Thursday, 29 March 2012
Be more productive - part one
I'm like a human sponge at the moment... I've been listening to lots of inspiring business podcasts recently in my spare time. Well I say spare time, I should rephrase that as 'time when I can't really do anything else' like whilst driving to work on a morning. I've been really inspired and I've picked up loads of tips and I wanted to share some of the really useful ones with you.
I'm always looking for ways to be more productive as I only have limited time each week to spend on my business, due to other commitments such as my other job. So having two days a week plus some evenings I always want to use the time I do have to be as productive as possible.
Once you start thinking about it there are lots of easy, clever ways you can save time and become more productive so I'm going to share one of these with you every week for the next few, or until I run out of things to say!! And I'll only share the things that have worked for me so far in my business so you will know they are 'tried and tested'!
Number one on my list, and something that I find always helps me, is to plan my workload for the next day. If you know me at all, you will know that I like my lists (possibly to the point of obsession, this makes me sound a bit of a control freak, but I'm not, honestly, I AM quite normal!!) My pre-written plan gives me a lot more focus and direction and I find that starting the day with a clear idea of what needs to be achieved is so helpful to me. There have been countless times in the past when I haven't done this and I would go up to the studio, cup of tea in hand, thinking of the day stretching ahead of me and all I could achieve, only to sit down at my desk with not an idea of what I was going to do. I would then spend the rest of the morning procrastinating, starting the get frustrated at my lack of action, which would then end up with me accomplishing nothing! Does this sound familiar?
Your plan could be made in several ways, and there a few things you might want to take into account as you don't want it to become a never ending list that you will never complete, trust me, this can be really demoralising. You need to be realistic and also recognise that sometimes things do take a lot longer than we think they will!
You could make your day plan task orientated, so very much split into things you need to do (go to the post office, bank, print an order, finish a painting etc) or you could split your plan into chunks of time you will spend on 'project work'. This would mean instead of having one long list that you may not even get halfway down you could plan your morning to spend x time on Project A and after that spend allocated time on Project B. If you then break down each project into smaller tasks this makes them seem so much more manageable. You just have to find what's right for you and stick with that.
I know a very lovely lady who works as a Graphic Designer and she has a fantastic system in place where she plans her whole week out in this way. She say that it keeps her focussed and in control of her time. I also know someone else who has planned out a lot of her coming year. I can't say that this is something I would want to try but maybe it could work for me.
Whats' the age old saying... 'Fail to plan, plan to fail'... definitely true and if you plan your time well you will be left over with much needed down time, to spend however you so desire, friends, family, on your own, reading, walking, cooking or just being spontaneous.
I'd love to hear from you and the things you do to make your days more productive and I'm always opne to new usggestions and ideas for ways to be more productive myself. Do you plan ahead or do you do what you feel like at the time?