Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to procrastinate less and get more done? It is for lots of people, particularly people who have busy lives with businesses, family, friends, homes, hobbies etc. If you’re trying to fit lots in, then you also what to cut the unnecessary out. Procrastination isn’t necessarily just Facebook browsing, online shopping and Buzzfeed sharing (but stop those if you want to be more productive), it’s also about cutting out the unnecessary.
- Get some sleep. Arianna Huffington is one of the biggest advocates for good sleep for productive business after she ran herself into the ground setting up the Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington has been interviewed on it endlessly, has spoken about it for TED talks and has written about it countless times. They reckon that sleep deprivation costs the US economy $63 billion every year, that’s a crazy amount of wasted revenue! A lack of sleep can affect you mentally and physically, but on this topic, it can make you less productive, so make sure you’re getting enough sleep every day.
- Turn off electronic devices. That may sound counterintuitive, especially when you need them for so many business activities, but trust me on this one. Firstly, it’s connected to the point above. For good sleep hygiene, you should switch off from all electronic devices an hour before you want to go to sleep. They overstimulate your brain and don’t give you the space to wind down into sleep mode. Also, don’t head straight for your emails when you wake up, make sure your body is prepared for a productive day ahead. Richard Branson recommends staying away from your emails as long as possible – get some exercise, eat something and work on some ideas in your head (on pen and paper) before you get bogged down in emails and the internet.
- Break up your time. It’s been proven that we are more productive if we break our time up and don’t try to sit down and focus for long periods of time. The Pomodoro technique is the most well-known method for this (and now you know the reason for the tomato picture!). It works by breaking your time into 25 minute bursts of focus, with a 5-minute break in between which you can use for making a drink, checking social media, stretching, whatever you need. Then, after every 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break and go for a walk, catch up with a friend, make and eat your lunch, basically refresh your brain. There are a number of apps you can get to help keep you on Pomodoro time.
- Get help. Not in a sinister way, but if there are tasks that you do that you’re not that efficient at, or cost more for you to do than for someone else, delegate! Get a PA, or a VA (virtual assistant), pay someone to do your bookkeeping, get someone to manage your social media, it’s all about capitalising your time so you are always working on things that are most productive for your business.
Have you got any other tips for productivity?