We all want to get more done in the day, but I’m sick to death of seeing the same old productivity advice on how to eek more out of my day by getting up early and get off social media! Boring! I’m looking for new hacks or perhaps unconventional productivity tips on how to get more done. Things that people perhaps don’t talk about so much, perhaps some left of centre productivity tips…
So, I decided to ask some of my networks for their secret productivity tips and tricks. I think you’ll agree, these are fantastically real – it’s incredibly interesting how we all work and get motivated differently.
I recently wrote an article on How To Work Less and Feel More Accomplished, but these tips here are different. They’re straight from the trenches and are things you can implement today…
Write By Speaking
Jenny from The Visibility Coach has an unconventional productivity tip for writing…
I use “voice to text” on my phone to write articles, email content and more. It’s saved me so much time. I absolutely love it. If you have a Samsung the voice memo app has this function and on iPhone I just use enable dictation, make a note in the notes app and share that in Evernote. I think most of us speak faster than we can type!!
Accountability and Counting Backwards
Karen from Jeunesse says;
To stay productive, I make myself accountable to someone that I have to “report back to each day”. Basically, I tell 1 or 2 individuals (that I consider to be my mentors) what transpired from my planned actions for the day. I use WhatsApp and send a message at the end of the day, saying how many new calls, follow ups, sales, and emails I sent.
Also, before I start to do my actions, I find it helps to count backwards from 5 (eg “5 4 3 2 1”) to get my mind ready to begin the task. It works most of the time!
(Note, this counting backwards strategy was introduced by performance coach, Mel Robbins. You can see her TED talk where she explains how it works and how she came to it here.)
Investing In Tools & Making Pockets Of Time Work
To be productive, I invest on the right tools – they are extension of your body! For me, my tools are a super fast and light laptop, wireless headsets, beautiful baby carriers and a standing desk. I bring my laptop with me when I drive my 7yo boy to classes (he is home schooled). So if for instance, he is doing 2 hour acting class, I sit in a coffee shop and work for 2 hours straight. Wireless headsets are handy when walking with my baby (1yo) for his morning nap – that’s when I do my calls and meetings! My standing desk works well too – when baby sleeps, I work (unfortunately his naps are getting shorter though!).
With these tools I can work wherever and whenever I find myself with a pocket of time. I’ve been working this way for the past year and I manage a team of 30 people!
Turning Goals Into Actions
Melinda from Moxxi Business Services says she uses;
Goal setting with small bite sized actions over a small period of time. I diarise my actions with dates and times (if possible) so they are your reminder at the start of each day. I also focus on the small actions as they will lead you to achieving the big, important things.
When I have a big goal I map it out ahead of time – sometimes into a quarterly business plan and then diarise the actions required. At the start of each day (or the night before) I look at the tasks to be done the next day and prioritise them and shift them around (if I know I can’t get them all done). I am pretty focused when working so tend to get a lot done in a short period of time.
Michelle is a Financial Planner and says she uses a similar approach;
I am old-school when it comes to goals and tasks.
I work out my goals and what tasks are associated with them, then I use my “day to a page” diary to list my to-do items. Every morning, I make a coffee and look at yesterday’s list to see if I missed anything, then what needs to be done today and tomorrow and prioritise them.
I find keeping a paper diary helps me to go back over things to see how long certain tasks took, contacts etc. I only really use my electronic diary for tracking appointment times with clients, but I do block out time to get certain tasks done. Turn off my email, put my mobile on silent and close the door to reduce interruptions. It’s what works for me!
Get Up Early (But For a Different Reason)
I like getting up super early (like 5am) because I can be damned sure if I’m up that time of day, I’m doing for a reason! You won’t find me faffing around on Facebook at that hour!
I also have a “busy work” list, which is the stuff I do when I’m procrastinating. Having to write it on a list is incredibly helpful as it makes me super conscious of my time wasting when I do it!
Batching Similar Tasks
Pauline is a business and success coach for online female entrepreneurs. She has more traditional approach – but keeps it simple;
I always plan my day the night before. And I make sure I block time for a group of similar tasks. Most importantly, I make sure that the really important things get done first ?
Get Your Mindset Right By Prioritising Health
My friend Frances is a sales coach and I have seen the way she prioritises wellbeing. She says;
My number one productivity tool is disciplined self care. I get up early every morning 5am or 5.30 to meditate and do some reading. This sets my mind up to manage the day for success.
Hire Staff or Contractors
Anita from Inner West Mums has a bigger picture view when it comes to productivity;
The most important thing is to be able to recognise when you need to hire staff and/or contractors so you don’t get stuck working in the business, and instead you free up time to focus on growing the business.
Eat Your Frogs!
Sharon Pakir is a business coach with two businesses, staff, 2 kids under 2 and she also travels about 20 times a year. Her methods work! So what are Sharon’s best productivity tips for getting more done?
Write a fresh task list every day – first thing in the morning. Be ruthless at completing 1-2 major things before doing anything else for anyone else (say yes to yourself before saying yes to others).
Work In 20 Minute Sprints
Sarah is a web designer and is also currently studying. Her approach is different and depends on her mood. She says;
I’m terribly lazy with no concentration. I have to set a timer for 20 minutes, put the phone down, and force myself to work solidly for that time. I then get up, make coffee, check Facebook, dance round my room, practice guitar, have a sing, have a nap, or eat some food… and then repeat the process.
Depending on the day, I can do 3-10 sessions like this per day!
Create A System For Rewarding Yourself
Christine is a friend, a founder at Open Inclusion, and an incredible sportswoman. Her productivity tips?
I work off a running to-do list in a paper notebook and I’m pretty rigorous with getting through my list. It’s not too hard for me to focus on the important things – partly because I treat the less important things as treats! I actually reward myself throughout the day by reading articles I’m interested in, attending to emails, watching TED talks, or listening to podcasts that are related to our business.
Fasting, Accountability and Giving Up News
And finally, some slightly unconventional productivity tips that I use are;
I make a rule that I can’t eat until I have my 2 most important things done for the day (usually between midday and 2pm). This saves me time because I’m not thinking about food (I do a few household chores while the kids are having their breakfast), and it also acts as a motivation to get those things done!
Don’t waste your time reading the news. I’d rather spend my downtime catching up with my networks than poring over newspapers. And if something big happens, I find out about it quickly anyway. A lot of people find it quite irresponsible to not be “keeping myself informed”, but I view it as freeing up time so that I can choose what I’m informed about. Most news is extremely negative too so I also don’t like getting brainwashed into thinking there’s mainly bad in the world!