The commencement of the new year is a great reason to get motivated, review your operating practices and rid your business (and daily life) of any inefficiencies that affect your ability to make money.
With a little bit of personal reflection, it's easy to identify the activities and habits we regularly engage in that ultimately keep us from smoothly working towards our business and personal goals.
For example, there may be gaps in the day that you spend doing meaningless tasks or “being unproductive because of distractions”, says Anthony Fongaro, blog author and editor.
“Productivity occurs naturally if you are able to become organised,” Fongaro says. “Organising may seem daunting but it really (is) as simple as grouping similar items together. The less time you spend searching for something, the more time you have to be productive.”
Fongaro suggests taking 15 minutes to plan what you will do each day. “Create priorities and make a plan to work through each and every one,” he says. “Write down these priorities somewhere that you can constantly see them, and remember that you have control over your day.”
Self-described internet entrepreneur Dave Menzies recommends putting together a simple spreadsheet divided into the days of the week and the hours of the day.
“What you put in there will obviously depend on what you do but it should include regular daily tasks, mealtimes, breaks and family time,” he says in an article on his website. “Be honest about how long a task takes and appoint the appropriate time. Don’t multi-task – stick to the schedule.”
According to Menzies, this gives you a structure “so you don’t just get up every day with a vague idea of what you’ll be doing”.
Once you have a reasonable schedule in place, there are plenty of other tips and tricks that will help you continue chipping away at unproductive periods of the day.
An article on the Allcott HR website offers several examples, including getting more sleep, keeping your desk nice and tidy, and dealing with emails “in bulk”.
“You need to get plenty done during the day, but to do that, you should get plenty of sleep at night,” the article says. “That’s because... a lack of sleep can negatively impact your judgement, mood and ability to learn and retain information.”
“It’s (also) hard to be organised when your workspace is anything but. Think about how much time you waste searching for pens, notes and other items that should be readily available.”
“Constantly checking your inbox and replying to individual emails can get in the way of getting more critical things done. Therefore, consider designating certain times of the day to checking your emails, and only review and reply during these periods.”