There are never enough hours in the day. And even if there were, you’d use them all up! Does that sound familiar? If it does, then you’re a workaholic (just like us). But, there are two types of workaholic. The first type spends hours thinking and stressing. The other type of workaholic spends their time doing. There’s a big difference! And the thing that separates the thinkers from the doers is organisation. Organisation leads to productivity, and they’re intricately linked.
Good organisers sort through the jumble of thoughts in their head and make things happen. But, how do you become one of these super-productive, organised humans? Well, over the years, we’ve picked up some brilliant secrets and tricks. Here’s the important part: no-one is born organised. It’s a habit that we cultivate and develop. That means you can adopt the following ideas, and make them your own.
Today is your first step to a new organised, productive life. It’s time to get stuff done! It’s time to make things happen and stop procrastinating. Are you with me? Here are the eight habits of highly organised, productive businesses people.
1. They write everything down
One of the biggest problems facing disorganised people is that they keep everything in their heads. Do you always have a million thoughts floating about? This is one of the leading causes of stress and lack of productivity. When things are floating around like this, it’s difficult to prioritise and execute tasks. Make a big change and start writing everything down. Keep a notebook for ideas and creative thoughts. Find a method to get your thoughts down on paper. It could be a to-do list app, a big Excel sheet, or just a pen and paper. Trust us, you’ll feel lighter when you get everything out of your brain and onto paper. It lets you compartmentalise your tasks and prioritise them.
2. They set themselves deadlines
As a freelance writer, I have learnt one big thing about my work process. A project or article will take me exactly as long as I have available. For example, if I have a whole afternoon spare to write a 500-word piece, it will take me all afternoon. If I only have a spare half an hour, I’ll be finished in half an hour. There’s an important lesson here. Without deadlines or restrictions, you’ll keep tweaking and working and thinking right up to the last minute. So, set yourself personal deadlines. Finish something and move on quickly.
3. They have a tidy work space
It’s difficult to concentrate when you’re working in a messy environment. First of all, there are distractions everywhere. Maybe you’ve got invoices lying around on the desk. Perhaps there’s a big pile of papers to read. When these things are staring up at you, it’s hard to keep working. You’ve got to compartmentalise your desk space. The same goes for any litter and cables. You need to remove anything that doesn’t belong on your desk. Use a cable tray to keep all your wires out of eyesight. Keep a bin close by and purge any rubbish on a regular basis.
4. They avoid procrastination
In the modern world, there are distractions everywhere. The internet is full of things that draw your attention away from work. Social media notifications pop up on your phone every five minutes. Email alerts blurt out loudly. There’s a link to some cat pictures that you really want to look at. The trick is to avoid these as much as possible. Turn notifications and alerts off while you’re working. Stop diving into your emails. Give yourself five minute breaks every couple of hours to check your emails or Twitter. Otherwise, keep the distractions out of reach.
5. They delegate and outsource
organised people know that there’s only so much they can do themselves. They write down their tasks and prioritise their work. Anything that is non-essential, they pass to someone else. Consider whether the items on your list are worth the time you have available. Let’s use the freelance writer example again. Sometimes, I’ll outsource the transcription of an interview to another freelancer. Transcribing an interview can take a couple of hours. In those two hours, I could finish another article while someone transcribes the interview for a small fee. That’s a much better use of time!
6. They spend 15 minutes organising for the following day
This is one of the best tricks in the book. organised people always take a little extra time at the end of the day to structure tomorrow’s work. You can either do this at the end of the work day, or just before you go to bed. This will make your life as an entrepreneur easier. The main benefit of this is to clear your head. It lets you clock off from work and relax during the evening. You know that tomorrow is all planned out. You can come straight into the office and tackle those hardest tasks. The sooner you can cross off the big tasks from your to-do list, the better.
7. They use productivity apps
There are some amazing apps out there that do all the hard work for you. The best ones sync up between your iPhone and Mac, so you never miss a beat! Use a to-do list to note down ideas and concepts on the go. Then sync it straight to your laptop for when you sit down to work. Some of the best apps include Clear (simple to-do list) and Evernote (the ultimate productivity resource). There are plenty of free ones to try out. Find the right one for you and keep your life in order!
8. They only do one thing at a time
Most people think that the secret to productivity is multi-tasking. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The best way to tackle your never-ending to-do list is to take it one job at a time. Blank out all other tasks while you focus on just one thing. Stop trying to answer every email instantly and keep on top of multiple things. Focus on one thing and get it done.
There you have it, folks! Start doing these eight things and you’ll be on the path to true productivity.