With the end of the year hurtling towards us at lightening speed, you might be feeling like there is just not enough time to get it all done. The hard truth is that there might not be – did you know that roughly only 30% of our days are spent doing what we should be? The other 70% is spent on low value, repetitive tasks – or simply wasted trying to avoid those things!
The good news is that these days, thanks to smart technology – we should be able to find the balance. The trick is making some small tweaks to how you work, and being a little disciplined, to enable you to prioritise what matters and master technology to be a help, not a hindrance.
Here are our three tips to help you do so. Then all you need to do is decide – what will matter most to you in the new year?
Automate the repetitive processes
Automating your existing systems and processes is one of the easiest ways to boost productivity and efficiency in the workplace, and it’s much simpler to implement an automation solution that optimises your current systems than add a raft of new apps or management programs into your technology stack. The good news is that automations don’t have to be technical or extensive to help improve efficiency – one handy one I use myself is to set up an email rule filtering off anything with the word Unsubscribe in the email body to a sub folder, which I then skim once a week or so.
Start by making a list of all the tasks you complete more than once a day/week and roughly map out the steps involved. If the same steps are being followed each time, the process could be perfect for automation. A great example of this is preparing your annual client collations which include the same documents & items each time, regardless of the client. A solution like FuseDocs can tap in to your existing systems and processes to completely automate the collation.
Make appointments – and stick to them
Do you ever get to the end of the week and find yourself wondering where it’s gone and what you achieved? It’s easy to lose sight of the wins and good things happening when you’re caught up in busyness. One of the most important things you can do is to schedule in non-negotiable appointments with yourself to give you time and space to focus on what matters. Schedule in 20 minutes on a Friday afternoon to reflect on your week and note down your wins, pencil in plenty of time to hit the gym over lunch before your calendar fills up, and block out chunks of focus time for upcoming projects or things you’ve been putting off. Get these into your calendar now, noting down your goal for the session. You wouldn’t cancel a client meeting because you got busy at work – and you need to do the same for the activities that matter.
Turn off notifications
Want to get more done, faster? Disconnect your internet, or at the very least – close your email! Technology has made as life easier with added convenience and improved communication, but left unchecked it can potentially derail our productivity and well-being. Notifications are a prime example of this – bells, buzzing, and little red dots compromising our ability to truly get in flow. According to a study from the University of California in Irvine, it can take us about 23 minutes to get back to the task at hand after a notification has forced us to switch between tasks. Estimates suggest a simple switch in tasks to check a notification can add up to a 40% productivity loss if you’re doing a lot of it in the day.
Take time early in the day or the late afternoon to map our your three most important priorities for the day. When you’re ready to get stuck in: switch off your notifications, change computers, disconnect your internet, or leave your phone in another room / location. You might miss the instant gratification that comes from responding to those emails – but how great will it feel to have ticked off your most important tasks before the day is half done?
Don’t get to the end of the year wondering where it’s gone. Using these three simple tips will help you to start developing habits now that will see you master your technology and prioritise what is most important to you in the new year.
Still feel like you don’t have enough time or it’s all too hard? Let’s chat about what processes you could be automating – and how we can help you make time for what matters.