So, the clocks have moved forward!
First implemented in the UK in May 1916, daylight savings time is aimed at maximising the use of sunlight and conserving energy. Unfortunately, today’s proliferation of electronic devices means the actual energy savings are negligible, but we do get to enjoy more time in natural daylight out of the house after work, exercising, or just relaxing in the sunshine. (you can read more about the pros and cons of daylight savings in this article by TimeandDate.com)
With the sun now rising and setting an hour later in the day, the early birds may feel like they’ve lost an hour of productive time, while the night owls celebrate that extra hour at the end of the day.
How you view this form of time travel will likely depend on your productivity rhythms. Are you most energetic early in the day, kick-starting the day with vigour and positivity? Or do you do your best work when the rest of the world starts to wind down?
Does the early bird always get the worm?
There is no right or wrong time to harness your productivity. What is key, is recognising when your motivation is at its highest and then planning your time accordingly.
What I find works well for me, and the team is that we tend to schedule the tasks that we don’t really enjoy doing for when we’re at our best; when our performance is at its peak; when we’re full of energy, and when we’re ready to take on the world. We then reward ourselves by scheduling the tasks that we love doing for when our energy is at its lowest, for when we’re feeling the day is dragging on a bit, and we need to boost our productivity through this dip by making work fun.
For example, I noticed that if I do the account work early in the morning when I’m at my freshest and most alert, I can have that done by mid-morning. I can then move on to stuff that I thoroughly enjoy doing like brainstorming with clients and helping them to develop strategies to overcome some of their challenges.
Spark your Productivity
Here are some other bright ideas to spark your productivity:
- Toss it. If the task doesn’t actually need to be done, then let it go. Don’t waste time and energy on something that is not going to make a difference either way.
- Set a goal each day. Even better, plan your day the night before. Be clear on what you will achieve the next day and prioritise accordingly. Research has shown that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Once you have a sense of direction, you have a better chance of getting things done! (Here are 7 more reasons why you should write your goals down)
- Remove distractions. Turn off your mobile phone, mute your notifications, only check your emails twice a day. I know this sounds pretty impossible to do when we have become so reliant on, and reactive to, instant communication but it will free up your mind to focus on the task at hand. It takes on average 25 minutes to regain your concentration after a distraction. Think about it, two distractions a day and you’ve almost lost an hour of productivity!
- Do similar tasks at the same time. Be laser-focused about what you will be doing for the next hour. Clear up your Inbox all at once or make all your calls before 10 am. Not only will it be satisfying, but you will also waste less time jumping between tasks and failing to give any of them your full attention.
- Set blocks of time aside. Break your larger projects down into a series of manageable, step-by-step mini-tasks and allocate time throughout your day or week to achieve each of these mini-tasks. It will make the overall task feel easier to complete and help you manage your concentration more effectively.
- Delegate some of your work. Lack of delegation is the thief of time. Keep a time diary for a few days and analyse how much of your time is spent doing work that someone else potentially has the capacity and the skills to do. It’s not a weakness to ask for support; use your team’s time and talents wisely to ramp up efficiencies and ultimately business success.
- Set a deadline. This may sound obvious but all too often we fail to set definitive deadlines or hold ourselves accountable for meeting those deadlines. If the task doesn’t feel necessary, we all have a tendency to procrastinate and push challenging projects aside in favour of other activities (or excuses). I highly recommend reading Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy if you have a habit of putting things off till tomorrow, every day!
So, I have a question for you, how can you rearrange your day to be more productive and effective?
And if you want to find more about how to effectively manage your To-Do list, have a read of my article on the 4Ds or get in touch for a gifted discovery coaching session.