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The Answer To Getting Things Done When You Have Too Much To Do

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The Answer To Getting Things Done When You Have Too Much To Do

I always find it interesting that when push comes to shove, we can squash a whole month’s worth of work into less days than usual when there is a definite cut off point; be that upcoming festivities, or a well deserved holiday. So, how do you find the discipline to focus on what needs to be achieved? We all know it’s easy to run around like a headless chicken and achieve nothing!

The answer lies in every business coach’s favourite buzzword: improving productivity! 

I’m sure reading that induced many eye rolls, and I don’t blame anyone for that reaction. We harp on about being productive, and it can feel tedious. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed with an ever-growing workload, you need some processes to manage that. Because it’s just as much about doing less, as doing more. 

So today I’m sharing 5 simple, actionable tips that will immediately help improve your productivity so you get the important tasks off your to-do list for good. 

How does poor productivity affect your business?

As a trades and construction business, poor productivity has a negative impact beyond your bottom line. It can also affect your reputation and overall customer experience—two things that are crucial for businesses like yours to thrive.

When you’re not as productive as you could be, it means you’re wasting time on things that don’t need to happen. This means you don’t have enough time to focus on the important tasks that will make the difference between your company thriving or struggling.

The productivity level you sit at sets the bar for the rest of your team. Poor productivity levels in your team can cause delays in project completion, which means more money spent on overtime and delayed income, a higher turnover of employees, and increased risks of injury, which takes workers off the job for days or even weeks at a time (and potentially leads to expensive legal fees).

How you work, and the processes you set up, will dictate how productive your business is. It all starts with YOU.

delegating tasks2

The 5 productivity hacks to help you get more done.

Hack #1: Setting SMART goals

Setting SMART goals is the best way to ensure you’re moving in the right direction, because it allows you to set a target and keep track of your progress. What gets measured gets managed.

What does SMART stand for?

  • Specific: Clearly define what your goal is, so that everyone involved understands what they’re working towards. 
  • Measurable: How will you measure your achievement? This gives you an idea of whether you need to make any adjustments or improvements along the way.
  • Attainable: Your goals should be attainable within reason – otherwise there’s no point in setting them in the first place! 
  • Relevant: Think about why you’re setting this goal. Is it useful to help you achieve your other goals or is it a waste of valuable resources?
  • Timely: Give your goal a deadline. When would you like to achieve this by?

Hack #2: Prioritising tasks 

Do you find yourself constantly distracted by busy work? Are you so overwhelmed by all the things you have to do, that you never get anything done?

Make yourself a “Things to Achieve” list with only the three most important tasks that you need to complete each day. This will ensure you’re not allocating your precious time to less important tasks.

Hack #3: Delegating tasks 

Delegating tasks to your team is one of the best ways to free up your time, so you can focus on the most important items on your to-do list (hack #2!)

Write out all the tasks you normally complete in a day/week that could be completed by someone else. Hand the tasks over to an appropriate team member and set clear expectations for what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, when it needs to be completed by, and any other information that may be relevant. This will help ensure that everyone involved understands exactly what is expected of them, and what their responsibilities are, to remove potential mistakes that you need to fix.

Hack #4. Organising your office space or worksite 

A cluttered workspace is a distraction. A messy desk can lead to a messy mind, which can lead to mistakes, and mistakes are no good for anyone.

When you’re ready to get down to business, you don’t want to waste time searching for things—or worse, have to work around a messy workspace full of clutter. You need an efficient workspace that keeps you focused and lets you get the job done in a timely manner.

Hack #5. Minimising interruptions 

It’s impossible to stay on track with your important business tasks when phone calls and emails constantly interrupt you, or colleagues come over to chat.

Here are some tips to help you minimise interruptions:

  • Set up an out-of-office reply for when you’re busy, so people know not to disturb you.
  • Use your phone’s Do Not Disturb feature to silence incoming calls and notifications during specified times.
  • If a colleague or client needs urgent help, ask them to send their question in an email, rather than calling or popping by your desk.
  • Leave your door open if you have an open office plan, so people can see when they should come talk to you, instead of interrupting what you’re working on.

Boost productivity. Get organised.

Productivity comes down to smart time management. As a business owner, you have to prioritise your activities and move away from the ones that aren’t moving you towards your goal. Determine when it makes sense to roll-up your sleeves, and when it’s time to get some help.

The key reason why business owners don’t invest their time in high-priority areas is that ‘they don’t know what they don’t know’. This is particularly notable in the area of using other people’s time!

Use your team and don’t let yourself get distracted from your “Things to Achieve” list. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll get done.

I know it can be overwhelming to decide what needs your focus, because everything seems important. Sometimes, we’re a little too close to our business to see it objectively. A business coach can help you identify those high priority tasks, and more importantly, help you get them done!

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