I don’t know about you, but I find it really easy to get stuck in the trap of busy equals productive. I’m always looking for ways to improve productivity and reduce the busy work that sucks up a good portion of the day.
The main idea of productivity is always to work smarter, not harder. Just because you are active, working hard, and doing stuff does not mean you have used your time wisely enough to be truly productive.
Unfortunately, there’s a myth out there that wants us to believe that productivity and busyness are one and the same, and that being “busy” means you’re being super productive, and if you’re not keeping busy then you’re just being lazy.
However, the most productive people can easily seem lazy with this mindset when they have all their work done early in the day and get to take the rest of the day off. The basic formula for productivity is your output over your input. If your input significantly outweighs the output, you need to adjust and fix your to-do list.
Here are 5 ways to improve productivity and reduce busyness:
1. Remove any and all distractions
When it is time to work, take responsibility and remove the distractions you know will disrupt you. A few things you can do are:
- Turn off distracting music (this might or might not work for you. Personally, I need the music to keep my energy up)
- Find a quiet place to work
- Keep your workspace organized
Without distractions it’s much easier to stay focused on the task at hand and create the momentum needed to finish your projects.
2. Create separate to-do lists and learn how to prioritize
Start each morning with a to-do list to tackle each thing you need to get done. If you need to reach out to customers and also complete a big project for the day, then you need two separate to-do lists. I’ve been experimenting with this, and it really does work. Sometimes deadlines get in the way, but I have separate lists for every branch of my business, and my goal for the day always starts out to get one thing crossed off each list.
It definitely takes a mindset adjustment, especially for someone like me who likes to “go with the flow”. But, if you can proritize your to-do lists and stay on track, you’ll definitely improve productivity.
3. Take time to evaluate your work, efforts, and company mission/goals
It’s essential always to schedule time throughout your day to evaluate your actions and compare them to your goals. Take five or ten minutes every now and then to make sure you are still on track with your to-do list and that the goals you need to get done relate to your company mission or ultimate goals.
4. Work in batches
Working in batches means putting similar tasks together and get them done at the same time. This means less time is required to go back and forth between different tasks, and to keep the concentration and momentum you need to get done fast.
I’ve never quite been able to master this, even though I have so many examples from successful friends that it is an excellent way to improve productivity. I do know that when I’ve done thing like set up a week’s worth of blog posts and/or newsletters at one time, then it really does save time. The trick for me is to let go my last minute tendencies and just do it!
5. Automate repetitive tasks
Using automation for as many tasks as possible, hiring a virtual assistant, and creating templates are all ways to improve productivity. You can easily set up templates and checklists for things like emails, repetitive tasks, and accounting tasks. Once you have systems in place, it makes it easy to hand the work off to a VA. And if your business needs it, things like inventory management and customer management software can also help keep you organized and productive.
Resource: The Shortcuts and Templates Club* gives you new fill-in-the-blanks templates and checklists for a variety of business tasks every month.
Don’t put out more effort only to achieve no rewards. Compare your efforts daily to your goals so that your productivity matches your intentions to live a more successful life.
When you get in the habit of evaluating your actions, it becomes easy to see where you are letting busy work rule your day, and change your plans and daily to-do lists to do what needs to be done to accomplish your business goals. Using these tips to improve productivity and reduce busyness will help you stay focused on completing the important projects you need to make your business a success.
*Note: This post includes affiliate links, for which I will receive a small commission should you make a purchase.