What could you do with 11 or more hours a week? A recent study by Unit4 indicated many of us lose up to 25% of our productivity each week due to a lack of streamlining our workflow or effectively using smart phone applications.
Luckily for you and me, organization isn’t an attribute you’re born with, but a skill you can learn. And many of us can learn more! Proof? A poll by Office Depot found that 82% of people felt the more organized they were, the better they performed.
Here are five techniques to maximize your productivity, which one will you add to your portfolio this week?
Goals Up & Visual
Since you have invested time knowing and documenting what you want to achieve this year in your business and your personal life, why leave it hidden in a drawer or a closed book?
Out of sight quickly becomes out of mind. Up and visual is a proven technique to drive goal attainment.
Tip: Keep important information up and visible
There’s An APP for that
While there is an APP for just about anything, many of us can benefit simply by using the basic functions of your smart phone – Calendar, Notes, Reminders, and Voice Memo.
For example, setting reminders in your calendar for project deadlines. You can start with the deadline when the project must be completed and submitted, then work backward from there to set alerts for project components all along the way. You can even set additional notices to remind you to check on the progress, particularly if you are awaiting input from other people or teams. You’ll never be caught off-guard by a huge project again.
Tip: Leverage your SMART phone Calendar; Notes; Reminders and Voice Memo.
Use the 80/20 Rule
When creating time blocks, use the 80/20 Rule to organize your schedule. The 80/20 rule is based around the idea that 20% of your work tends to produce 80% of your results. Productive workers identify their most important 20% tasks and organize their workday around getting them done first and foremost. The rest can be handled later or delegated, automated or eliminated.
Each time block contains a single task and an allotted amount of time for completing it. As we know, work EXPANDS to the time allotted! Scheduling your most essential tasks for the morning (or at those times when you’re the most productive) is one habit the most productive have mastered.
For most of us reading this, your most productive time block is described with this acrostic: P.L.A.N. Prospecting, Lead generation, Appointments (setting and going on), and Negotiations.
Creating new appointments is your MONEYBALL. Knowing the number of appointments needed to drive your goal and working backward is a high value 80/20 rule activity.
Tip: Time block your high leverage activities. Stay out of the whirlwind.
Adopt a System for Follow Up
In business, following up with leads and clients is crucial to success. All the money is in follow up. Lack of organized communication costs more than you think. A recent study showed that 2,000 real estate agents lost 55% of past clients’ new business due to lack of follow up. Many real estate professionals have utilized customer relationship management systems (CRMs) that are used to follow up and keep leads, past clients, and other tasks focused and organized.
Tip: A strong focus on executing systems that make follow up a no brainer.
Multitasking is a big lie.
Contrary to popular belief, study after study shows that multitasking slows down a person’s productivity rather than speeds it up. It can also lead to all-around subpar results.
When we multitask, our brains can’t think in an organized way. We end up expending a lot of energy by switching our focus back and forth. Those that are highly productive recognize this and make it a habit to do one thing at a time. Even though their phone, for example, might be a vital part of your business, when something needs to get done, put all your focus – for a 45-minute time block – on the task at hand and put your device to the side in airplane mode. The same goes for all other distractors.
Tip: Singularity of focus for 45-minute or less time blocks (the average attention span for an adult)
Peter Drucker said it best, “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all. Until we can manage our time, we can manage nothing else.”