It’s personal confession time. I’ve had a spectacularly unproductive week. This is the first blog post I’ve written this week, and I got no products created, no new drawings for my coloring books, nothing. I don’t know if it’s the stress of the upcoming surgery or what, but my mind just refused to work this week.
Until today. I woke up at 6 a.m. without an alarm. I got my options all listed out for my brand new Kanban board, and by 9 a.m. I was ready to tackle the task I’d selected for today.
So what was different this morning? Well, it’s a holiday and so I didn’t have to get up and drive my son to work. I could start my day on my terms, as quickly or slowly as I wanted to.
The second thing is I stay up until about 1:30 a.m. last night watching Ed Dale’s videos on how to set up a Kanban board. I can’t wait to start learning more about this process because it makes sense for me. So much so that I watched 8 videos in one sitting… and I am not one for watching video.
So for today’s Friday Five, I thought I’d share a few productivity tips since I’m feeling so productive this morning.
Here are 5 uncomplicated ways to be more productive every day.
Productivity Tip #1 – Stop trying to be perfect!
Do you know how much energy it takes to always be perfect? I don’t know exactly, but for me the answer is way more than I have.
We all want our work to be done to best of our ability, but there’s a difference between doing a good job and getting it done, and needing it to be so perfect it never gets done.
If you can train yourself that “done is better than perfect” and allow yourself to complete a task and move on to the next one, you’re one step closer to a super productive day.
I know I have some things that I give way too much time and attention to, and you probably do too. Unless you’re creating a masterpiece, put the focus on finishing and getting that ticket done.
Productivity Tip #2 – Go old school with pen and paper
I know I’ve said this before, but pen and paper help you think better. It’s like once you write something down on paper, you have a record of it and your brain doesn’t have to stress about what to do with it anymore.
And there’s another reason directly related to Kanban that you should be using pen and paper…. It’s visual.
One big takeaway from the videos I watched was that to-do lists don’t work for low follow-through people. I know. I’ve tried, and I can’t make them stick. The best I can do is write out a to-do list every morning in my bullet journal, and maybe on a really good day I get to mark one, maybe two things complete on that list.
Having everything right there in front of me is already making a difference and my board has only been up on the wall for about 2 hours.
Productivity Tip #3 – Use a timer
Time is money, right. One of the reasons I’m unproductive some days is because I just get overwhelmed with how much there is to do and how little time there is to do it.
Except, when I use a timer I get a ton more done.
Why does this happen?
For one reason, using a timer provides an obvious stopping point. You don’t need to worry about how much time you have left because the timer will tell you when to be done.
It’s also easier to stay focused because you know you have a finite amount of time to focus on this one task. So if you’re doing something you really dislike, you know you only have to do it for 10 minutes or however long you set your timer for.
Productivity Tip #4 – Ditch the Distractions
It’s so easy to get distracted if you have your email or Facebook feed open. Or if your smart phone is within reach. More than once I’ve caught myself heading to Facebook to actually look up a link or something simple, and gotten lost in there for a half hour or more visiting groups and checking out everyone’s posts.
In order to be really productive, you have to find a way to ditch the distractions while you’re working. Turn off your phone, or at least turn it over so you can’t see the screen, shut the windows on your computer except for the one you’re actually using. If you don’t need to have a browser open, then don’t. It’s just too tempting!
Instead, allow yourself a five- or ten-minute reward for completing your task and then head over to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter to socialize.
Productivity Tip #5 – One thing at a time!
Research shows that it’s much more effective to focus on one task at a time. Complete one task before moving on to the next. The whole philosophy behind Kanban is to “start less, finish more”.
Instead of jumping from one task to the next without completing any of them, start one, finish it, and then move on. You will get more done, and you will see more success in your business because you’ll actually have finished products instead of a dozen half-finished projects on the go.
There’s nothing really earth-shattering here. These are mostly common sense ideas that you probably already knew. But reminders are always a good thing, since we always tend to make things harder than they have to be. (At least, I know I always do.)
Putting simple tips like these into practice can improve your productivity and make you feel better about your business and yourself.
To watch Ed’s Kanban videos, go here.
How do you stay productive? Share your tips in the comments.