We all have the same 24 hours, so why is it that some of us seem to have so much more time than others? As a Founder, you have a lot of freedom over your time, but with that freedom comes a lot of responsibility, i.e., you are the one making all the decisions about how to spend your time. Freedom to organise your time and day can be a blessing and sometimes a curse, especially when time management isn’t your strong suit. If you find yourself always running out of time and struggling to get things done, rest assured – you’re not alone! The good news is, there are ways to manage this and to improve. In this article, I discuss the importance of productivity, sharing with you some key tips that will not only help you save time but increase productivity, and enhance the quality of your productive time.
First, let’s look at the importance of productivity. As a business owner, it’s essential that you are productive because a business that isn’t productive won’t be in business for long. A business can’t exist without sales. Sales don’t happen without customers. And customers won’t come to your business if they can’t find you. So, you see, being productive is the key to your success. What is productivity? In a nutshell, it’s getting more done in less time. It’s being effective, not just efficient. If you are not being productive with the time that you have, then there is no way for you to accomplish all the tasks that need to get done.
Here are some key tips to help you focus and be more productive:
- Eliminate distractions – Do you do a lot of things that are not related to getting the task done? Do you check your Facebook, Twitter, and email first thing in the morning and during the day? Do you spend hours each week on social media, blogs, watching TV, shopping online, or playing games? Do you read magazines and newspapers when you should be working? Are you always surfing the web for new ideas for your business or for things to buy? All of those activities are distractions. They are not productive. They may be enjoyable in the moment, but they are not productive. So, eliminate them.
- Delegate – You can’t do it all yourself. You don’t have to. There is always someone out there that can do at least some of the things that you need to get done. Trust me, it’s better to have someone else do something for you than to do it yourself poorly. Don’t be afraid to delegate.
- Get organized – Do you have a system for getting organized? Is your email inbox organized? Are your files, folders, and documents organized? Is your desk organized? If you don’t have an organized system in place, then you won’t be able to find anything when you need it. You won’t be able to find a document that you need or a file that you need because they will not be where you expect them to be. And that means more time wasted trying to find them. Not only that, but others will not be able to find things when they need them. You want to be a more productive leader, right? Then get organized. Help others be more productive – you can’t just tell other people to be more productive. You must lead by example.
How to be a more productive leader – What does it take to be a more productive leader? You need to learn how to set goals, how to plan, how to organize, how to delegate, how to motivate, how to manage your time, and how to make decisions. This is leading by example and in doing so, setting your business up for success in the long term.
How to save time by using apps to work smarter – The average person spends 35 hours a week on their smartphone. You can do so much more with that time. Apps can help you be more productive, save time, and get more done. There are plenty of apps out there that can support you to maximise the quality of your productive time, some of these are: Mind42, Things, Todoist, Wunderlist, Google Docs and Evernote.
- Mind42: Mind42 is a mind mapping app. It lets you brainstorm new ideas, organise your thoughts, and express your ideas using pictures and words.
- Things: Things is the ultimate task management app. It helps you organise and get things done. With Things, every task, project, idea, or note is instantly captured and ready to be reviewed, organised and scheduled.
- Todoist: Todoist is a simple and elegant to-do list app that integrates with hundreds of apps and services so you can use it everywhere.
- Wunderlist: Wunderlist is a simple way to capture, organise and share the stuff you need to get done. Whether you’re sharing a grocery list with a loved one, working on a project, or planning a vacation, Wunderlist makes it easy to share your lists and collaborate with everyone in your life.
- Google Docs: Google Docs is a free word processor, spreadsheet and presentation program offered by Google. It allows users to create new documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.
- Evernote: Evernote is the easiest way to remember everything and get things done. Capture photos, notes, and information on the go with your phone or tablet.
How to save time by using gadgets – Using tech is a great way to help with productivity goals and to sideline distractions and streamline content. Here are a few handy tools that can get you started:
- IFTTT: If This Then That (also written as IF This Then That) is a free web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called “recipes,” which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox.
- Right Inbox: A simple way to get more done. With Right Inbox, you’ll never have to deal with spam or newsletters you don’t like again. Use it to automatically unsubscribe from unwanted e-mail lists and keep only the e-mails from people that you want to keep.
- Feedly: Feedly lets you read RSS feeds and blogs in a beautiful magazine layout. It’s the easiest way to keep up with your favorite sites.
Productivity is not only about working hard – it’s about working smart! And being more efficient with your time. There are so many ways to get started, with the first step being to minimise distraction, then to get savvy and check out the apps and tools that can work with you and not against.
Increasing productivity, and removing that overwhelmed feeling is very doable, but you do need to work at it. These are skills to hone. They are skills for life. For success. And a gamechangers in your day to day.