We all know how it goes on busy days – we have an endless list of things we need to get done, and we can feel the pressure to achieve everything… yet we’re still sat on our bums scrolling through Instagram.
No matter how many times you tell yourself, ‘Just bloody get on with it!’, sometimes you need some tried and tested techniques to get you working.
It goes without saving that I love a good project management tool and I couldn’t live without Asana. It’s released some amazing new features recently such as Automated Workflows and Goal Setting. I also use Dubsado as my CRM and that has saved me SO much time when it comes to Client Onboarding & Client Management.
That said, there are still other techniques and tools that I use to help me stay productive and Asana & Dubsado alone won’t fix procrastination, distractions or the urge to put off tasks you hate.
So, here are our favourite go-to productivity hacks for when you’ve got to crack on.
1) The Pomodoro Technique
You’ve heard of this, you’ve considered it, but when did you last try it? Follow the simple formula of 25 minutes on, five minutes off and you’ll soon find the hours flying past in a way you actually want them to.
From experience, it’s sometimes easy to skip the five minutes off and keep going (), but try and stick to the breaks if you can to stretch your legs, grab a drink and take a break from your screen – it really does help.
Apps to try:
– PowerPom for Microsoft
– Zapier have also shared some other great recommendations in this blog.
2) Time blocking
Maybe your problem isn’t procrastination, but doing tasks at a time that doesn’t suit you (I know, it sounds like the worst excuse ever, right? But it’s a thing, trust me!). If your brain is more creative in a morning, and more admin-driven after lunch, try batching your tasks accordingly and see if your motivation changes as a result. More often than not, clients tell me that their energy levels are best in the mornings, so their schedule is set up to tackle a few hours of deep work first.
This is honestly one of my favourite ways to stay productive, particularly when you’re managing multiple projects or clients. For example, I know that if I start the day in my inbox, there’s a risk it can railroad my day. If I start by tackling one of my ‘top 3 priorities’ for the first hour of the day, I know I’m going to work on something that will move the business forward before distractions have a chance to kick in.
Apps to try:
– Sunsama – I’ve dabbled with this one and I think it is great!
– Motion – not one I’ve tried personally but I keep hearing people rave about it.
3) Virtual co-working
This is a trend that took off in lockdown, and some of us are still relying on it now. Virtual co-working creates the opportunity to join a live call with other remote workers, and use the shared space as accountability to get your head down.
STEPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL CO-WORKING SESSION
- Agree on a day/time and get it in the diary! I find 45min-90min is ideal.
- Start the zoom call by sharing your intentions for the session in the chat
- Leave your video on, but make sure everyone is on mute
- Depending on the length of the session, take a short 5min break if needed
- At the end of the session share what you managed to achieve so you can give each other a virtual pat on the back.
4) Accountability partners
Like the sound of virtual co-working but not so keen on the instant pressure? Pair up with someone else to check in with weekly or fortnightly and set your goals and intentions that you want to achieve between calls. You can use apps like Voxer or Slack for daily messaging to throw questions around when you need to (just don’t get side tracked and chat all day!).
Alternatively, you could get really snazzy and add a brief summary of your tasks to a shared project board in Asana/Trello so you can each see when you’re ticking things off the list!
5) Set app limits
Does your phone tell you how much screen time you use? Are you horrified by it? I was, and it really kickstarted a better habit of putting my phone down when I’m not using it productively. Set time limits on individual apps, or better still, restrict their use till after hours.
If you really struggle with tech addiction, particularly checking your phone or certain apps obsessively – consider taking a social media break, delete problem apps, put your phone in another room or even put it in a mobile phone jail if you need added intervention!
6) Eat that frog
Sounds appetising, right? Just like the tasks you hate that you keep putting off! Often, they take far less time than we imagine, and we wonder why we put them off for so long.
If you try to dive in to the tasks you hate first, and eat that frog, you’ll feel a hit of endorphins that will help you whizz through the rest of your To-Do list on a high and it will ALL seem magically less daunting as a result.
7) Share the pain
I want to share a link to Episode 20 of the very wonderful and very funny Doing It For The Kids podcast because it’s all about procrastination & well worth a listen. For both the tips shared and the lols of course.
Remembering there are wonderful communities out there of likeminded business owners, all struggling with the same things doesn’t make your tasks any easier, but it does make you feel less alone, and that’s a win. Essentially the message here is ‘just get on with it’. Because nothing is truer than that, at the end of the day.
But don’t overdo it…
There’s a saying, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything”.
Far too often, we put pressure on ourselves to reach the end of our To-Do list (which is already longer than we’d like), and all we achieve is burnout. We don’t need to be a slave to our inbox to be good at what we do. Remove any false expectations you’re putting on yourself and decide what’s important.
For lots of us, our health comes fairly low down the list, once we’ve sorted work and life tasks, but remembering to drink and eat well will not only help keep your brain and body in check for getting through everything else, it will help you play the long game too. There’s no reason for overdoing it now, only to suffer later because we couldn’t make time to eat some damn fruit.
Get yourself a water bottle with hour markers on it (and actually drink it), get outside for some fresh air, and get to sleep at a sensible time. It might not be your number one choice today, but it’s tomorrow that counts.
And if you’re still struggling, or just want to offload…
Doing everything doesn’t have to be your only option. Outsourcing the bits of your business that others can support you with is the quickest and easiest way to free up your time to do what you do best – and often, the bits that you actually want to do.
Talk to me about how I could help today. Book in for a discovery call to chat about your options.