7 TIPS FOR A FOCUSED AND PRODUCTIVE YEAR
As we come to the end of January, it’s all too tempting to let our New Year goals slip away. I’m here to check in, and encourage you to stay on track. Plus I’ve got 7 tips for a focused and productive year to share with you.
You may remember that on Monday I shared with you how behind I was with my own goal setting after a nasty bout of flu. All my best laid plans went awry and instead of working on how I was going to progress my goals, I was curled up on the sofa with a box of tissues and a hot chocolate, watching Designated Survivor on Netflix.
This coincided with January being my busiest month ever in my business. I started working with several new business owners, and began work on an audit as part of an exciting new consultancy project. I’d marked out on my calendar exactly when I was going to work on projects like this audit, and when I was going to work on my own business goals. But because I lost so much time whilst I was ill, I’ve had to switch my diary around to make sure I get my client work completed. Which inevitably meant less time to work on my own projects and goals.
One such project was contacting a stylist about creating a set of bespoke images for my website and social media. I’ve been following this stylist on Instagram for a while now, and love her work. I know exactly what I’d like her to create. All I needed to do was send a short email to start a conversation with her. I’d intended to do this last week. The email finally got sent this morning. I could berate myself for not getting this done sooner. Or I could be pleased, given the month I’ve had, that I’ve progressed this small project.
The fact is life happens. And sometimes it’s a whirlwind. Despite our best laid plans, suddenly we’re behind, and it feels like there’s no hope of catching up. That’s why today I want to share 7 of my favourite productivity hacks with you.
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1. Stop Work At A Sensible Time
Gone are the days when I work late into the evening and clock up 60 to 70 hours, sometimes more. Evenings are for cultivating hobbies, catching up with friends, reading or watching my favourite dramas. One of the reasons I work from an office is the separation it gives me between home and business. On sunshine-y days, I walk along the boardwalk on my way to and from work. On wet and windy days I drive in to the office. That short journey enables me to switch from one mode to another.
2. A Good Night’s Sleep
Nothing sets me up for a productive day like a good night’s sleep. I wake up energised, with a positive mindset, ready to power through the day. Sleep gives our brain a chance to process the day’s events, to solidify new skills and to repair itself. My best night’s sleep come after I’ve done a short (20 to 30 minute) restorative yoga practice and then read a novel.
3. Create Visual Reminders
I use all manner of visual reminders to keep me focused on my goals.
Post it notes on or near my laptop;
Handwritten notes beside my laptop;
Reminders delivered to my phone;
Colour coding on my electronic calendar;
A strategically placed book;
My vision board is displayed in a prominent place.
I use multiple channels to remind me, because filed away in my Evernote folder means my goals and projects aren't always front of mind. And out of sight means they’re easily forgotten.
4. Use Rituals To Create Good Habits
When I get into the office, I have a cup of my favourite Taylors & Harrogate coffee while I plan my day, and check my emails. Because that morning cup of coffee is so firmly engrained as a daily habit, I associate one activity with the other, without thinking about it. That way, not only do I plan my day but I remember to check my emails, which left to my own devices, I could easily forget. (For years I had a secretary who dealt with all enquiries and email so this was something I never thought about).
5. Turn Off All Notifications
I can’t bear random interruptions when I’m working so I don’t have any notifications on my phone or laptop. If you’re working on a focused piece of work, or against a deadline, notifications are guaranteed to interrupt your flow and set you back.
6. Hold Regular Business Meetings With Yourself
If you’ve been reading my blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of weekly, monthly and quarterly reviews. This is when you set aside some time to review progress against your key goals, and map out your next set of actions.
That accountability is so important. Which is why weekly email check-ins are one of the cornerstones of my private coaching practice.
7. Invest In A Coach
According to a study commissioned by the International Coaching Federation on the benefits reported by ongoing coaching clients, 70% said they experienced better work performance while 60% reported they’d become more effective leaders. When it comes to personal productivity and achieving your goals, nothing helps you go further, faster, than coaching.
As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my articles.
Question: What are your top hacks for a focused and productive year? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share let me know in the comments box below.
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