How to Increase Productivity (without losing your marbles)
Many small business owners define the success of their day, week or month by their level of productivity. They measure their overall achievements by the pound, muscling through hunger and even the most stressful situations, all in the name of “getting it done.”
If this is you, then you know how miserable this kind of approach to productivity can be! But you need to get things done, right? Of course you do. But there is a way to accomplishment tasks and goals and feel good – even invigorated – while you do it.
Take frequent breaks
Taking breaks may feel like cheating or being lazy, but it’s actually the best way to increase your overall productivity. Your brain functions best for two hours at a time. Being in “the zone” for any longer than that results in what we like to call Brain Fry. The more you keep pushing to finish that report, answer those emails or demystify your PPC campaign, the more difficult those tasks become.
Take 15 minutes per two hours to step away from your computer, walk outside, do some deep breathing, or enjoy a few minutes of meditation. This gives your brain time to subconsciously figure out all of the unanswered questions that have popped up throughout your day. If you work from home, washing the dishes or preparing lunch is a great way to spend your break!
Do one thing at a time
Sure, you may have 47 things on your to-do list, but how many of them can you actually do at one time? The answer is simple, but few people realize it: you can only successfully complete ONE task at a time!
When your attention is divided between email, the phone ringing, and other people asking you questions, it’s practically impossible to be truly productive. You have to give yourself a space in which to focus. In this case, increased productivity doesn’t mean doing less, but dividing your attention between fewer things.
If you have a specific task to complete, like developing a new marketing plan or preparing this year’s taxes, put aside a set amount of time in which to do so. During that time, close any browsers that may distract you, like Facebook, email and Google Analytics.
If you’re feeling antsy or distracted, commit to sitting in front of the task at hand for the time you’ve assigned it. Doing this will also encourage you take care of other odds and ends before diving into a bigger project.
Set realistic goals
Sure, it’d be nice if you finished everything on your to-do list by 11:30a.m., but is that honestly going to happen? Setting lofty goals that no human in their right mind could conceivably achieve just makes you feel like a loser when you fall short.
Give yourself a break, and set reasonable, achievable goals. When you give yourself tasks that can actually be accomplished, and then accomplish them, you feel more productive. And when you feel great about what you’re doing, you’re that much more likely to get more done!
How do you measure your day’s productivity?
photo credit: agbeat.com