How to improve your work productivity
Finding enough hours in the day to get everything done can be a challenge for SME owners.
There are endless stories and articles about famous entrepreneurs who get up at 5am, perhaps start their day with a yoga or gym session or employ any number of variations on the starting the day theme that they argue makes them productive.
But what works well for one individual may not be appropriate for another. Some people need eight hours of sleep while others are happy with just four or five hours.
Some people are more effective and productive at some point in the morning, for others it may be in the middle of the afternoon.
The secret to being more productive at work, according to researchers, is to start the day with a plan, and to target your most productive part of the day to prioritise urgent, difficult or important tasks.
According to Christopher Barnes, associate professor of management at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business “people take a few hours from when they wake up to reach peak mental acuity”.
So, if you know where that point comes for you, you should incorporate it into your plan for the day. Perhaps start the day with simple admin tasks, prioritising the in-tray, checking the e-mail and dealing with internal memos until you are at your most alert.
You can also set time limits for these routine tasks to ensure you are not swamped by non-essentials.
It is also important in planning to limit the number of goals you may want to set for the day.
Productivity coach Jeff Sanders recommends setting no more than one or two main goals per day. He also argues that your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, so suggests ““The best way to start is that intentional practice of saying, I’m not going to let the day distract me. I’m going to have my goals, my priorities” and that this helps stop you from becoming distracted by other things as the day progresses.