And a Few Productivity Hacks You Can Use Too!
Today is the first day of my kick-butt super-productive quarter. I’ve set myself some huge stretch goals for the next three months, and I aim to achieve every single one of them. The biggest stretch for me will be letting go of my hermit tendencies and really putting myself out there. It has to be done, because it doesn’t matter how productive I am behind the scenes, if no one knows about what I’m creating then, to be blunt, I don’t make no money.
Seriously, though, it’s not just about the money. It’s about the freedom money can bring… freedom from debt, freedom to move, to get a dog, and to finally start putting some long-held plans into action.
But first, Ruthie needs to learn how to be more productive. So to start off my quest, here are a few productivity hacks I’ll be putting into action over the next few months. (And who knows, maybe they’ll develop into lifelong productivity habits that will keep me going as I reach even higher!)
8 Productivity Hacks for Getting More Done
1. Figure out when you’re most productive
Knowing when you do your best work is one of the best ways to boost your productivity. For example, you might be at your best in the morning and a totally toasted in the afternoon. Or, if you’re like me, your creativity gear kicks into overdrive at about 10 p.m. and you work all night.
Whenever your best working time is, do your most important and challenging work then. You can always do the drudge work when you’re not as sharp mentally, or better yet, outsource it.
The great thing about being a solopreneur is that you get to create your own schedule. As long as you meet your client deadlines, you can organize your work in a way that plays to your strengths.
2. Use a timer
I’ve used this productivity hack for writing, but not really consistently or for anything else. The most popular form is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on one task for 25 minutes and then tale a 5-minute break. My preference is 30 minutes working, 10 minutes break so that I can get some cleaning or something physical done in between the writing/designing sessions.
3. Create your own deadlines
You set deadlines for getting work to clients (or drafts to editors as the case may be). Go one step further and set your own deadlines. Don’t be a “last minute Lena” and wait until deadline day to get things done. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress if you can organize yourself to get things done with plenty of time to spare before you have to deliver the goods.
4. Turn off phone notifications
This is one I can honestly say I’ve already mastered. It drives me nuts to hear my phone going off every few seconds. I love that I can just flip it over and have it automatically mute everything but the alarm so that I don’t have to worry about the latest drama of Facebook. Some days I go one further and just leave it in my bag so I don’t have to deal with it at all.
5. Only handle things once
This is one I need to work on. I’m great at putting things onto lists, or into piles and telling myself I’ll get to them later. One thing I’ll be working on doing is dealing with things as they come up… answering e-mails, dealing with bills, notes, etc.
6. Limit your social media time
It’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re surfing social media. This is one of those tasks that really needs a timer. Even when your business requires you to be on Facebook or other social sites, set time limits, get in, do the work, and get out. Save the actual socializing with your friends for your off hours.
A little word with such game-changing power. Stop with the multi-tasking. There are enough studies around now that show it’s much more effective to focus on a single task. The more you switch between tasks, the longer it takes your brain to recalibrate each time. It’s much better to stick with a single task until it’s complete. Then take a break, and move on to the next item on your list.
8. Make your to-do list the night before
Get in the habit of making your next day’s to-do list the last thing you do before you stop working for the night. It’s so much easier to sit down to an already prepared list and know what you have to get done than it is to start your morning with “I wonder what I should work on today.” (Believe me, I do this more often than is healthy, and it’s another one of those things I’ll be working on changing over these next few months.)
So these are the productivity habits I”ll be working on over the next little while as I ramp up production and work on achieving my goals. What about you? Which ones do you use on a regular basis, and which ones do you need to work on? Feel free to share in the comments below or in the Confidence and Creativity Community on Facebook.