With Labor Day behind us, fall is just around the corner.
(And a quick tax note: so are estimated taxes, if that applies to you. Due the 16th of this month. Consider yourself reminded. Though I will probably remind you once more.)
Now … fall. This can be a happy transition (as it is for many), though I do know that some of my clients wish the summer never stopped. It’s a season that can get hectic with travel, weddings, and taking time off in general — and it should be a time to enjoy the outdoors. But fall can deliver routine again, and routine is a great step toward productivity.
So, with all that in mind, I thought I’d offer you some thoughts today about how I try to make sure that autumn is the start of something great.
It requires focus.
Five Productivity Tips for Busy Bodies
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” -Peter Drucker
Here are a few productivity tips to utilize as we step into a new season, as your routine continues (or starts?). And if you’re always in “scramble mode”, think of ways to incorporate these methods into your daily life.
1. Choose Your “Focus Times”
No one knows you quite like yourself. I can’t tell you when the best time of day is for work and productivity. However, it’s important you nail down that time. In the morning? As a night owl? Whenever you feel most productive, mark that time off on your calendar — no one else can touch it. That’s your time to buckle down and get your MOST IMPORTANT tasks done efficiently.
2. “Do Not Disturb”
The first two steps on this list go hand-in-hand, but this is so important, it warranted its own paragraph.
Whether you are in the middle of a “focus time” or not, get in the habit of using the “Do Not Disturb” mode on your phone or computer while you work. It’s no surprise that technology is distracting. But consider this: according to research from the University of California, it takes an average of 25 minutes to regain focus after your first distraction.
Think checking in on social media takes just a few seconds? Think again, and make “Do Not Disturb” a part of your routine.
3. Don’t Accept Pointless Meetings
In the past, we’ve discussed how to run effective meetings — something easier said than done.
But there are many statistics that discuss the ramifications of unimportant meetings. An Inc. Magazine article, highlighting a survey from Doodle, cites the following:
- “Poorly organized meetings mean I don’t have enough time to do the rest of my work” (44 percent)
- “Unclear actions lead to confusion” (43 percent)
- “Bad organization results in a loss of focus on projects” (38 percent)
- “Irrelevant attendees slow progress” (31 percent)
If you are the recipient of costly meetings, start a new routine of saying “no” if you see it as unimportant to your job success (and you’re in the position of having permission to voice that opinion). Not only will shedding meetings help your productivity, it will inevitably save others time as well.
4. Accept Help From Others!
Exclamation added because many do not use this to their advantage.
We often think asking for help means burdening others. But it often has the opposite effect. Think about who you ask to take you to the airport, or help you move into a new house. Those are your closest friends!
You have people that care about you, and productivity sometimes looks like not doing it all on your own.
5. Small Breaks
Remember those social media distractions? That’s not what we mean by “small breaks” here.
But scheduling a few daily breaks into your routine can greatly increase productivity.
Again, as long as the breaks are purposeful and consistent.
Maybe every day at 10AM you walk outside around the block. Maybe everyday at 2PM you water the plants. Something to keep your mind sharp without mindlessly drifting into cyberspace — only you will know the perfect activities to fill these breaks, but I highly encourage a regular mind refresh so that you stay as productive as possible.
How are those five for a start?
Even if you focus on one or two this week, try them out! We all need productivity reminders from time to time. Let’s keep refining our days so that friends, family and ourselves benefit from better practices.
Emelia Mensa EA, CPA
Emelia Mensa CPA