27 Sep 5 productivity hacks for a winning week
If a ‘winning week’ sounds too good to be true then you hopefully realise that things need to change. We are so used to rushing around on full speed that we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking that being busy is a badge of honour, feelings of overwhelm are par for the course and considered planning is a luxury none of us can afford.
But what happens when you are busier than ever but not much is getting done? You feel trapped in this busy-ness cycle – working harder and harder and feeling less and less fulfilled. In summary – life sucks!
Getting to the end of another manic week with a to-do list that has barely seen a tick can be so demotivating. I know how that can feel. It took me a while to realise that approaching my days in the same scattergun style only meant I worked harder and harder without the results to show for it.
By making a few simple tweaks I’ve managed to boost my productivity levels and feel in control of my week. Not only that but these tweaks have meant that I have created space to actually do some of the stuff on my bucket list! The dreamy, adventurous, life changing stuff that fills me up and makes my heart beat that little bit faster!
In this blog I’m sharing my favourite productivity hacks so you can maximise your time and focus on your priorities.
Ready? Let’s go!
#1 Start by planning your week
Everyone’s heard that saying that goes “if you fail to plan then you plan to fail”, right? My number one tip is probably the easiest to do but the one that has the biggest impact on a successful week ahead.
Choose a time every week – usually a Friday afternoon for me – and brain dump everything that needs to be done in the next week. Think about all aspects of your life, not just work, and set it all down on paper. It is so important here to think about life as a whole – stop segregating work and life – otherwise all the good stuff will never get done!
#2 Once you’ve got your list, then it’s time to prioritise
What can you realistically achieve in a week? If your list of things to achieve is a page long then ask yourself what are the most important items on that list and start from there. Don’t forget that ‘me-time’ or time spent with your family just doing nothing are vital moments where you can switch off and restore, so fit this in too.
#3 Practice diary blocking
Starting off your week with an organised diary will help you to feel so much more in control and a lot less scatterbrained!
Once you’ve done your brain dump then it’s time to pop your tasks for the week straight into your diary. In my experience, if it’s not in the diary, it’s not gonna happen!
Blocking out your time holds you much more accountable to what you say you are going to do. I find that I work best if I use 2-hour chunks of time for each piece of work. Two hours is enough time to ensure you’ll be productive before your eyes glaze over and your mind wanders off to the kettle!
#4 Don’t let your emails take control
I don’t know about you but there was a time when it felt like I spent entire days living inside my inbox. Whilst emails are a necessary element of life and business, there are ways you can limit the time you spend checking emails but still deal with the important stuff in a timely manner.
To rule my inbox rather than let it rule me, I introduced a few conditions:
– I turned off email notifications on my laptop and phone so I can work undisturbed.
– I make time in my diary to check my emails – and don’t check outside of these times.
– If a response will take me less than five minutes to action then I do it straight away – no procrastinating!
– When responses take longer than 5 minutes, I add time to my diary to send my replies.
It’s really common to find yourself in a rut with responsiveness and people expect an answer from you straight away. Introducing these steps has had a huge effect on my productivity and also my mindset. There’s not a huge pressure to respond immediately hanging over me anymore, which is liberating.
Definitely try and implement your own email ground rules and let me know how you get on.
#5 Set your boundaries
This one is a biggie and I coach a lot of people who know that they struggle with this!
Not setting boundaries on your time and energy means that you end up running yourself ragged as you say yes over and over again. All that ends up happening when you play the ‘Yes Man’ game is that you become overwhelmed, the quality of your work slips and the balls you’re juggling start hitting the floor.
Think about the ways that you can set boundaries in your life:
– Allow yourself periods of tech-free time and stick to them
– Understand your goals and say no to things that are not aligned
– Allocate personal time in the diary.
Setting boundaries helps you to be clearer about the things you want and don’t want to do. There is no shame in saying no!
What are your favourite productivity hacks?
Productivity is definitely not a one size fits all concept and what works for some people may not work for others. It’s all about finding that balance that you’re happy with and makes you feel good.
I’d love to know what you’ve found effective in helping you plan out your week. Jump into the comments with your suggestions – or feel free to send an email to [email protected]