Time is money. We’ve all heard that before, right? But what does that mean, exactly? Well, the more you can get done, the more you can earn. If you waste your time, you get less done, which in turn leads to lower earnings. Increased productivity doesn’t mean you should go around doing everything as quickly as possible. On the contrary, you should still take the time to do quality work. Let’s examine how this works.
What is Increased Productivity?
You can learn some really fancy ways to calculate productivity, but I don’t really find this necessary. Increased productivity does not mean you rush and do things halfway. It just means that you can get more done with the same amount of resources. In other words, you optimize the available resources to produce the highest quality work in the least amount of time.
Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of this concept. A business that doesn’t achieve what it needs to by the necessary deadlines will fail. In particular, those who run businesses completely on their own tend to understand the importance of mastering productivity.
You’ve probably heard all kinds of strategies for improving productivity. I’m not going to rehash the easy ones, like optimizing your workspace and finding the time of day that works best for you. Here are a few facts, however, that you may not have heard:
To sum up:
- Get enough sleep.
- Music plays a part. (Get it? Music PLAYS? Ok, never mind.)
- Productivity decreases the longer you work.
- The right background noise makes a difference.
I can attest to the music thing. A little while ago, the Bluetooth speaker and my phone decided they didn’t like each other anymore. It was suddenly silent. I thought, “No big deal! I can certainly still get stuff done.” Well, I was wrong. There I was, staring at the computer screen being decidedly UNproductive. Found a different speaker, hooked it up, and I was motoring along again.
My Favorite Increased Productivity Hacks
1. Turn off Notifications
I cannot emphasize this enough. Distractions from email, texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all.the.things absolutely derail your progress. I keep my phone on because it’s the emergency number for both my kids. However, that’s it. When I work on a project or blog post, all other notifications go out the window.
2. Reduce Browser Tabs
Ever have too many browser tabs open? Me too. When this happens, I find myself clicking from one to another with no real direction. Keep open ONLY those you absolutely need to do the project at hand. Many of the tools I use are web based, so I used to have tons of tabs open all the time. I found a great tool called Drift (affiliate link) that self contains email and most of the other tools I use into one application. Since I started using that, I often have no more than 2 or 3 browser tabs open.
3. Automate Everything you Can
And I mean everything. If you haven’t learned about marketing automation, now is the time. This offers increased productivity with email, but so many other tools exist, as well. I use Zapier to automate all kinds of tasks. For example, when I add something to tasks from Gmail, I have a zap set up that automatically creates a card on my Trello to do list.
4. Map Out Your Time
This was seriously a game changer for me. I’m a work-at-home mom, so I have a limited amount of time in a day while the kids are at school. In order to help with this, I’ve started sitting down at the beginning of each day and scheduling tasks before I get started. Blocking out time on my daily calendar not only tells me what I’m going to do that day, but when I’m going to do it. I know exactly what I should get done during each hour and pace myself accordingly. If I miraculously get ahead of schedule, I have “backup tasks” that I can add. If you tend to keep your to-do list on Trello like I do, Planyway provides a great tool to do that. Just install the Chrome extension and start planning away! The free account should more than meet your needs.
5. Find the Increased Productivity Tools that Work for You
Everyone approaches productivity differently, so the productivity tools that work for me may not be your favorite. No big deal! Find what works for you and use them to your heart’s desire. In fact, I recently decided that my Fitbit is one of my favorite productivity tools. It reminds me not to be glued to my chair and to get up and move every hour. Every time I do, I sit back down with a renewed mindset, ready to work.
If you haven’t figured it out, I may be a little obsessed with productivity. Really, I have no choice. Since I am a mom running a business from home, I basically have multiple full time jobs. Consequently, my business depends on me doing the absolute best work I can in the least amount of time. Productivity is a necessity, not a luxury. So figure out how you can have increased productivity, and keep swimming along!