21 Tips for Extra Spring Productivity

The clocks have gone forwards, the evenings are lighter and there’s a warm weather spring in your step. It’s the perfect time of year to improve your productivity, a happier time of year than New Year, when resolutions often go by the by and all you really want to do is hibernate.

Here are 21 tips for enhanced business productivity this spring. We’d love to hear yours, too. Feel free to  leave a comment.

  1. Change your routine. A change is often as good as a rest. If you’ve spent the last five years hurling yourself straight into task A first thing in the morning, why not rebel against yourself and tackle task B first instead? You might find the simplest change in your routine has a positive effect on productivity.
  2. Take a lunch hour every day, or at least half an hour, and go for a brisk walk instead of sitting at your desk 9-5 breathing the same stale air and getting a numb backside. You’ll return refreshed and raring to go.
  3. Know whether you’re a night owl, early bird or regular nine-to-fiver. Do the most important things when you are at your freshest and most incisive. Leave the easy-peasy routine stuff when your brain has turned into lettuce.
  4. Steer clear of massive ‘to do’ lists. Keep your goals achievable and you’ll be much more likely to tick everything off in a reasonable timescale as well as feeling like you’re in control.
  5. Don’t get mired down with multi-tasking when doing things in a linear fashion might actually work better, be faster and more efficient. If you’re not sure which works best, test it and see.
  6. Make elephant sandwiches. While you can’t eat an entire elephant at once, elephant sandwiches make it easier. The same goes for complex jobs and big tasks.
  7. Slow down. Speed can be a false economy. You might find you get more done if you chill a bit, or do a better job first time around.
  8. Is there anything you can stop doing altogether? Be honest with yourself and strip out all the unnecessary if enjoyable things you tend to get mired in.
  9. Steer clear of social media unless you’re using them for work. The less time you waste messing around and distracting yourself, the more productive you can be.
  10. Put friends and family off calling or emailing you during working hours. There’s a time and place for socialising, and work isn’t it. If your work mobile is driving you mad, file it in a drawer while you’re busy. If it’s your personal phone, turn it off altogether for the day. It’s quite enough having to answer work calls when you’re busy, never mind personal ones.
  11. Have a refreshing mini-break at the end of each task, even if it’s just a stroll up and down the stairs or a brief circumnavigation of the office.
  12. Be nice to yourself. Beating yourself up isn’t helpful. Try being positive instead. It’ll help you do more and enjoy it more.
  13. Check your emails at pre-defined times of day rather than hopping to and fro’. 9am, noon and 5pm are good times, allowing you to answer messages in good time without interrupting your flow so frequently you never get anything done.
  14. The same goes for phone calls. Set aside a time of day when you call people back rather than letting it spread through the day.
  15. Be firm yet polite with telesales people. If you make it clear you’re busy and they don’t listen, it’s OK to gently put the phone down on them without further ado. They’re being rude, and you’re reacting reasonably to their rudeness.
  16. Avoid information overload. Define what you really need to know and stick with it. You could spend the rest of your life finding stuff out and never get a thing done, and that’s not business. That’s academia.
  17. Step away from the interweb at weekends, or at least give yourself an entire day away from your screen each week.
  18. If you feel overwhelmed, go for a walk or have a change of scene. Then come back, jot down a list of sensible priorities and put the rest off for another day. The very act of changing the scenery will make things clearer and easier to handle.
  19. Look after your physical, mental and emotional health. Everyone performs better when they’re happy, fit, healthy and well-rested.
  20. Work 9-5 to maximise your impact. Now and again it’s OK. But habitually working long hours is one of the best ways to become less productive and less effective, make bad judgements and poor decisions.
  21. Acquire a positive mental attitude. If you’re a natural pessimist, train yourself to be more positive – it’ll have an impact on every single thing you do.
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