Personal productivity tips: Take back control of your time.
Nifty productivity tips and techniques from our InFocus session ‘Plate Spinning Made Easy’.
If we’re all honest, we’d be locked up guilty as charged every day; caught red handed procrastinating on Instagram or dedicating too much time to well-known time-stealers, such as: ‘The Email’. This, plus having multiple work and life to-do lists aka. spinning plates, places an inevitable squeeze on our time meaning we’re less productive, and often, end the day feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Below we share some nifty productivity tips and techniques from InFocus session ‘Plate Spinning Made Easy’ led by one of our favourite tech geeks; Kate Doodson, Co-Director of Cosmic UK. “Done right you’ll save up to half a day a week” says Kate
Technique Number 1: Bullet Journaling
A Bullet Journal is a reflection tool and a habit changer. “Creating a habit is what makes us productive. It takes doing something consistently for thirty days for it to become a habit” says Kate.
Journals can be in paper form or created digitally using apps like OneNote, Dynalist and Trello. A journal could contain lists, interesting articles, thoughts, goals and even, weekly menu planning.
Kate’s Tip: “If you are a creative thinker and reflective thinker then bullet journals will work well for you as a productivity tool.”
Technique Number 2: Getting Things Done (GTD)
Getting Things Done comprises of four stages: Capture, Process, Organise and Review.
Capture: Capture everything that has grabbed your attention be it photos, an internet article, video or quotes and save into Office365 OneNote, Google Keep or another storage App of your preference.
Kate’s Tip: “Don’t duplicate. Save your time by doing everything digitally rather than hand-writing notes, then typing and sharing with colleagues. Always think ‘how can I capture and bring this into one place’”.
Process: Do it, Delegate it or Defer it. If something takes less than two minutes – DO IT, e.g. make a short phone call. If it takes longer than two minutes decide to defer, delegate or choose to delete – really think about if it is relevant.
Zero Inboxing is part of the GTD technique. Delete emails that are past a month old, archive old emails if they need to be stored or save them on a CRM system, OneNote or another preferred App. The aim is to clear your inbox and make it ‘zero’.
Kate’s Tip: “Only look at your emails twice a day. Choose two points in the day, say 11am and 3pm. I don’t look at emails when I come in the morning, they are a ‘time stealer’ and affect the course of my day.”
Time Boxing is a way you can take back control of your diary. Box–out time in your calendar for the things that you need to do, e.g. time that you will accept meetings, time to make phone calls and time for catch up coffees with clients. Create colour coding in calendars – e.g. meetings in red, report writing in green, client catch–ups in blue.
Once you have decided what you will ‘defer’ as an action later, put action reminders on your to do list. For example, make a call, send an email, check that a task you have delegated has been completed.
What works and what doesn’t work: what have you done and what do you need to take forward to the next month, week or day. Reconsider your time boxing and how well it is working; what needs to move or change for next week.
Technique Number 3: OneNote
As part of the Office365 suite of Apps, OneNote allows you to create notebooks. Within those notebooks you can create dividers of sections and sub-pages. It is designed to be an eternal notebook which will never run out of pages. Type straight into OneNote, save or share with colleagues who can edit or add to the notebook in real-time.
Kate’s Tip: “Use the dictate function on OneNote for meetings. It will dictate, with a fair amount of accuracy, straight into OneNote: this saves you time hand–writing meeting notes then typing them up later.”
Technique Number 4: Kanban Board
“Kanban is a simple but incredibly powerful project management tool shared with multiple people” explains Kate.
On the Kanban Board (part of Agile Methodologies – check out our recent blog on this) write three columns for ‘to do’, ‘doing’ and ‘done’ either on large sheets of paper or on a digital board, like ‘Trello’ or ‘Planner’ in Office365. Using post–it notes, write down the actions which must get done to progress the project and put them in the ‘to–do’ column. Meet as a group every two weeks to check progress and assess if the actions should now move into the ‘doing’ column or into the ‘done’ column.
Steal yourself some productive time today: speak to one of the Unlocking Potential team to find out about the range of support we have available to help you to grow your business.
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