Hustle through 2018 #LikeABoss with our #ProductivityHacks

December 17, 2017

 

As 2017 comes to a closure, it's the time of the year people look at what they can do better in 2018.

 Productivity tends to be a common New Years Resolution, as there is always room to improve one's productivity and life balance. 

 

 

Here are 27 productivity tips to begin 2018 right.

 

 

1. Control your calendar

If you work in an environment where everyone can view your outlook or Google calendar it can be convenient but also cause problems if you don't take control of your time. Empty spaces allow others to take it as an opportunity to schedule meetings, even if you planned to use that 'space' for other tasks (emails, WIP, calls). A good idea is to block out time in your diary for these kinds of jobs. This way you won't be disrupted by another meeting request. 

 

2. Turn off smartphone notifications 

It's not always practical to completely turn off your phone, although managing your notifications is. Pop ups are distracting and pull your attention away from your task at hand. 

 

3. Schedule email time
Email popup notifications are another notorious concentration-breaker, so giving in to every alert is guaranteed to take a chunk out of your day. Don't let email over rule your day, turn  popup notifications off and  then back to hack number 1, schedule time in your day specifically for email. Then, unless you are waiting on something critical, ignore emails for the rest of the time. 

 

 

 

4. Cut meeting times by 25 percent.

While meetings can be necessary to your business, they have a nasty habit of expanding to fit the available time slot given.  To avoid the meeting version of scope creep, cut the time by 25 percent. You'll tackle the important topics but be less likely to have unnecessary discussions. Those extra conversations don't provide value. And, if getting together in person isn't completely vital, consider eliminating the meeting entirely. Your staff will thank you.

 

5. Don't sit, consider stand-up meetings.
When people settle into a chair, they're likely to get comfortable. If things need to progress quickly, embrace a stand-up format, forgoing chairs completely. This keeps people from settling in and encourages them to get to the point and move on with their day.

 

6. Embrace automation.
In today's technological world, there are many options for automating processes, such as emails and proposal or quote delivery. If there's a task you can automate, look into it. It can shrink your to-do list significantly. Zapier is a great tool to connect your apps and automate workflows. 

 

7. Unsubscribe and unfollow.
If a newsletter, Facebook, instagram or twitter feed isn't providing you with value anymore, then unsubscribe or un-follow stat! There is nothing better then the feeling of a clutter free inbox and newsfeed. You will save so much time from deleting unread emails and scrolling through all those Facebook cat memes. 

 

Repeat this process weekly or monthly or ultimate effect. 

 

8. Have a "no"/ I don't do that strategy.
Saying yes to every task leaves you overwhelmed, but saying no can be its own source of stress release. To make saying no easier, create a strategy in advance, including email templates or scripts, to simplify the conversation. This will decrease the amount of time you spend in the discussion while ensuring your point gets across effectively. 

In your personal life, it is impossible to say 'yes' to every single invitation and this is when the "I don't do that' strategy works like a treat for example "I don't do dinner parties", "we don't do black tie events".  No explanation needed with this strategy. 

 

9. Two words: Dual Screens
Having two full-size computer screens is incredibly beneficial, especially if you need to refer to a report while creating a document, or any other resource plus activity combination. The larger screens make text easier to read, and the dual monitors prevent constant switching between pages or applications, making it worth the investment.

 

Beware once you invest in dual screens you won't be able to go back to a single screen. 

 

 

10. Ignore the news.

Trying to keep up with the news is essentially impossible, allowing it to generally function as a time sink. Let's face it, there is rarely any GOOD news, plus it can be trivial and even unreliable, and isn't necessarily great for your brain. Do yourself a favor and ditch the onslaught of news that can easily take over your life. It's worth it.

 

 

11. Learn the keyboard shortcuts.
Learning keyboard shortcuts will change your life! They're incredible timesavers and are available in almost every program. 

