It starts with one little hit.
Then you go back for a little more.
And before you know it YOU’RE HOOKED!
As a Online Business Manager it is my job to know what everyone is doing with their time and how to improve the efficiency of not only my business but the ones I serve.
For years I have managed my productivity and I have put systems in place to reduce distractions.
I don’t allow any notifications except text messages to come through to my phone. There are literally only a handful of people that have my number. If they text, I pretty much want to reply back!
I go on Facebook on my phone when it suits me.
I reply to Instagram comments when it suits me.
I check my emails when it suits me.
You are seeing a pattern right?
So how did I get hooked on Facebook?
I use a Mac and a Laptop for most of my work. I have an iPad which I only use at indoor soft plays.
I actually have to use Facebook for business. This could be checking in on a Facebook group, adding people to a group, replying to business messages.
However, I was always so good and going in and getting done what I needed to and then moving on.
Over the last few weeks I had noticed that my time on Facebook had increased considerably. However my billable hours didn’t reflect that.
You see I use Toggl to track my work. I only put the timer on when I am doing client work. When I am done I turn it off.
So I was getting done what I needed to and I would get this itch to carry on looking on Facebook.
I hadn’t seen what had changed.
I literally couldn’t help myself, a few wasted seconds turned to wasted minutes and then minute turned to wasted hours.
I was literally distraught.
What has happened to me?
I am like a drug addict.
I can’t get enough.
I want more even though I KNOW it isn’t good for me.
Just this list time…
5 more minutes won’t hurt…
All the excuses you can think of I used to justify my wasted time.
Not to mention the unearned £££s that I had thrown away.
Why and How?
My Kill News Feed browser was not working.
You see if I remove it on my Mac it does it to my Laptop too.
I am not sure how it happened but I know it had a massive impact.
I have reinstalled it now and I feel better already.
Without the temptation of the news feed I don’t feel I need to keep scrolling and scrolling.
It is the huge FOMO that makes us keep going.
If I stop now, I might miss that really important thing that I really needed to know…
It sounds stupid now, but at the time you cannot stop yourself.
The only way to reduce your wasted time is to put the systems in place to ensure you don’t waste your precious time.
Here are some other things you can do to make sure Facebook doesn’t get you hooked too:
- Install Kill News Feed right now on whatever browser you use
- Have set times to login and logout for interaction – use a time
- Turn off all notifications on your phone so they do not distract you
- Keep your phone in another room so you don’t get tempted
- Use a Pomodoro time to keep you focused
- Set boundaries with your clients and use a communication tool like Slack
Do you have any other productivity tips to help you keep off the Facebook crack?
We all feel like it’s the end of the world when the Internet goes down right?
Or we go somewhere and the WIFI is poor, we would moan about it on Facebook if we could…
So I thought I would put together a list of productive things you can do when you have no internet.
1. Catch up on your Instapaper reading. Instapaper allows you to bookmark and download articles that you would like to read later but don’t have the time right now. If like me your 4G on your phone is none existent it’s great to use this app when you are on the training, in a waiting room at the docs or in an awkward social environment that you want to avoid! A bonus is that you can actually link your Instapaper to your Buffer account and share posts easily to your social media. Also another cheeky hack you can use is IFTTT.com and set it that for every article you ‘heart’ it will automatically share to your Buffer queue.
2. Put together content ideas and bullet point a few main ideas for each point. These could be blog posts ideas, social media posts, eBooks and VLOGS. Choose one per week and pop into into your calendar/diary so you know what you are writing for the next few weeks, instead of winging it! The great thing about knowing in advance is that say if you write on a Wednesday, you can plan to research your topic further on Tuesday and have some facts and figures to hand when you come to create your content.
3. Take a Braindump. Do you constantly have ideas swimming around your head but nothing seems to happen with them? Even if you don’t want to take action on these ideas in the near future you have the idea out of your head and on paper. This way you can return to it when you have time to implement it and it will give you more head space to work on your current projects.
