Being productive can be so much easier said than done. With a ridiculous amount of unread emails and an overwhelming to-do list, you may not even know where to start. Trust us, we completely understand! We are so excited to have Sam Bell of Brand IT Girl with us today to share her top 5 productivity secrets. Through time management and productivity, you don’t have to be stressed about your growing number of lists anymore! Without putting things off anymore, you will realize that being productive isn’t as hard or time consuming as you may think. Check out Sam’s top 5 secrets below:
I am known for getting things done. Time management and productivity is not only one of my passions, it’s something that I have learned and actively work towards every day. That’s the first secret of productivity that people who are ‘good at it’ don’t tell you – you actually have to work at being a productive person. My name is Sam Bell and I am chief creative over at Brand IT Girl. Today I am so excited to be sharing my top 5 productivity secret with everyone here at Best Friends For Frosting!
In a fast paced, noisey world productivity is like that mystical unicorn that everyone seems to be seeking. There are so many apps and gadgets that promise productivity but your mind set and how you use your time is more important than having all the latest technology. Let me share with you the perfect combination of mind set, time management and technology:
1. The Two Minute Rule.
If you can do a task in 2 minutes, do it straight away. Being overwhelmed is a killer and just think how much of your brain power is used processing tasks that need to be completed and then putting them aside just to come back later and process the task all over again. You can literally halve the time and energy you spend on small tasks by quickly assessing if you can complete it within 2 minutes. Things like replying to an email can be done in under two minutes, so why add them to the to-do list when you could easily do it now!
One of my favorite productivity secrets is to batch process similar tasks. This is particularly good when it comes to writing blog posts or sorting out your social media scheduling. Start a little list of what you would like to achieve and give yourself an hour to complete it. Setting a timer can make sure you are not getting carried away! Actually crossing tasks of the list will help you to feel like you are achieving something and batching similar tasks together will improve your concentration as you are able to immerse yourself in the task at hand. This will reduce distractions and increase the quality of the work you are producing.
3. Use Evernote.
So you are like 99.9% of other ladies and often find yourself surrounded by lists, scraps of paper with ideas, tasks, and things to remember, written down in furious scribbles. You have a planner (or two) and notebooks and things everywhere! You are also a busy girl, always on the move. Sound familiar? Well, if you haven’t used Evernote, let me introduce you to this game changer. You can access Evernote on all your devices, including your smartphone, and you can create multiple notebooks and notes to organize your lists, your tasks, your reminders, and even jot down ideas for blog posts and business plans while you are on the go! It’s such an easy, intuitive app to use and it syncs across your devices for ease and increased productivity. Best thing is, the basic Evernote is free!
4. Streamline Your Inbox.
Your email inbox should not be a source of stress or lost productivity. There are simple ways that you can streamline your inbox to make it work for you. I have three productivity tips that you can start using now:
– Have set times that you check your emails. There are lots of different opinions regarding what time of the day you should or shouldn’t check your email. It’s a personal choice, but often people like to check their inbox in the morning, at midday, and in the afternoon before finishing up for the day. Planning your email checking times will help to prevent you getting distracted and will ultimately save you time.
– Use canned email responses. Canned email responses are super handy because you can draft emails that you send often and just insert the pre-written email in when necessary. This saves you time by eliminating the tendency to repeat yourself. It also helps with business consistency as your responses are always the same on a given topic.
– If you are using Gmail (and I am sure there are equivalents for other email services) you should be using Streak. You can access Streak by going into your Gmail Settings > Labs > Enable Streak. This allows you to track conversations by categorizing them in boxes. These boxes can then be placed into Pipelines which are like a project management system. An example of a Pipeline could be ‘Custom Jobs’ and within this would be several stages of the custom job process: ‘lead’, ‘contacted’, ‘pitched’, ‘negotiating’, ‘won – in progress’, and ‘closed’. It helps you see what stage a certain project is in and what needs to be done.
5. Set Yourself 3 Goals
It’s tempting to have a goal list the size of your arm. Busy girls like us always want to get more done and fit more in. It’s no wonder, that given we love writing lists, we end up with something completely overwhelming. Numerous studies show that we, humans, can successfully complete 3 goals a day with high quality levels and while maintaining positive mental and emotional health. If you can take the time first thing in the morning to prioritize 3 tasks and focus on achieving them before you tackle anything else, you will feel a sense of calm. You’ll be in control and most importantly, you will actually succeed in what you set out to do!