The year 2020 has been an ordeal for all of us. With the global pandemic ravaging lives, it has changed the face of life. Disrupting our lives right from personal to professional, covid-19 has created havoc that will echo for a long time. Reportedly, 1.6 billion learners are currently disrupted, 40 million to 60 million people expected to be hit by extreme poverty, and much more extremities. So, if you have lived the past year successfully, kudos to you. Now is the time. Take a moment and pat your shoulders for living it up with that fighting spirit. Looking back at your moments of overwhelm last year, it’s natural to have your past year's to-do list brimming with a pending list.
All those vacations you planned for yourself. You set to achieve the professional goals but lost track of them amid depression, procrastination, and productivity loss. To top it all, the unsurmountable number of entertainment that the OTT platforms had to offer during this global crisis.
It is easy to get distracted. However, with the new year just at your doorstep, it is time to finish all your unfinished business. Chin up. Let's start with the root cause—the mother of all of your problems, ‘productivity crisis’.
The following are a few easy hacks on how you can be more productive in 2021.
Accept it. If you be more productive, you have to ace time management skills.
Following are a few techniques to achieve this broad goal.
One of the best ways to achieve so is to start by prioritizing tasks. Here's the thing.
Use the Eisenhower matrix. Braindump of all your tasks of a week together in one place. Follow up by categorizing them into 4 quadrants based on 2 metrics: value and priority (as shown in figure 1.0). Tasks that fall under Q I shall be on your top priority, followed by Q II, Q IV, Q III, respectively. This means the tasks that neither have urgency nor add immediate value can be put aside for the time being. For the tasks that have urgency but add low value, you can always delegate them to someone else. This will ensure steady productivity and workflow. You can always use checklists and templates to get this job done as quickly as possible.
This is another effective methodology to be more productive. Separate your tasks based on similarity and assign each of the categories a particular time to perform. Pro Tip: Stacking prioritization and batching simultaneously can prove to be immensely helpful for managing time effectively.
Another one of the most efficient ways of managing tasks. Multitasking is history. Today, focusing on 1 job at a time, you can make sure to get the best of both worlds, quality and quantity. To make it darn simple, you can use a calendar like the G-cal to block time sections.
It is one thing to be more productive and entirely another to improve productivity for long working hours. This methodology can solve this burnout problem effectively. When working on a complicated set of tasks, work on a burst of 25 minutes while taking a gap of 5 minutes. Again, after you complete 4 complete cycles of such bursts, you can take a long gap. This will help you to stay focused longer and retain quality standards.
Lastly, never fail to measure the effects of the changes that you make in your daily process. Remember, it is the delta changes you make that create impactful and sustainable progress in your efficiency.
Using the lean methodology for optimizing your time can prove to be the best possible way to see significant improvement in your productivity levels.
Adapting the lean approach of waste reduction and value-added activity, you can set your goals based on what truly matters. It can also help you declutter yourself.
When you feel yourself in between too many opened windows, just hit refresh. That one simple step improves the problem of procrastination, irritation, and adverse situations.
There is possibly nothing that a well-thought strategy cannot improve. Your productivity goals, too, can benefit from the same.
It is vital that you give yourself some slack. Think about the broader goals and divide them into shorter ones utilizing SMART goals.
SMART goals are based on 5 metrics: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-constraint.
Putting up hyper-specific goals is way more precise and actionable. For instance, achieving higher sales makes sense but doesn't put a success metric. On the contrary, reaching 30% higher sales is much more demystified. Putting up time constraints, contextual and practical goals makes sure that you move steadily and sustainably.
In today's pandemic situation where work-life has already become heavily dependent on technology. So utilizing the same to be more productive sounds like both a feasible and optimum option. Use cloud data storage to store every planner template and checklist you create for yourself. You can use cloud calendars like Google calendar and to-do lists and productivity trackers like Toggl to easily map your performance. You can use cloud software systems to make the most of your time.
Pro Tip: Utilise the power of technology combined with collaboration to grow your productivity exponentially. Teamwork has been the secret sauce of successful projects all the way. But, now is the time to test it. Thus taking a technology-heavy approach to solving your problems can hack your time and make you do more in less time.
Pro Tip: Invest in reliable and 360 technology that makes your work easy and, most importantly, hassle-free.
Be open to collaboration. There is no alternative to the help that you can get from hiring a team of skilled freelancers to finish your jobs in time.
For example, if you are developing your brand, hiring a freelance graphic designer or a team of designers can help you be more productive in no time. Further, it frees up your time enabling you to focus on the core business while domain experts finish up your work. In collaborating like this, keeping your rights and intellectual property safe is super important. A viable option here is opting for a soft copy of a logo design contract for venturing into vendor partnerships.
Again, the effectiveness of your daily productivity directly correlates with your communication system’s effectiveness. Thus, it is one of the most prioritized drills in any business that focuses on sustainable growth. Instant, concise, and clear communication at work can make your project agile in no time. You can efficiently reduce friction and get everyone on the same page by adapting to the agile process.
Using a standard communication procedure throughout your organization can help you pass a lot of hurdles. It is inconvenient to drop an email to ask a simple question or share a file via WhatsApp messaging. Plus, having set communication channels for particular kinds of communication transactions can ensure the smoothest and fastest connectivity levels and collaboration between your team members.
Slack, Zoom, GoToWebinar, Gmail are some of the best ways to ensure you are connected all the time. When you have to connect over a one-on-one meeting, Zoom or GoToWebinar works seamlessly. However, if you are to share files in between your teammates using your official mail accounts and cloud storage platform is the most optimum method. In other cases, Slack can add in a lot of value where you need a prompt answer.
In case you have a bundle of frequently asked questions inside your organization, Confluence, a cloud-based wiki software app by the Australian company, Atlassian can bring in a lot of value. It can automate the whole process without much discussion.
Perform the most critical or unpleasant job of your day first. It will give you a sense of achievement throughout the day.
Set aside a particular area for work. It is always advisable to prepare a workplace to create an ambience that enables productivity. If required, you can use colors and plants that can psychologically boost you towards achieving more.
You need to unwind your brains from the heavy workload sometimes. To know more, you have to go one step backward. Adapt to the habit of unlearning what you already know and update it with new, improved information.
As they say, love what you do, do what you love. Stick to the mantra. Do not forget to enjoy your work. It is super important that you always keep room for making your work relaxed and fun.
Set a daily exercise goal for yourself. With the sedentary lifestyle taking a toll on your everyday life, it is super important to keep up with your physical health. Get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise. You can intensify it gradually till 300 minutes.
Every strategy to be more productive schools down to one thing, mindfulness. It all starts with how self-aware you are. Plus, it is always advisable to take some me-time out for yourself each day. Self-care is something that you always need, especially at this moment of crisis. Every goal of yours can be nailed if you are your fittest and happiest self. Make sure you never skip on working on your physical and mental health. Keep aside an hour or more for yourself. Pamper yourself and relax. It is what will truly help you unleash your productivity and the best version of yourself.
Share in the Comments section below what are some of your ideas to make 2021 be more productive.