4. Sort through images on your phone. Delete old ones that you don’t need. Uploads images to your ‘iCloud’ or ‘Dropbox ones and label and sort so they are easy to locate in the future. Whichever way you choose to backup your photos, if you don’t do this add it to your todo list as it can be a lifesaver if you ever lose your phone.
5. Declutter and File – Keeping on top of admin is a must but mostly put to the back of the todo list. It soon adds up when you put things off a few times. The ideal time to get on with this task is when you have nothing better to do! With no internet you are limited and you will feel better once it is done. Things like filing receipts, invoices and filling in the relevant spreadsheets with the information will mean you are more than grateful come tax season!
6. Tidy up your PC! Start with your desktop, this seems to be the place where everything is dumped when you have no idea where else to put it! The next port of call is the Download folder. Sort through everything and file and label them accordingly. Delete what you no longer need or you are no longer going to use. Use Dropbox to store your images and eBooks for future reference. You could have a folder for things that you want to take action on and next time you don’t have internet you can head there and get started.
7. Use the time to check in with clients and touch base with ex and prospective clients. Don’t look to sell to them just so see how they are getting on. You will be surprised on how many people will have been meaning to get in touch with you themselves but haven’t got round to it yet. So go grab your phone and get texting.
8. Write without distractions! Whether it be a blog, a sales page, an eBook or some emails, when you have no internet it is an ideal time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard! Before you know it you’ll have written an epic blog, a week’s worth of emails or the first chapter to your first book! If you have always wanted to write your own book, you could use internetless times to brainstorm ideas and then take every opportunity you can do write.
9. Read – I know we have already mentioned Instapaper, but if you are anything like the business owners I know you have a bookshelf full of books you keep meaning to read! Perhaps you have downloaded a book from Audible but you haven’t listened to it yet. Business books are great but don’t underestimate the power of fiction. It’s a great way to escape the real world and boost your imagination.
10. Last but not least is exercise! It should be a major part of your life to get active but more often and not people put their work before their health. However, there is no job in the world that will not allow you a quick 30 minute workout. Working out will improve your productivity, energy levels and focus when you return. It’s a great use of our time and you’ll reduce stress, burn calories and you’ll feel good too!
We often feel that when the internet is down there is nothing we can do other than nap. Yes I am a big fan of napping, but only when your work is done! It’s the ultimate reward for me! SLEEP!
The next time your internet is out, use it as an opportunity. I would say working 1 hour without internet being 100 % focused can be with 3 hours of distracted work with internet.
Sounds strange right?
Being lazy isn’t going to make me more productive…
But think about it, if you find the quickest most efficient way to do every task in your business; that will mean you will get more done in less time.
Sounds too good to be true I know.
This morning I was on a deadline to get to the garage. I had to leave the house at 10am. Usually, I would do my main 3 tasks by 11am but I know had an hour to do them.
Do you think I managed it?
You bet your ass I did!
By being 100% focused on the task hand and not taking my time I got everything done that I needed to.
Does that mean usually I am lazy? No. However usually if you allocate yourself 2 hours to do something you will take 2 hours, if you allocate 1 it will take 1 and I just proved it!
Create Your Best Process
For every task I do, I know the outcome and the exact steps needed to complete it. When I am forced to do this quicker I ensure that I do not do anything that is unnecessary or will hold me back.
Small things like having everything I need to complete said task to hand, my checklist to ensure I don’t miss anything when doing it quickly. If it’s good enough for doctors and pilots its good enough for me. You see checklists reduce mistakes check out the book The Checklist and how it is used to save people’s lives. I use it to save time but it’s the same principle.
Get Super Specific
More often than not we put off a task as we are dreading it and do not know exactly what is needed. Another factor can be that it is a big task and it overwhelms you.
The best way to overcome this is to get super specific and break it down. This makes your life easier and means you get some small wins in.
Imagine you have to set up a whole website and you literally have no idea where to start. By breaking down the tasks into smaller manageable tasks you will be able to get started pretty much straight away.
