We all have 24 hours in a day. Do you always make the best out of your time? I’m guessing not. Or you wouldn’t be here! I’m going to share seven productivity hacks that get me through the day. So, if you need to do more in less time, stick around. I’ve got you covered.
People always ask me questions about how much I get done in a day and they always seem to be quite amazed by the number of projects I get through. All whilst having an *almost* five year old in tow half of the time. So, I thought I would share my productivity hacks with you, in the hope that it will help you do more in less time too.
Productivity hacks: #1
The first thing I’m going to talk about is having routines. Routines make it really easy to complete tasks without having to think about them to much. Now, some of us are busy Mama’s and the less we have to think the better. There’s so much going on that we just need to hit the ground running. If you have a routine you know the exact order that you do things in a day and this is always the same. You’ll then get into this habit and you won’t have to actually think about what you’re going to do next. Saving time and brain power! Winner!
Productivity hacks: #2
This leads me into the next productivity hack, which is using a calendar to plan ahead. The format of your calendar is up to you. It could be on the computer, on your phone, or written down using good old pen and paper. The method is not important, what is important is that you have a calendar AND use it.
A lot of the most successful people in the world attribute meticulous planning to part of their success. They block their calendar and they diarise EVERYTHING. They put in breaks, time for lunch, everything will go into their calendar apart from loo breaks! Everything is accounted for, which keeps them on track. This is really, really important. You might think, ‘I haven’t got time to write everything down in my calendar’, but that’s a bit of a cop out because it doesn’t take that long. Quite often you can replicate one day onto the next day or at least parts of the day. Time block everything, so that you know exactly what you’re doing and when. You will know when you finish this task that you’re going to move on to X task. No mindless scrolling of social media while you try to figure out what your next task is.
Productivity hacks: #3
The next thing I want to talk about is batching. I’m pretty sure you’ve probably heard other people talking about batching. It’s not a new thing, but it’s really, really important. As Mamas, we do think we can do everything and to some degree we have to do multiple things at the same time. You might have to produce an invoice for a client and you’ve got your kid hanging off you. However, multitasking is the devil. We need to focus on one task at a time to eliminate context switching.
Context switching is when we move from one task to another task. We often think we can work on three or four tasks at the same time. What actually happens is we lose 20% of time and focus each time we switch. Imagine your checking your emails, then you move to looking at facebook, then you go back to your emails. Often this switching can leave us trying to remember what we were doing and where we had got up to. Batching means spending a chunk of time on a particular task before moving on. For example, I might decide to record a couple of months worth of videos all in one day. When we’ve done one video we’re in the zone and the other flow easier. The equipment set up only needs to be done once and also we’ve probably put our make up on (just record a few and change your top!).
Then I might get all of the videos edited one day too. Obviously, you can’t always do that. If you’re taking pictures of a day out, then that’s not going to work. But the majority of your stuff can be batched and you will be very well advised to take that philosophy and start batching.
Productivity hacks: #4
Next up is prioritisation. You need to really figure out what your prioritise are. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve been busy all day, but that I haven’t done anything meaningful. Did I do anything that will make a difference in my business? It’s really important to think about what you do and make sure you do something each day that will move the needle forward in your business. Whether that’s working with brands or producing your own products, make sure you’re focusing on that even if it’s for 15 minutes a day.
Productivity hacks: #5
Everyone is really reluctant to even think about my next hack, outsourcing. My life has changed considerably since I hired an awesome Virtual Assistant, but you don’t even need to commit to this level. I often hear that people are struggling with a task, whether that is a tech issue or a design problem and they’re spending hours trying to resolve it. This is not productive or cost-effective. If this happens to me I outsource it.
Whether you want to hIre a Virtual Assistant, as I do, for a set number of hours every week. Or maybe you want to try a service like Fiverr or People Per Hour and hire someone on an ad-hoc basis. It will help so much. Often I get tech issues fixed super quickly and for less than £4!
Sometimes we think we can’t outsource something that we can physically do ourselves, we can’t afford to spend our money on this task. However, just because we can do it doesn’t mean we should do it. Just because you can fix all of your broken links or you can do your social media shares. If someone else can do it for a fraction of the cost that it would in terms of your hourly rate, then it makes sense to outsource it. I’ve even persuaded people that they need a cleaner, because if they pay their cleaner 10 pound an hour, but they know they can earn 20 pound an hour. Then it’s not actually cost effective to do their own cleaning! Worth bearing in mind!
Productivity hacks: #6
Now, let’s talk about systems and processes. If you find yourself doing a task regularly then you need to find a way to automate it, so it can be done automatically with little or no intervention from you. Analyse what you’re doing in a day and think of anything that comes up that you do again and again. So for me, I’m a big keyboard shortcut person. I’ve got so many text short cuts and I also use Alfred, which make copying and pasting so much faster.
Tasks which repeat, but which can’t be automated need to be systematised. You have a template every time a brand responds to you. Then you can drop it in and tweak it. I also use Zapier and If This Then That, both of which have cool automations.
Productivity hacks: #7
There are so many tools out there that can really help you be productive. However, you’re only going to benefit from them if you use them. A couple of my favourite tools at the moment are, Airtable, which is the result of spreadsheets and Asana having a baby… picture it? Well, that’s Airtable – colourful spreadsheets with a database attached.
Even though I digitally plan, I don’t think anything beats writing things down. I’ve got the Smart Life Push Journal, which is Chalene Johnson’s planner and I’m loving it at the moment. In the past I’ve had the Passion Planner and lots of other ones. The key is to find tools that work for you and then use them!
That’s my seven productivity hack that will ACTUALLY work. I hope something in that you can take and incorporate into your own routine. What really matters is how focused we are on our tasks. It’s not about cramming more into the time, so that we can do more. It’s being more effective and efficient in the time we have, so we can relax more or spend more time with our family.
If you’d rather watch a video here you go!
What’s your favourite productivity hack?