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Improving Productivity – Managing your Workload

May 28, 2012 · 1 comment

in Business, Freelancing

Productivity is a key challenge – how can you ensure you’re hitting all your deadlines and getting the right stuff done each day? With so many distractions – email, meetings, social media (and more!) – it can be easy to lose focus and spend your day fighting fires rather than getting things done.

Fortunately help is at hand – Simply Business has pulled together this productivity infographic detailing solutions to common productivity problems when it comes to workload:


Click image to open interactive version.

I have to admit I was kind of late to the productivity party. I used to struggle to juggle everything I needed to do each day, I was constantly working late, I was tired – something had to give.

“I want you to work smarter, not harder,” my boss said to me one day – and he was right. I was working really hard; but smart? Nope.

To follow are the things which I’ve found most useful when trying to increase my own productivity:

Figure out when you are most productive

For me, it’s first thing in the morning – for you – it might be a different time; but making best use of the time when you’re most productive is critical to getting things done.

Because I’m most productive first thing in the morning I make it a rule to take advantage of this time but trying to ensure any meetings are scheduled for 12pm (or later). This means my most productive time of the day can be spent focused on tasks rather than taking part in meetings.

During this time I turn off all potential distractions. That means I close my email, switch my phone to voicemail, ignore all social media, etc. If possible I’ll also work in a private space during this period so I’m not distracted by others around me. If a private workspace isn’t available, I plug myself into Spotify with sound-reducing headphones so I can’t hear what others around me are doing.

It’s amazing what I can get done even in just an hour without distractions.

Set your own agenda

Before I finish up work for the day I spend 5 or 10 minutes figuring out what I’m going to get done the following day. By setting my own agenda rather than letting others dictate it for me I’m able to focus on the most important tasks for me.

I normally set myself a couple of critical tasks that I’ll do during my most productive time; then once that stuff is completed I’ll dip into my email and see if there’s anything urgent that needs my attention. I set aside 11am – 12pm for ‘fire-fighting’ – i.e. any urgent tasks that I hadn’t anticipated. In the event that there’s nothing that desperately needs my attention I’ll switch back to my own agenda.

Stop multi-tasking

When it comes to productivity one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that multi-tasking isn’t the way forward – Everett Sizemore from SeOverflow says:
“Multi-tasking is a disease that keeps us from giving any single thing our best effort.
Just focus on one thing at a time.
Stop checking email, analytics, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ every ten minutes. Go to work to work. Get it done and get out so you can go home and enjoy quality time with family and friends. It will make you more productive and happier.”

Amen to that!

Got some productivity tips of your own to share? I’d love to hear about them via the comments!

Written by Adria Saracino

Adria Saracino is a marketer and blogger. When not consulting on business strategy, you can find her juggling sports, freelancing, and writing about style on her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.

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