Start with the outcome and reverse engineer the process. When your website is completed and you are 100% happy, what steps would have been made to get you there?
- Choose what provide you are going to use WordPress, Wix etc
- Buy the domain name
- Add the theme
- Get Logo created
- Set up the hosting
- Add relevant pages
- Add relevant plug-ins
- Create a bank of images of other websites that your client likes
- Have professional images taken
- Have a copywriter create your sales page
- Have your About Page done
- List your Services
- Have a FAQ page
- Create your Lead Generator
- Lead Generator Set Up
- Pick your email marketing provider (Aweber, Active Campaign etc)
- Website linked to Autoresponder
- Upload 5 blogs
You get the idea!!
The great thing about doing this is you only have to do it one and you can rinse and repeat in the future.
Feeling overworked and burnt out but still want to serve your clients. Outsource what you can and you will be able to get even more done in less time. People often do not like to outsource work that they have been asked to do. I don’t see a problem with it AS LONG as the person you outsource too follows your systems and procedures.
It’s as if you did the work then, it is also your responsibility to ensure each task is completed to your standards. It will be a learning curve to start with but give feedback to your outsourcer so that they can learn from it.
Sometimes it might mean that the work is actually done better. I am not great at video editing, I can do it buts it’s a total ball ache for me. One of my clients is a Facebook Live machine and has loads of great content to share, so I have outsourced this process to someone that can do it quicker and better than I can.
Win win! The clients get’s their work done to a great standard and I can concentrate on what I am good at.
Workout your Work!
Have you heard of HIIT which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training to get the best out of a workout in the quickest possible time? It means you do focused bursts of exercise to a high intensity but not for too long.
I have used this approach with work for some time. It means that I do a lot more focused work and have regular breaks. When I force myself to work to a timer I remain disciplined to keep to the task at hand and I know there is a break just around the corner. I work flat out for 25 minutes and take a 4 minute break which I used to make a coffee, put the washing on or even just sit in silence.
Working all day till the late hours doesn’t make you any more productive in fact you probably get less done. When our brains are tired and we have been working on something for a long period of time we tend to make mistakes or get side tracked.
Give it a go and let me know what you think!
Stop Multitasking Forever
It used to be a big positive to be able to multitask and spin many plates without getting stressed. I used to put it on my CV as a massive pro but it really is so bad.
When we multitask and switch between tasks SFA gets done. Have you ever tried to catch two rabbits at once? You’re much better off getting one and then the other right?
When you switch between tasks it takes about 20 minutes to get back into your rhythm. Imagine you have 3-4 tasks on the go at once!
By doing many tasks at the same time you are busy all day and don’t achieve anything. So concentrate on completing one brain powered task at a time. That way you will actually achieve something and you will get it done quicker than if you were trying to complete 3 things at once.
There are certain multitasks you can do which are productive. They have to be different types of tasks, so you group passive tasks with lower brain powered tasks.
Here are some examples:
- Housework and listening to audible
- Cooking and talking to clients
- Driving and listening to audible or talking to clients
- Going for a walk and catching up with clients or audible
- Completing your Duolingo while on the loo!
These are great ways to get more done and not compromise on productivity.
Take a FULL Day Off
Now I have not always followed this as I was always tempted to just log on quickly…
However, I found that taking one full day off per week works wonders. I chose Saturday, it’s perfect as I can spend the day with my daughter and enjoy the fruits of my hard work all week.
By taking the day off I also feel refreshed and it also makes me excited to get back to work on Sunday. Now Sunday is my planning day and I take a half day so I can get organised for the following week. I plan meals, batch cook, iron school uniform etc which actually makes me more productive the following week. It is said for every minute you spend planning you save 10 minutes in implementation!
So by spending just 10 minutes planning my week, I save 100 minutes in execution!
How about those apples?!
I have highlighted a few how being lazy or shall we say more effective can boost your productivity.
Do you agree?
Do you use any of these techniques already or would you like to start one of them?
Perhaps you have a productivity hack that you would like to share with us?
