Do you ever find yourself sitting at your computer working on something and you don't know how you got there? I have a really hard time focusing on one task and seeing it all the way through. But over the past year or so I've found some productivity tips that have helped me become better at starting and finishing a project all the way through, so I wanted to share them with you!
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Your Top Three
Every day, start off by determining your top three things you want to accomplish today. These should be things that bring the most value to what you want to accomplish. They shouldn't necessarily be the most annoying things or the thing you just want to get out of the way. Really be intentional in how you choose your top three. No, answering email doesn't count!
I use Trello for organizing my ideas and thoughts. It's a free, lightweight tool for creating lists and managing process flow. I find that by listing my to-do items in Trello, I can quickly write them down and then move on to focus on what I was already working on. It allows me to quickly get ideas and thoughts out of my brain so I have more space for my current task at hand.
That way, at the beginning of every day, it's easy to see what's on my list and to drag and drop them into the order of priority. Then I know my top three things I want to focus on that day.
Pssst - did you know I have a FREE guide to using Trello? All you have to do is sign up for my email list and voila! Free Trello guide right in your inbox. Bam. (I don't know when I started channeling Emeril Lagasse, but we're going to go with it).
Have you ever picked up your phone to do something, then seen a notification that you immediately have to respond to, only to find 10 minutes later that you never completed the original task that you picked up your phone to do originally? It happens to me all. The. Time. One way I escape this cycle is to put my phone on Do Not Disturb while I'm knocking out my Top Three. It's super important that you give yourself space and time to concentrate, and our phones have become the worst thief of time of them all.
While you're at it, close your email app on your computer and turn of those notifications. Unless there's a possibility of something coming through that's LITERALLY on fire, you do not need to be on your email 24/7. If it's that big of an emergency, they should probably be calling you, right? So it's okay to disconnect a little bit to focus on getting things done.
It will be SUPER hard in the beginning but start with small chunks. 20 minutes. 30. Maybe even an hour. Once you see that the world won't burn if you disconnect from it for a minute, it will get easier to do for longer periods of time. And it will become a habit in the mornings while you knock out those top three things you're super focused on!
Batch Your Work
This is a relatively new one for me, but so far I am loving it. Batching your work means organizing your tasks by like item and plowing through that group of tasks all at once. I've started setting aside a specific time of the week to create Facebook post images. By doing them altogether, I'm able to knock out 7 or 8 at a time. Then I batch the accompanying blog posts on another day. It's a lot easier to write the blog posts once I know the Facebook graphics are done. I also batch client outreach and lead generation. It's really one of the best productivity tips I've discovered.
Once you start with a group or two of tasks, you'll start figuring out other groups that make sense to do together. And, if you're using your Trello board, you can create lists of cards for each group and separate lists for each task you have to complete for each group. Have I mentioned I love Trello? Because I do. Bunches.
Anyway, batching your work allows you to really concentrate on getting specific things done. In software development, there's a concept called context switching, and there's a cost associated with context switching. Basically, changing from one task to another costs time because you have to get your head into a new game, figure out what you're doing and why, and how you want to go about it. By sticking to the same task or type of task, it reduces the context switching and makes the whole system more efficient.
This goes for those pesky distractions, too. Every time you look at your phone or check your email or get distracted by that notification, it costs time, not only in the time you're reacting to the distraction but also in the time it takes to get your head back in the right space for what you're working on.
What Productivity Tips Do You Have?
You've heard my favorite tips to increase your productivity, now tell me what tips or hacks you use to get more stuff done. What works best for you? And don't forget to get your FREE Trello Guide!
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