Do you feel like you didn’t get enough done last year? Spend a lot of time wallowing in the pandemic gloom, and now feel guilty that your business didn’t grow as much as you wanted? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Productivity was at an all-time low for most people last year, but now with a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s time to kick things into gear and start 2021 on the right foot. If you’re not sure how, here are a few of our favourite tips to help you tackle 2021 and get shit done this year.
You might think you’re really good at remembering everything you need to do. But trust us, you’re not. No one can possibly hold every task, big and small that they need to achieve in their brain at all times. There’s too many distractions, and once we get immersed in one thing, we’re just going to forget something else. So instead of trying to keep track of everything in your head, start using your brain and write things down. Seriously, to-do lists are your best friend in 2021. Set yourself some time aside and create a set of to-do lists in your favourite medium – pen and paper, word document, excel spreadsheet or app, it doesn’t matter. You will need 4 lists, at least, called:
Daily: What do you need to get done today? And tomorrow? And the next day? This list will probably change every day, or you could opt to have 5 separate daily lists, 1 for each day of the week. These lists will be your go to every day. By writing down everything you need to do that day you can plan your time more efficiently, and you get that great endorphin rush when you tick something off!
Weekly: What are your little once-a-week tasks? Scheduling your social media posts? Getting your inbox to 0? Planning your to-do lists for next week? Whatever they are, get them all written down, and make sure you put 5 minutes aside every Friday afternoon to check the list and make sure you haven’t missed anything off.
Monthly: There are some things you will only need to do once a month, like balance your accounting software, run payroll or organise your documents ready for a new month. Because these tasks aren’t in your day-to-day, it’s easy for them to slip your mind. Write them all down in this list, and then put a reminder in your diary to check this list at the end of every month.
Master: Your master list should contain everything you want to achieve this year. This is your big picture list, so make sure you include everything you can think of. You can then use this list to refer back to, and to break your tasks down into smaller tasks to go on your other lists.
Carve Out Work Time
There are always a lot of distractions for a business owner, but with everyone working from home, and possibly even some home schooling for the kids thrown in, it can sometimes feel like there’s no time to actually do the work any more. If you spent 2020 struggling to juggle everything in your life, now might be the time to be a bit stricter with the schedule. Talk to the people in your life, and find some times where it isn’t essential for you to be around. These will become your non-negotiable work times, and nothing barring emergencies should get in the way. The reason we say to involve your family in this is because while we are all still in lockdown, it will impact them too. By making everyone part of the discussion and decision, everyone will know and understand that those specified times are yours to work uninterrupted. Then shut yourself away and put a sign on the door! Even if it’s just a few hours a day, that undisturbed work time can be a lifesaver for your productivity.
We’ve talked before about the importance of taking breaks, so we won’t labour that point too much. But your brain isn’t designed to be working 24/7 – that’s how you burn out. In fact, your brain works best in concentrated bursts of around 20-40 minutes, followed by a break to relax and reset it. If you don’t take regular breaks not only will you end up more stressed out, but you may find yourself in an internet rabbit hole instead of actually working. So schedule in a few breaks during your day. Take the dog for a walk, grab a cup of coffee, do a workout or even just veg in front of the TV. Whatever it takes to switch your brain off work for a little while. You’ll be far more productive afterwards!
Make Yourself Happy
Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a good mood, you get more done? That’s not a coincidence. Researchers at the University of Warick found that we work harder when we’re happier, and happiness actually makes us around 12% more productive. We know that mental health has been a real challenge for everyone during 2020, and general levels of happiness have gone down, but now’s the time to start actively investing in your own mental health. Before work, try to do things that put you in a positive frame of mind. Take time for some self-care, and really make an effort to improve your mood wherever you can. Not only will you be more productive, but you’ll feel better too!
Ultimately, being more productive is all about making yourself happier, and getting rid of distractions. Sometimes those distractions come in the form of admin, which can pile up quickly and become an absolute mess that drags your whole week down. If you struggle with admin, then we are here to help. At Your Admin Hub, we specialise in taking on those niggly admin tasks, leaving you free to focus on the bits of your business that make you happy. If you would like to know more, all you have to do is get in touch.