Comment below I would love to hear your thoughts.
I thought I would share with you my morning routine. As my life is a series of systems put together to make my day run as smoothly as possible.
1. Drink a pint of water
I have been doing this for about 5 years now. Every night I take up a bottle or pint of water to bed with me. When I wake up the first thing I do is down the water.
When you wake up, this is when you are most dehydrated, not to mention your morning breath.
By drinking a pint of water before reaching for the coffee, I am giving my body chance to rehydrate.
2. I get UP!
This might seem obvious, but how many of you actually get out of bed straight away? Or do you peruse Facebook and check your emails first? You see if you check your phone, I can guarantee you will find
something to distract you.
I see the same women dropping their kids off to school late most mornings looking stressed and tired. However, I have also seen that they were logged on Facebook
early in the morning and they had probably lost track of time.
There is no judgement here, it is up to them and I use to do it all the time. Then I would get myself in a right tizz and take it out on Jess that we were running
late! I know!
By adopting that simple rule of getting up and getting ready before checking my phone has made my life so much easier and more productive in the morning.
3. I know what I am wearing
Every night before bed I get my clothes ready for the next day. I lay them out so even if I do get up late, I know exactly what I need to shove on and get out the door.
I do the same for my daughter, her uniform hangs on the door in the order she is to put it on. This helps her understand her routine, she will know if the next day is a school day
or the weekend.
She knows what she needs to get ready in, and more often than not does it before even coming to wake me! (which is very nice!)
4. I have ‘themed’ mornings
My most productive times are between 9-11 and 2-4 so I use them accordingly. I eat at 12 and usually have a sneaky nap afterwards.
Each day of my week is themed so I know exactly what I will be doing in the first ‘deep work’ block.
Monday – Social Media
Tuesday – Training
Wednesday – Writing
Thursday – Thinking, Proofing etc.
Friday – Finance
How easy does that make things for me?
Yes I do other stuff. I have my daily tasks which I do every day. These are usually done as shallow work in my 30-minute stint before lunch.
This involves checking emails, posting to Instagram, interacting with real people and reply back to comments.
5. I have a 2-minute rule
If something will take me less than 2 minutes to complete, I do it straight away.
I don’t put it off, I just do it.
By the time you have thought of an excuse as to why you can’t do it, you could have done it!
This isn’t just work related, it works around the house too.
Jobs which take less than 2 minutes:
- Emptying the dishwasher
- Putting on a load of washing
- Running the Hoover round
- Cleaning the mirror (our shoe case is mirrored – drives me nuts!)
- Putting the bin out
You see they take 2 minutes on their own, however if you leave them all, they will soon amount up and make it a bigger more daunting task.
What is your morning routine?
We all love a productivity hack right?
If you could get more done in less time wouldn’t you want to?
I have been running my online business nearly 2 years now and 2016 has been a big learning curve. I am sharing with you my very best productivity hacks so you get the most out of your time and you feel awesome every day.
So if you to supercharge your productivity and be a little smug about how much you achieve in one day, read on and then implement:
1. Turn off Social Media notifications on your phone and only use it on your PC – this means deleting the app off your phone!
2. Check emails at certain times throughout the day and have an autoresponder which advises that you check it at Xam and Xpm
3. Use a timer so that you can work in set intervals. I use Clear Focus there is also one called Pomodoro. Find which working pattern works for you 90 minutes work/20 minutes break works well for me
4. Work with your energy levels. If you are most productive in the morning, this is when you should do your most demanding work
5. Plan the next day the night before you go to bed or at the end of your work day
6. Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do right now, if it takes less that 2 minutes just do it!
7. Turn your PC off when you have finished work – it’s all too easy to just quickly jump back on!
8. Tidy your workspace at the end of each day, a clean desk is a happy desk!
9. Have a set routine and keep to it as much as possible – routine is the key to productivity!
10. Get up one hour earlier that usual! You will get so much more done with no distractions
11. Try to limit wasteful Skype/phone calls by providing an agenda beforehand – this is awesome as most things can be covered in an email…
12. Outsource what you cannot do or what you find difficult to do – time saver of the century!
13. Don’t multi-task, complete 1 full task at a time. Going between tasks means things will get missed and you won’t be productive!
