Six things crushing your productivity
Key points in this article
- Reducing time spent in meetings
- Keeping a clear list of ‘to dos’
- Getting things done
1. The problem: Email overload
You’re spending huge chunks of your week dealing with back-and-forth emails.
Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss is a productivity expert. His book, The 4-Hour Work Week, has sold more than 1.3 million copies around the world and he has been inundated with feedback from businesspeople who insist he’s changed their lives.
For some people, of course, his concept of reducing your working week to four hours simply isn’t practical. But Ferriss’ basic principles, such as opting to check and respond to email once a day – or even less frequently – can be applied by anyone.
2. The problem: Never-ending meetings
While meetings are vital to ensure projects are on track, they’re chewing up huge amounts of your week.
Even with a small team, it’s hard to avoid meetings. But there are plenty of ways you can minimise the time they take. Try these options:
- Stand-up meetings: The team assembles for a quick daily or weekly update. Standing up ensures people will get to the point concisely.
- The 60-second rule: Each team member gets 60 seconds to take the floor, allowing them to summarise any key developments or concerns. Allocate five minutes for questions at the end of the session to clear up any ambiguity.
Take a close look at your meetings and decide which ones can be eliminated or shortened
3. The problem: I’m bogged down in admin
You’ve left the daily grind to start the company of your dreams. But far too much of your day is taken up with administration tasks.
For start-ups and other small companies operating on a tight budget, new affordable solutions are popping up all the time.
One of the most popular is hiring a virtual assistant – a remote worker who can work for you part-time or full-time.
By outsourcing those pesky, time-consuming jobs you’d prefer to avoid, you can spend more time on the bigger-picture stuff. After all, you didn’t take the plunge to become an entrepreneur so you could spend your day trying to agree on a time and place for a meeting.
4. The problem: A gigantic to-do list
You’ve got so much to do that you’re reluctant to write it all down.
Make a list – but don’t let the end result overwhelm you. Writing it down will free up your mind and help you prioritise. Your list can take any form. Use a piece of paper, or a tool such as Asana, which facilitates teamwork without emails, or a project management tool like Basecamp.
However you decide to keep a list of everything you have to do, make sure it’s all in one place
5. The problem: Latecomers and time-wasters
Your meetings drag on because the first 15 minutes is spent waiting for dawdlers to arrive.
Nothing infuriates recruitment expert Greg Savage like people who can’t make it to an appointment on time.
In his brutally honest blog post, ‘No, you are not ‘running late’ – you are rude and selfish’, he demands to know when it became acceptable for people to be late for everything. He makes some great points.
6. The problem: Perfection paralysis
You hold off on finalising projects, in case you think of a way to make it even better.
Less planning and more doing. It’d be great if everything we did was perfect, but in reality it’s the fast track to achieving nothing.