 

12. Get up early & exercise 

Get up and #GETITDONE nice and early. You are more likely to stick to your daily exercise routine if you smash it out in the morning rather than passing up an evening work out for dinner with friends instead. Exercising in the morning will also clear the mind and get you motivated for the day ahead. Plus, you have accomplished more than the average person before 8am. 

 

 

13. Put time-sucking websites in time out.
If you find yourself losing time to sites that aren't essential for work (and use a Mac), consider blacklisting them for periods using the SelfControl app. Websites you add to the list will be automatically blocked for the selected time, ensuring you can't distract yourself with your hunt for a perfect unicorn meme to share with your friends.

Windows users can try similar applications, like StayFocusd for Chrome or Cold Turkey for additional controls.

 

14. Tackle must-dos first.
While it seems like common sense, many people forgo certain must-dos in favor of more straightforward, though less critical, tasks. But this can leave you scrambling if you don't allow for enough time to get the work done. To break the cycle, always start with essential projects first, no matter what. You'll thank yourself for your diligence come the afternoon.

 

15. Take on two-minute tasks second.
Small tasks can make your to-do list seem insurmountable. So, to pare things down, after handling your must-dos, head straight to your quick tasks. You'll get to check items off your list, which is rewarding in its own right, and make the rest of your day feel less encumbered by minutiae.

 

16. Get into a groove.
Whenever possible, group like tasks together. When your brain is already engaging in a particular way, use it to your benefit by focusing on similar activities in rapid succession.

 

17. Know when to delegate and outsource.
Most business owners want to keep everything in their hands, but this can leave you overwhelmed and overloaded. Learn which tasks truly require your input and which can be handled by properly skilled professionals. Once you split up the work, delegate or outsource quickly so people can get started on their to-do lists.

 

18. Don't neglect professional development.
Regardless of your position, there is always more to learn. Professional development helps you acquire new skills and perspectives, letting you be more effective. If a new competency allows for a higher level of productivity, then work to gain it.

 

You can take a class or explore free resources online, depending on your schedule, so make a commitment to learning something new today.

 

19. Stop multitasking.

Ultimately, multitasking is a myth that many of us fall for at some point. Instead of dividing your attention and rapidly switching between activities, commit your focus to the task at hand and you'll see your productivity rise.

 

20. Check in with yourself.
At least once a week, check in with yourself by assessing how you're feeling, and then make plans to remedy any negative emotions that may be lingering. Self-care is important for productivity, so don't continually neglect yourself in the name of getting more done at the office.

 

21. Don't fixate on where you start.
When people begin a project, they often default to starting at the beginning. But if you're stuck, don't be afraid to abandon the introduction and instead focus on another segment. Sometimes, it's easier to start in the middle of a document, or even at the end, so don't restrict yourself to a particular order if it just isn't working.

 

22. Use templates.
If you are repeatedly creating the same documents, you're wasting time. Instead, create or download templates for your most commonly used formats and content types. Then you can simply start with a template instead of reinventing the wheel.

 

23. Save, save, save.
When working on a document hit the Save button as often as possible. While many programs have autosave features, the delays can be quite long. To preserve your work, make a habit of saving after every key point.

You can click the icon or use a keyboard shortcut to get the job done, either of which only takes a second. But, if it saves you from having to rewrite paragraphs of information, it's worth it.

 

 

 

24. Check in with yourself.
At least once a week, check in with yourself by assessing how you're feeling, and then make plans to remedy any negative emotions that may be lingering. Self-care is important for productivity, so don't continually neglect yourself in the name of getting more done at the office.

 

25. Get everything you can out of Excel.
Microsoft Excel is everywhere, and most people encounter it regularly during their career. But few people are truly Excel power users. In as little as an hour, you can learn to use advanced features such as pivot tables, graphing, and vlookups, all of which give you access to business analytics capabilities that help you visualize data in just minutes, which are capabilities that shouldn't be ignored.

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