Time is something we could all use a little more of, and preferably without having to wake up at 4AM to get a jumpstart on our day. Wouldn’t it be great if we could be more productive, more engaged, more committed to our work without giving up our mornings, nights and weekends? Here are five productivity hacks that will help not only the entrepreneurs out there, but many other business professionals struggling to juggle their responsibilities in and out of the office.
- If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it!: We sometimes find ourselves hanging onto emails in our inbox that are quick-turn requests that will inevitably be put off for hours if not days. Those items can wear on you mentally, especially as they start to add up. Once every four hours, right before lunch and right before you leave for the day, mark off those easy-to-do items. Yes, this means scheduling but when push comes to shove, this will leave you with less mental wear and more focus on the higher priority items.
- Take time to plan and prioritize work: Being productive takes some up-front commitment to ensure you’re firing on all cylinders. Demonstrating discipline by planning and prioritizing your work is a one-time deal that will pay off ten-fold down the line. Making lists, prioritizing certain project categories and using technology solutions such as Simpleology.com to keep you on track are great ways to keep your mind on the task at hand.
- Schedule time for email: Consumer of all things time, email is the number one pain point of many professionals. But it doesn’t have to be. Just like you will start to plan and prioritize your workload, plan and prioritize email by scheduling specific time to review and reply to email. If you’re using a program like Microsoft Outlook, let it do the heavy lifting so you don’t get bogged down when you spend time working on email. For example, you can setup rules in Outlook to direct messages from certain people or that contain certain words/phrases into specific sub-mailboxes. The goal here is to work smarter, not harder, and if technology can make life easier while maximizing productivity, why not give it a try!
- Delegate when applicable: Incredibly difficult, especially for entrepreneurs, delegation is not something embraced by many. After all, you can do it better, right? If you have established project processes that you can hand-off to someone you trust in your organization that fits the task, do so. Otherwise, you may find yourself as the founder of a successful business that’s still processing orders years from now. I’m certain that giving your assistant a chance to prove him/herself would be a great growing opportunity for them while clearing things from your to-do list.
- A3 Problem Solving: If you’ve ever run into a problem that is seemingly impossible to solve, simplify it with A3! Made famous by the folks at Toyota, the A3 problem solving process in its most basic form is used to identify problems and provide successful outcomes, all on a piece of paper no-larger than 11”x17”. The intention is that if you can’t work from start to finish within this space, you’re not simplifying the problem down to its most basic form.