As an independent professional, it’s important to squeeze every last drop of productivity from your day in order to maximize your most valuable resource: yourself. While schedules and to-do lists can help, boosting productivity is not so much a matter of time management as it is a matter of how much quality work you can accomplish during that allotted time.
It’s easy to schedule time for work, only to get distracted by client emails or phone calls. Or, you may work diligently for a few hours only to realize after that what you were doing didn’t quite mesh with your overall goals, resulting in wasted time. Here are three productivity tips to help make the most out of every hour of every day.
Taking time at the end of each week to reflect and plan can help you to identify both your successes as well as areas where you can improve. Allotting a specific block of time for this review will give you a solid grasp of how productive you’ve been and where you need to make changes. Then, you can use this information to help guide your planning for the week ahead.
Be sure to weigh your weekly goals and accomplishments against your overall business goals to ensure you are continually working towards what is most important to you, and aren’t getting caught up in an unimportant or counterproductive task.
Independent professionals often pride themselves on the ability to multitask—and it’s often a necessity, given the nature of independent work. But research has proven time and again that we do our best work when we have the freedom to focus our entire attention on one thing.
Even if you feel as though you’re being more productive when you multitask, your performance can suffer. Set aside a few hours each day to remove all distractions such as checking email, browsing social media or the internet, and answering phone calls. In this distraction-free environment, see if you experience an increase in real productivity.
For the most part, if at all possible, it’s best to use your weekends to relax and refresh. This way, you can start the new week with a boost in energy and motivation—which leads to increased productivity.
There is, however, one exception to this rule. The weekend can be the perfect time to take an hour or two to get caught up so you can start the week on top of your game, or even get ahead by taking care of some of the less taxing items on your to-do list in advance. Beginning the week with a head start already in place will motivate you to keep up the pace and get even more done.
Remember, successfully running an independent business requires motivation, focus, and productivity. By incorporating these tips into your weekly routine, you can easily boost all three.