Tips to Increase Productivity

by Staff Written

August 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

Working in an agency office space is collaborative and innovative. But just like any office, it can lead to distractions or a lack of productivity on some days.

Most of us wake up thinking about all the things we have to get done, and by the end of the day we are wondering where all the time went or why we still have a few more to-do’s to check off the list.

As I started my first agency job, I wanted to see if I could remedy this. Lucky for me, I was able to attend PHX Startup Week where I learned some valuable tips from C’pher Gresham, an entrepreneur and director of expansion for SEED SPOT. From there, Gresham’s presentation inspired me to do a little digging on my own about how I can help my team become more productive on an ongoing basis.

So, where do you even start on the path to productivity?

Start by breaking down your year into months, weeks and days. This might sound daunting, but breaking down your goals and to-do’s into distinct hubs will help you become more successful in prioritizing.

What works for me is using my Passion Planner. This way I’m able to create strict daily, weekly and monthly priorities. You may be thinking, what’s the point of having such a strict priority structure? We are actually more likely to accomplish tasks that are broken out into manageable chunks, rather than long lists of things to do.

layout

So, you have your focus figured out and you’re ready to go. Now what?

Get your team on board.

Being this strict about your to-do list takes effort and might not be for everyone. One of the best ways to manage this is to give each other more time to get the work done. As creative people, we tend to need more time to accomplish tasks. As many of you know, writing a piece of content for a client or coming up with the best user experience takes time. Rather than having 30-60 minute working blocks throughout your day, strive to book team meetings back to back, allowing for longer periods of work time.

See these calendars for an example of this practice:

Unproductive calendar

Unproductive

Productive calendar

productive

An article from Fast Company talked about how a key part of being productive is utilizing the art of slowing down. Ironic, I know.

“Slow thinking is intuitive, woolly and creative. It is what we do when the pressure is off, and there is time to let ideas simmer on the back burner. It yields rich, nuanced insights and sometimes surprising breakthroughs.” – Carl Honoré

Some of the benefits of slowing down and taking time to process and think creatively allow for us to listen and ask fewer previously answered questions, avoid mistakes, rectify issues quicker and make more rational decisions.

A large part of being productive means being less stressed and feeling like you are able to accomplish your tasks. Feeling short on time is a state of mind and something that can be controlled. When we prioritize properly, we allow ourselves more time to use our parasympathetic system of thinking. This is what gives us feelings of happiness, calm and rational thought.

Put simply, when we prioritize properly, allocate plenty of work time and slow down, we then allow ourselves more opportunity to use this train of thought.

By following these productivity suggestions, you’ll soon be able to measure your own productivity. While subjective for each individual, success could mean more time at the end of the day with your four-legged friend or a more consistent workout schedule. No matter what you use to measure, becoming more productive can help you become much more successful, professionally and personally.

The Takeaway:

  • Working smarter takes practice as well as time. Planning out your days, weeks, months and years takes a little extra effort, but it will help in the long run.
  • Giving your creative brain more time to accomplish tasks such as writing and editing can produce a more thoughtful work product.
  • Give your team more time to digest your asks and needs. Slowing down will help your brain thoroughly process and brainstorm new ideas.
  • A high level of productivity is somewhat subjective. Use these skills to make more time for the things missing in your life.

For additional productivity tools, check out these four awesome apps.

3 Minute Mindfulness

Coach.me

ClearFocus Productivity Timer

Headspace

August 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

Staff Written