14. Use your breaks wisely – put the washing on, prepare food, go for a walk. Sad I know but the housework won’t do itself
15. Go for a walk when your productivity starts to dwindle usually after lunch – beat the afternoon slump with some fresh air
16. Have a cut-off point for your day and stick to it – there is no point having your own business if it runs you into the ground
17. Don’t spread yourself too thin, if doing one task is going to set back another tell your boss/client and ask them to make the decision which is a priority to them
18. Change your scenery, work on a train, in a ‘Coffice’ or even in an indoor play centre for kids! (only do this is you have kids mind!)
19. De-clutter your emails, use Unrollme.com and stop signing up to everyone’s emails! They don’t hold the key to all your questions!
20. Stop looking for shortcuts or the next big thing. Do the work and get on with your daily tasks and you will get there eventually
21. Plan all your meals and snacks in advance, I even set an alarm for when it’s time to eat!
22. Carry a notebook with you everywhere, you never know when creativity will strike
23. Spend 10 minutes exercising your brain with a crossword puzzle – frustrating but it does take your mind off work
24. Prioritise your workload according to what HAS to be done, what NEEDS to be done and can WAIT FOREVER! Ditch the stuff that can wait and schedule in the rest
25. You’ve heard about batch cooking right? Well try it with your work, create social media posts in batches, do client invoices, filing etc. all in batches its a life saver
26. Create a list of small tasks so that you can check off small easy tasks and have a feel good moment from small wins
27. Don’t leave things until the last minute, set yourself a fake deadline before the actual deadline – you still have to stick to it mind
28. Have a daily dump! I mean a brain dump, that way you will have a clear mind for going to bed, it is amazing what a difference this makes
29. Have a daily task/goal and make yourself accountable. Tell others what you are going to achieve and ask what they are doing that day
30. Meditate of 10 minutes a day, if you’re really busy do it for longer! You can just sit quietly breathing in and out, it doesn’t have to be weird
31. Break large projects and tasks into smaller manageable tasks, reverse engineering works a treat here
32. RECON – for everything you need to do. Do your research in advance. If it’s good enough for the military it’s good enough for me
33. Educate yourself. You’ve heard knowledge is power right? Wrong, implementation is where the power is. Learn and then DO!
34. Reward yourself. There is no point in working like a dog if you aren’t going to throw yourself a bone every now and again! I treated myself to an Apple iWatch recently – I love it!
35. Don’t waste time or energy on people that bring you down – if someone brings you down or causes you pain – cut them out of your life.
36. Have fun! Plan it into your routine and do it! If it doesn’t get planned in we often overlook it. Ice skating, rock climbing or just having a campfire and a glass of wine
37. Keep messages and emails short and sweet. Just because you can type fast doesn’t mean anyone’s got time for war and peace
38. Cut your hours. Research shows that working 60 hours instead of 50 doesn’t make you any more productive!
39. Have one full day OFF per week. Get outside and live. We don’t live to work, we work to live. Sunday is my day off, I love a good Netflix binge 😉
40. Don’t be the YES person. It is ok to say no, push back if you need to. You can’t be everything for everyone
41. Ask for help if you need it, you cannot do everything all the time
42. Stop being a perfectionist, do what you can with what you have – this was a hard one for me.
43. Automate repetitive tasks as much as possible use IFTTT.COM
44. Don’t guess. Use data to guide your decision-making
45. Plan in your down time. Have a ‘me’ hour /evening or day! I choose to exercise and read as my ‘me’ time.
Now I know that is a long list of productivity hacks but we are all different and some will be more useful to you than others.
I wouldn’t try and implement too many at once, I have had 18 months to perfect these and make them part of my routine.
Pick 2-3 tops and incorporate them into your daily routine and before you know it will become second nature.
Which productivity hacks will implement first?