Boost Productivity at Work and at Home
At the end of another frantic day I’d reach for a glass of wine wondering where the time had gone. I’d leapt from task to task trying to convince myself I was ‘multi-tasking’, but generally I was only half finishing a dozen things and not actually achieving anything. I felt like I was a crap mum, a crap wife, and a crap ‘mumpreneur’!
I used to start every week with my optimistic to-do list, but it seemed that weeks, months and even years went by and I hadn’t crossed some of those things off. I needed to boost productivity at work and at home if I was ever going to live the life I chose and reach the BHAGs I’d set (Big Hairy Audacious Goals!).
So, things changed; I started implementing some of the great advice I’d read the last few years (and it worked). Much like when I coach those trying to improve their health and fitness, it’s all about small changes done consistently. On weeks when I stick to these tips I feel great, but life is life and it doesn’t always work, so my advice is – DON’T GIVE UP. Don’t wait till the next Monday, next new moon or next New Year if you wander off track or want to start something new, just get going again as soon as you can – how about NOW?
Here’s my top 10 ways to boost productivity at work and they also work for the home and ‘life’ in general.
I reckon this is one of the most important tips. STOP trying for perfection. IMHO – there no such thing as perfect as we all perceive it differently! Just aim for imperfect action and you will get more stuff done. I love the book Failing Forward by John C Maxwell, keep taking action and learning.
Whether it’s planning weekly meals, planning exercise or planning a project, break it down and write it down. Get it written down and put it in your diary/planner. I’ve been the master of winging it, which is why so many of my dreams were still just dreams and not reality – thats changing 🙂 This kind of discipline is not easy, and it’s a book in itself, but plan the work, then work the plan. There’s mountains of apps and stuff, but I’m still a bit old fashioned – I have a menu chart and a daily & weekly productivity planner (my training is online though!).
Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents P**s Poor Performance!
The 7 P’s from my military days!
Sleep Well and Get Up Early
I used to be such a night owl, but since reading the fabulous book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I have turned my days around. I followed his 6 steps for months before evolving my own routine. Now I get up at about 0550am and get an hour of ‘me’ time before the kids get up for school. Whatever you choose to do in that time, prep it the night before to ensure that’s what you concentrate on when you wake up. Hal recommends 10 mins each of Silence (meditation), Affirmations, Visualisation, Reading, Journalling and Exercise. But whether you choose to write, run, read or reflect, set the stage the night before. This means I am generally going to bed pretty soon after the kids, but rather than spending a night vegging in front of the TV or facebook, I get sh1t done in the morning and feel great (and a bit smug!) for it.
Drink more water
As a health coach, I can honestly say, this single piece of advice has seen the best ‘bang for your buck’ results in many of my clients. Coupled with drinking less caffeine, more water will help you feel more energised, sleep deeper, help with concentration and reduce blood pressure – that should boost productivity at work and at home! This article from Breaking Muscle says it all..
No-one can multi-task really – not even us women! Multi-tasking is NOT a ‘life-skill’ that increases productivity, its a drain on our brain that decreases it. We can only actually do one thing at a time despite having lots of things ‘on the go’. Make a habit of focussing on and completing one task at a time.
Take regular breaks
We all know we should take a break every hour, but do you actually do it? Working for long periods without a break will result in a steady decline in performance. I encourage everyone to #Giveit10 – try 10 deep breaths away from your computer every hour, 10 squats or walk up and down a flight of stairs 10 times to really get your creative juices flowing again!
Turn off notifications
Humans are pleasure seekers and we get a little hit of dopamine (the brains chemical messenger responsible for reward and pleasure) when we hear that ‘ping’ – we just can’t resist seeing what it is! Once interrupted, it can take at least 10 mins to get back in to your flow and that’s only if we are not distracted totally by starting on someones else’s agenda. Turn off all notifications and only read e-mails once or twice a day if you want to boost your productivity at work.
Politely decline a meeting you know will take forever, say No to office gossip, say No to coffee and cake, say No when you are asked to take on an extra job, say No to helping out at school (it’s always the same faces helping, but you must be strong if you have ‘you’ to work on). I’m not saying don’t get involved if you want to, but if you have work to do and goals to reach you need to ask the question:
“Will this take me towards my goals, or away from them?”
Use ‘dead’ time
When you are commuting, or waiting in the car to collect your kids, or waiting in the wings at kids parties or sports clubs, don’t stand gossiping, or cruising facebook or watching random youtube vids – listen to an audio book, work out, learn a new skill online (I’ve got some awesome resources for anything from building websites and blogging to self improvement and mindset) or plan (see point 2). I’m not saying don’t socialise, just be aware when you could be doing something more productive if you have goals to reach!
OK, yes I had to have exercise in here! Aim for at least 3, 30 min sessions a week of strength based activity and watch your productivity soar. Even 3, 10 minute sessions through the day can make a tremendous difference. I could write a book on the physiology and psychology behind this, but trust me – a healthy body leads to a healthy, more focussed and productive mind. The time spent training will easily be recouped!
I hope my 10 ways to boost your productivity at work or at home has given you a few nuggets to think about.
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(I’m always looking to improve – if’ you didn’t find this useful, let me know too!)
Yours in health, growth and happiness,
Health and Business Coach