Ooops, there… I said it!
Everyone is always banging on about productivity. I guess because it’s a big part of being effective in your business, and in life!
For me, productivity starts the minute I wake up
The morning, before we start work, is the ‘mise en place‘ to our day. If we don’t start out right, with a bit of personal prep, the day could land in a big mess. Certainly, our coping skills are reduced if we are sluggish and still have yesterday’s stress wrapped up inside of us.
Some people call it ‘their morning ritual‘. Others, their morning routine.
There are many articles on the net with successful people’s morning rituals from which you can draw inspiration.
It’s good to know what these people do, but the questions is, why are they doing it?
For me the answer is simple; if I take care of myself in the morning, I can effectively take care of others during the rest of the day.
My morning ritual it looks like this
- 30 mins – cross-trainer (about 3000 steps, depends on how much I push myself)
- 20 mins – yoga of different sorts / core strength / pilates
- 10 mins meditation (either focusing on breath, chanting, guided meditation, or the classic…observing my thoughts…argh!)
And if I feel like I need more stretch time, I use the 10mins of meditation to continue stretching, but with as-deep-a-meditative-focus as possible. Yes, that is the point of yoga anyway I know, but hey, we can’t do things 100 percent right all the time 😉 Let’s cut ourselves some slack!
I make sure my morning practice happens as efficiently as possible. No messing about in between the above 3 things. In fact, like below (my schedule) I have the above 3 things set out in time slots. It helps me to keep focused to know I need to have each segment finished by a certain time. And I have my yoga mat and laptop set up in the evening ready for my morning practice.
*TAKE AWAY* – If I start with a healthy body and a clear-as-possible-mind, I will be able to manage my day better an be more productive.
Then, I follow my schedule
The stated times below are all ‘ish’ times. So I generally finish the schedule blow around 11.45.
- 9.30 – 10 Social media (on 2 businesses)
- 10 – 10.30 Massage business admin
- 10.30-11.30 Webmistress project management (reply to client emails and setting up meetings etc)
- Then I do anything related to Webmistress; be it client work or ‘on the business’ work, client meetings. I also squeeze in “on the massage business” work here
- Anytime between 1 and 3 I take a break AND I LEAVE MY OFFICE (most days) to get another 5000 steps in. This is an important part of the day to ensure I am productive in the latter part of the day. I also take regular mirco-breaks to move my body and keep my mind sharp
- I have certain days or blocks of time set aside for other things; e.g. today from 11.45-5.30 is a blogging/article writing day (I’ve just added this one to my schedule). Sometimes I have a blogging buddy with me. And on Wednesday I massage at Neal’s Yard in Bath from 2-6pm
When I first devised a plan like this it gave me the most enormous sense of freedom. I could not believe it! It seems having structure creates space. Ironic huh!
This structure helps …
- me to know what I’m doing and when
- it helps clients to know when I am available and for what
- it ensures I maintain all aspects of my businesses
- my PA Anne-Marie to know when is best for meeting times
- I seldom get to the end of the day feeling stressed
- …there are many more reasons…
If I don’t fix a time for massage admin, I forget to book my clients in for their next massage, or don’t reply to their email, or don’t follow up on how they are doing, I don’t like up any marketing drives etc. Not good business practice! Especially in a caring profession.
If I don’t fix a time to reply to client emails for Webmistress, I’ll never manged to get through them all.
*TAKE AWAY* – Setting times to do certain things makes certain you will get things done and you will be more productive whilst doing grouped tasks. Sorry, that’s a bad sentence, but you get my meaning.
I don’t let myself get disturbed – I stay focused…
…or as focused as humanly possible!
Wow, let me count the ways that I can get disturbed and distracted. But, I’ve minimised that as much as possible.
- No desktop notifications for email or social media
- No sound alerts for email or social media
- No answering text messages while I’m supposed to be doing something else
I’ll check in with the above 3 in the appropriate window.
- When I am writing an email and I perhaps need to dip into Facebook to check something relevant, I do my damnedest to ignore all those red notifications calling me to be distracted. And if I do get distracted by a cute little cat video or a positive slogan, I try to bring myself back as quick as possible
- If my phone rings and I recognise the number, I don’t answer…I’ll call them back in the appropriate window
- If my phone rings and it’s a number my phone does not recognise, I do answer if I feel it’s appropriate to my timings that day, and then I explain I’m in the middle of something and what would be the most appropriate time to call them back. And even if it’s a potential new business call, sometimes I just don’t answer. That’s what voicemail is for.
For example, right now as I type this blog, if the phone rings, or I get a text message (which I have), I will not answer.
If I answer, I’ll land up in a call for however long, then I’ll have to send an email as a result of the call, then I’ll see other emails and reply to them, which will lead me to Facebook etc etc. Suddenly it will be 5.30 and I would not have finished this blog post. And if I didn’t have another blog window set up in the future, I would definitely not finish it.
*TAKE AWAY* – If I allow myself to be disturbed, I will forever chase my tail and not work productively and effectively…and I’ll never get to the end of anything! Or, framed in the positive… If I stay focused, I can work effectively and productively. I can finish my tasks set out, feeling free and easy about it all.
Using the right set of tools to be more productive
I’m still meeting people in business who are using filo faxes. In order to be more productive, we must rid ourselves of paper diaries and notebooks or scraps of paper. You know where those land up! 😉
We have smartphones. Use them, but don’t let them use you!
When I go to a workshop, I make all my notes on my phone. Low and behold, a few months later I will be sitting on a long distance train and think “oh cool, I’ve got 3 hours, I can read those notes from my last workshop”. If the notes were sitting in a notebook on my desk…um, need I say more.
I am a google girl. I have a google phone and I use Google Suite for my email and business communications, document writing and to do lists. This allows me to work collaboratively with by PA and other contractors. You want something, no problem, it’s always at the end of my fingertips, no matter where I am.
Because I have different fingers in different pies, I have around 5 email accounts, all associated with their own GSuite account. Even my personal email is a GSuite account. I can flick through anything, anywhere, anytime. OMG, it makes me sooooo happy and productive. Love Google!
*TAKE AWAY* – If we are stuck in the dark ages of paper and pens, or we are not suing the right tools, we are limiting our productivity. Or, in the positive, embrace technology and use it to your advantage!
Do you have any productivity tips for us?
Please share your thoughts below, we’d love to hear how you mange your time effectively.
Can I help you to be more productive?
If you feel you would like to become a Google Girl or a Google Boy and become more productive, then please get in touch as well. I can’t tell you how much I love helping my clients get this kind of effective business system going!
Right, now, as it’s my blogging a day, I’m changing hats and going to write a massage blog piece 🙂 All things being well, I’ll get it done in this window. Hold thumbs!