team that has a little more expertise in a specific task, why not let them take care of what they might enjoy that you clearly don’t? Even virtual assistants need their own VA! Since they have experience in the area, they can complete the task more efficiently than you would and it also frees up more of your time. You don’t need to take it on all by yourself, there are other competent people.
-6- Get Away For a While
Getting out of the office space can help you gain some perspective. If you’re working on a group project, take a small team with you and work in another environment. If you need a few minutes to clear your head, go for a walk or to get some coffee. A change of scenery is good for you.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
Since 2006, Out of the Office has offered ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, content writing and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Image credit: productivity by Sean MacEntee | CC By 2.0