If you could choose one:
Would you want more hours in your day?
Get more done in the time you already have?
I connect with dozens of female entrepreneurs and mompreneurs in my work, and almost everyone asks for strategies to boost productivity. They report that they feel lost, undirected, unfocused, overwhelmed, and confused.
Can you relate?
That was me, too, a year ago.
By the time I dropped off my kids at school, straightened up the kitchen from their breakfast bonanza, and sat down to work – I had about five hours left for me. I often felt lost. I worked reactively, rather than proactively. It felt like I was always behind the eight ball or throwing together a blog or email to my tribe the day after I needed it. I worked on eight projects a day rather than focusing on my top 3 priorities.
And most of all, I just didn’t know exactly what I was working towards… which made it really hard to get there.
So I had to find a way to maximize my time and pump up my productivity.
While there are countless productivity strategies you can employ, today I’m sharing 14 strategies that have pumped up my own productivity and helped me maximize the windows of time I have to work each day.
Trust me, you don’t want to operate that way for one. more. day. It’s no good; it’s stressful. And you deserve better.
So read on to learn my favorite strategies for pumping up productivity and see how you transform your goals, projects and schedule into one that feels streamlined and successful.
Setting big picture goals for the year – and smaller goals throughout – this ensures that you know where you’re heading. Then, it’s easy to make business decisions by assessing that they are in alignment with those core goals.
And if they’re not?
LEARN TO SAY NO
Everything you do should contribute to reaching your goals. So if someone asks you to contribute to their project, or an organization asks you to do a project that’s outside of your wheelhouse, or a friend asks you to “just help her out,” ask yourself: “Is this activity going to get me closer to that goal?” And if not, give yourself permission to say no.
CREATE A “TODAY” LIST
Having one short list of today’s priorities will help you focus on just those things, rather than being distracted by #allthethings throughout your day that are within the scope of fulfilling your bigger picture goals.
Create your “today” list the night before, so you can get to work quickly the next morning. And then, keep yourself focused only on those tasks.
MANAGE A PARKING LOT
It’s natural that you’ll come across something that you want to explore further on the internet, have an idea that you don’t want to forget, or inspiration that you gathered at a Meetup or workshop.
For all of those things, take 3 seconds to add them to your “parking lot.” Mine is just a running list of ideas that I organize by category and can go back to later. By managing a “parking lot,” you’ll reduce the temptation to jump into that research or project at a time that would take you away from your primary focus, and you’ll take comfort in knowing that the notes are there and won’t be lost.
AUTOMATE & BATCH YOUR PROJECTS
Essentially, automating and batching is about working smarter not harder. Both of these system-enhancing techniques have freed up so much of my time and boosted my productivity dramatically.
By batching tasks or projects that you do regularly, you group together activities that make sense and lead to greater efficiency. It will help you remain focused and enable you to reduce bouncing around between tasks.
And by setting up automations for your social media accounts, you will maintain a consistent presence, while limiting the amount of time you actually have to spend on each account during the week.
I use time-blocking to batch projects at the same time each week or month (ie. content development, setting up social media posts, managing administrative tasks, reporting, returning client calls, etc.).
There have been so many studies around multi-tasking, and I think the gist is that you’re less productive when you try to do too many things at once. Just focus.
By remaining focused on the task-at-hand, you’ll get more done which will fuel your energy – because the process of checking things off a list feeds productivity and your sense of success.
USE THE 2-MINUTE RULE
If a task takes 2 minutes or less to complete, just do it. Right then and there. If calling that client back is going to take less than 2 minutes, do it now. If you run out of sticky notes, add it to your list now. If you read an incoming email and it will take less than 2 minutes to repond, just do it.
When your work space or inbox is overflowing with stuff, it’s much harder to focus. So toss or process that stack of papers, keep your supplies in organized containers and keep your spaces clutter-free. You’ll notice that your mind is more free, too.
Create shortcuts in your business when possible. In my business, I have created a list of Facebook groups in which I want to remain active and on what days each allows promo posting. That way I’m not bounding all over Facebook each day looking to find out where I can post my latest content.
Another activity that I shortcut is by using Canva’s resize tool. I can create one image (say, for a blog) and then use the resize tool to magically create that same image in five different formats. It really is magical! And it saves me so much time because I don’t have to know the specs for each social media platform. And there are other ways as well!
Think about your own business structure and the kinds of shortcuts you may be able to utilize to save time.
SET TIMES TO CHECK EMAIL & SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Have you ever had one of those days when you bounced around between your inbox and social media accounts? Like, back-and-forth… and then again? Answering emails the moment they come in isn’t the most productive way to manage your inbox.
I suggest setting times to check email and social media accounts throughout the day to reduce the amount of bouncing around. How would it feel to check once in the morning, once at lunchtime, and once before you wrap up your day?
And on that note…
TURN OFF ALERTS
The constant dinging alerts are such a huge distraction so just turn them off.
If you’re a blogger, use a content or blog creation template, use email templates for form responses, draft templates for your client on-boarding process. Wherever you can use templates to reduce duplication of work, do so.
Investing time into caring for your mind and body feeds greater levels of productivity too. It feels like a crunch to fit it in, but it pays off dramatically over time. Drink lots of water. Get good sleep. Exercise in the morning. Eat a well-rounded breakfast.
SET IT UP SUNDAY!
Spend 15 minutes on Sunday prepping for a productive week. Identify your key priorities and outline Monday’s tasks so you’re ready to hit the ground running when you start your day and week.
Utilize any or all of these ways to pump up your productivity, and you’ll see massive shifts in the way your workday unfolds.
Rachel Lubchansky is an entrepreneur, #COBossMama, eternal optimist, and creator of REL Impact. Her mission is to help talented and passionate women create businesses that allow them to live the life they’ve always dreamed of through her Business Bootcamp and 1:1 customized coaching and consulting. Rachel is passionate about empowering women with the tools, skills, and support they need to save them frustration, time, and money in their business-building journey.