Essential Productivity Tips | Part 1
1. Wake up Early OR Go to Bed Late
This is a personal preference, and there is no rule that says you must get up early in the morning to be productive. You goal is to achieve as much as you can in the time that you have. So if you are a morning person and can get up at the crack of dawn and be effective, then you can organize accordingly to attack activities and tasks such as exercise, checking e-mail, reading or writing. On the other hand, if you’re a night person, you may push you reading, email and even exercise to later in the day (although I’m not an advocate of exercising late at night). Experiment with what works for you, after all, everything we do is an experiment until we fall into a habit.
2. Work on One Thing at a Time
I’m shaking my head as I write this, as I was always an advocate of the importance of being able to multi-task. I have learned from experience that despite having multiple tasks or projects to complete, you cannot effectively work on multiple things at the same time and deliver the same quality. Sure, you’ll deliver, but had you focused exclusively on a deliverable and completed it, the likelihood is the quality will be of a higher grade. It’s not always possible, but I try to make it a guiding principle.
3. Prioritize Your Activities
Expanding on number (2), it essential that you develop a system to prioritize the productivity your work and activities. Typically you’ll assign an importance level to something, other times it will be based on what can you deliver quickly in order to achieve some quick wins. Once again, try to approach this one task at a time rather than trying to accomplish on multiple streams in parallel.
4. Break Projects into Bite-size Chunks
This is project management 101. In order to deliver a project, you need to break the work down into manageable units of work (commonly referred to as WBS or work-breakdown structure), with the caveat that the work be broken down logically to create useable deliverables in a timely manner. Whether you’re building a new home, designing an app, or writing a blog post, this guiding principle is applicable. Doing this will allow you measure progress and reap the benefits of your work iteratively versus waiting until the very end. When you look at a blog post, for example, here is a typical work breakdown structure. As you can see, the project of writing a blog post is broken down into several distinct activities or tasks:
- Brainstorm subject to write about
- Research subject
- Develop an initial draft post
- Virtual Assistant to Proof and Edit
- Review final draft
- Upload to WordPress control panel
- Publish post
- Distribute to social media network
- Review and respond to Post comments
5. Outsource When You Can
As you know, I’m a strong advocate of outsourcing. Outsourcing can be applied to your work as well as your personal life. Outsourcing should not be confused with simply cost savings (e.g they can do it cheaper than I or my team can). Outsourcing is also a means to improve time to market, lower or reassign your risk, or improve quality in engaging specialists or experts. As an example, I outsourced the webmaster function of my website to someone. I could certainly do it myself, but it would have taken me considerably more time and final product would likely have been of a lower quality. I hired an expert who was able to deliver the site in a fraction of the time I could and I hope you agree with the results. So, when you take on a task or project, consider whether it is a candidate for outsourcing every time.