Do you struggle with productivity? You’re not alone! As entrepreneurs, time is our most valuable resource…but the number one thing I hear small business owners (and really, people in general!) say is that they wish they had more time. But what if I told you there were a few simple things you can start doing today that will free up time in your schedule? Things that will allow you to spend more time perfecting your craft or hanging out with your friends and family? Here are 5 ways to get your valuable time back!
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Today’s guest post is from Hannah Allen!
I’m Hannah—a virtual assistant for creative entrepreneurs. I’m passionate about helping women simplify & streamline their business so they can focus on what really matters—whether that’s spending time with their family or perfecting their craft. I’m a lover of efficiency and productivity, and you can often find me enjoying a sunrise or sunset (and taking way to many pictures of it), sipping a latte, or planning my next trip.
1. Turn off phone notifications.
Studies have shown that it takes an average of 25 minutes for our brains to get back into a zone of productivity after an interruption—regardless of the type of interruption. If you have notifications popping up (or alerts sounding) on your phone every time someone follows you or likes/comments on your photo on Instagram, likes your page on Facebook, mentions you on Twitter, or sends you an email, you’re losing precious working time—and that doesn’t even include other apps that send you notifications (DoorDash is giving you $5 off your next delivery!). Do yourself a favor and disable all the notification bubbles, sounds, banners, and badges on your phone and see how much more productive you are. (I keep them on for phone & messages, but other than that, notifications are off.)
2. Set timers.
Have you heard of Parkinson’s Law? It’s the one that says, “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Basically, if you have two hours to write a blog post, you’ll write a blog post in two hours. But if you only have 30 minutes to write the entire post, you’ll get ‘er done in 30 minutes. Moral of the story? Set a timer. Give yourself a reasonable, hard-and-fast end time (and due date!). You’ll end up doing the same amount of work in much less time—leaving hours open for other things (like meeting a friend for coffee or relaxing in the evening with your family!).
3. Block your schedule.
Don’t try to do all the things, all the days. Instead, block your schedule. Have one day where you do client calls. One day you work on content creation. One day you work on finances/taxes/business admin. You probably won’t get all the work in one category done on one day, but by doing most of it at one time, you’ll save time, energy, and brain power because you won’t be switching back and forth between tasks.
4. Get natural light.
The Harvard Business Review says that “access to natural light and views of the outdoors are the number one attribute of the workplace environment.” But we probably didn’t need Harvard Business Review to tell us that. We all know how good we feel after spending time outside. (You know how good it feels to be at the beach? It’s not just because you’re on vacation—your body is also loving that Vitamin D!) Having access to natural light will boost your productivity because your body will be more energized. You might find yourself working in longer chunks instead of scrolling through Instagram after working for 15 minutes. More natural light might also help you sleep more at night! If your desk or office isn’t near a window, consider changing where you work—or finding ways to get that natural Vitamin D throughout the day!
5. Keep a notepad handy.
When you need to focus but have a million and one things to do, keep a notepad nearby and jot those random thoughts down. That gets them out of your brain, but doesn’t distract you too much so that you lose focus on the task you’re currently doing (remember, constantly switching tasks is a huge time waster!). Though there is something to be said about actually writing your thoughts down, if you prefer to go paperless (or don’t have a notepad handy!) create a board in Trello or note in Evernote titled “brain dump.” Anytime you need to clear your brain so you can focus on the task at hand, put everything in there and sort it later—when you’ve finished your task.
Give these tips a try for the next week and see how much more time you have in your day! What would you do with those extra hours?
Want more productivity tips? Head over to my resources page and blog! Thanks for having me, Vanessa!
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p.s. want to read more about these productivity tips? Here are the sources:
Parkinson’s Law | Distractions at Work | Harvard Business Review | Natural Light
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