How to Boost Your Productivity in 3 Effective Ways
Last Updated: July 16, 2020
Managing your daily workflow presents a challenge to many professionals in all industries.
There is no one answer to combating low productivity and it differs depending on your job. However, there are a few broad trends that determine the effectiveness of your workflow.
In this article I’ll give you the following three tips to help you improve your strategy and get more out of each day:
Maintain a good lifestyle
Use the right tools
Put processes in place
Let’s look at these simple, but effective, tips in more detail.
Productivity tip #1: Look after yourself and you’ll look after your work
The first and most obvious step is to look at the kind of behaviors your daily routine is couched in.
When we talk about our daily workflows we’re normally talking about our professional lives. However, our professional lives are a smaller part of a bigger picture. If you want to be successful in work you need to look after yourself as a person.
If you’re into football (soccer), you’ll see a consistent trend across different top managers. Both Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough would encourage their players to get married at a very early age. They felt that having their players settle down made them better professionals. Something about having a consistent home life and kids to factor into their daily routine helped make the players more consistent in their approach to work and daily performance.
If you don’t have kids, I’m not advocating that you should do so simply to gain consistency. But, you should appreciate the benefits of a healthy diet and a good night’s sleep – something a lack of kids will help with.
Simple tasks like drinking a lot of water and eating carbohydrate-rich foods at lunch can make surprising differences to your productivity. If you’re struggling to maintain a daily workflow, the first step is to look at the environment you expect that workflow to exist in and to ask yourself whether that environment is conducive to a good workflow.
It will be hard to work well if you eat crap all the time. If you struggle with daily to-dos, create a dynamic QR Code that can be updated daily and link it to a checklist of tasks you have to accomplish.
Productivity tip #2: Use the right tools and your workflow will thank you
There are a series of tools that can help you get more done.
Partly, this depends on whether you work alone or whether you rely on the input of others to get your work done.
If you generally work alone – lucky you – your first step, before tackling the kind of process management we’ll come to later, is to find ways to improve your productivity. When I used to work in a sales position, I found that productivity techniques like the Pomodoro method were very useful for improving my flow.
The Pomodoro technique involves 25 minutes of work with a 5-minute break. If you’re a real evangelist, you will stick to this structure no matter what. Maybe you’re sending the most important email of your life and suddenly the timer goes off. The Pomodoro hardcore-subscriber would stop writing the email and take a 5-minute break.
This kind of structured approach is great if you’re working in a reaction-based environment like sales. It both primes you to get your best work done and forces you to take breaks and not get too obsessed.
However, it is not massively useful when you’re working as a writer. When you have a window in which you want to write an article, you often spend a lot of time not getting all of your writing done and then find a short burst of beauty where all the ideas come to you and you become a master wordsmith.
Use focus apps to maintain concentration
Forcing yourself to take breaks in those moments of genius is not a good idea. A better tool for writers, and for everyone, is something like Focus@will. This fun little app provides you with a series of playlists that contain focus music; lyric-free tracks that tend to build and generate energy.
Many team members of mine swear by Focus@will and I also enjoy their services. For me, it’s useful for getting into the zone of working. Once I’m there, I then like to switch to silence in front of a window with the sun beaming in.
Each to their own.
Work with collaboration tools to get tasks done
Do you sometimes get to the end of the day and wonder what you’ve done? You swear you’ve been super busy, but it feels like you’ve achieved nothing?
For most people, a large part of the day is spent chasing people for answers, waiting for information from colleagues, and hustling the team for progress updates. Whether you’re office-based or remote, working with people can often seem counter-productive.
Especially if you work remotely which, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, you more than likely are.
Working in different countries across different time zones, or even working in different parts of the same country, can really put the breaks on your productivity.
From group discussions, file sharing, and online video conferencing, there are tons of productive business tools out there that make team collaboration easier than ever.
Use task management tools to manage workloads
Simple but effective tools like Trello or Asana, are incredibly useful for managing tasks. They are designed to help you manage your own workload while also enabling you to keep track of where your team is with their tasks. This helps people work together as it encourages transparency and means you don’t need to chase your team for updates.
Use communication tools to connect with your team
Using communication tools like Slack or Hipchat can help reduce the time spent trying to connect with your team. These communication tools allow you to communicate with people in real-time. It’s easy to send and receive messages, you can communicate within and across teams, you can mention one another on updates and host conversations, in context, around certain projects or tasks.
Use cloud storage tools to share information
Cloud storage tools are brilliant for safely storing files that can be accessed from any device in any location. Tools like GDrive or OneDrive will improve efficiency and productivity by making the sharing of information quicker and easier. No more waiting for someone to send you the document you need, you can access it for yourself in the cloud.
Efficient, easy to use collaboration tools will keep teams on track, help people work together, and will boost your performance within a team.
If you want to see a breakdown of some of the best team tools, check out this video:
How you organize yourself to work within that team is a different matter.
Productivity tip #3: Make a process for everything you do more than twice
We have a system and a culture over at Process Street which is almost obnoxious in its ubiquity.
We love processes and adore the effectiveness which comes from them. This results in us making processes for any and every task. Our general rule is that you should make a process for anything you do more than twice. This way, you think about how best to do it and ensure that the path of best practice is followed every time in the future.
Having a daily checklist to follow means that you can restructure your learned behavior – in the context of daily workflows.
Normally a process takes what you currently know and makes sure it’s replicated. However, within a reorganizing of daily workflows, a process can be even more powerful.
By laying out step by step what you want to accomplish, you can define how you want to operate.
Are you spending too long at lunch? Are you reading your emails first thing in the morning? Are you wasting time going over and above the call of duty for research?
Whatever you’re doing, you can redefine it by creating a daily checklist or series of checklists to define your actions and ensure you follow them. If you want control over your daily schedule, this is the best way to guarantee that!
Check out this video to see how a daily checklist can supercharge your day:
Go forth and be productive!
Make sure you’re helping yourself and your productivity by looking after yourself. I love McDonald’s as much as anyone – my office is next to and above one – but if you’re eating it every day and not sleeping well, you’re not going to get work done as well as you could.
Make sure you’re using the right tools to help maximize your productivity. Whether for team organization or personal productivity.
Make sure you build processes to define your daily workflows. If you add structure to your life and your actions, you’ll be much more likely to behave in the ways you want yourself to behave.
It’s that simple.
Ignore articles that tell you: “Learn This One Trick to Being 9736% More Productive”.
Reality is more simple and more based on repeating positive progress. Best of luck!