How many times have you Googled “productivity tips”?
Come on … I know I’m not alone!
For me, it’s generally at times when I’ve got a ton of work to get through. So rather than just knuckling down and getting on with it, I procrastinate, under the false pretence of ‘it’ll help me in the long run’ I start searching for that productivity golden nugget.
The one technique that will turn me into a veritable Mary Poppins of the Virtual Assistant world.
Well whilst I can’t promise you a magic bag of tricks, there is a surprisingly simple yet effective way to increase your productivity levels.
To explain it best, I want you to imagine this …
The last time you went on holiday.
Oh to be there again!
Now think about the few weeks and days leading up to that holiday.
Forget all those annoying (sometimes depressing) extracurricular activities – the dreaded bikini shopping, finding a home for the cat, getting enough games together for the kids, locating the best sunscreen for that perfect all-over tan – instead, think about how you dealt with business.
How much work did you manage to get through in the standard eight hour day?
I’m betting it was two, maybe three times as much as you would normally. Am I right?
And why is that?
Because you couldn’t wait to get away.
You wanted that break so badly, you could practically smell the sunscreen, sea salt and sangria.
You’re one mission, at that time, was to get every task ticked off so you could completely switch off. Relax. Unwind.
And you managed it!
Despite what you may have thought, it didn’t kill you.
Yes, you were most likely knackered by the time the plane left the runway and in desperate need of that holiday, but didn’t it feel great?
You accomplished so much for your Clients. Your business.
And it was all you.
Okay, so you probably see where I’m headed with this. And yes, I know you can’t fake that ‘going on holiday’ feeling – if only!
But you can be as productive.
All it takes is as small shift in mind-set and a reward policy.
1. Shifting your mind-set
The hardest thing to actually achieve, and so easy to neglect, but try it for three months. It will soon become a habit, and I guarantee you’ll get more done each and every day.
We all know the age-old productivity tactics:
- Write lists
So do them. Every day.
Without knowing and writing down the tasks you have to complete for each Client and by what date, you’ll be in a state of permanent stress.
Make writing lists and prioritising the last thing you do every day in preparation for the day to come.
Don’t do it in the morning.
Even if you think it won’t, it will eat into your precious working hours.
So write your list and then prioritise by Client deadline – this is the only way to ensure you meet each and every deadline. Nothing gets overlooked.
Next, prioritise by difficulty.
For me, I like to get the toughies out of the way first thing. Then when my afternoon fatigue sets in, I’m on the easier, less brain-power-required tasks.
The best thing about this is you may find you get an afternoon off!
Seriously. If you don’t write lists and then prioritise each day you’re likely to procrastinate … thereby missing out on a possible play-day!
And of course ‘play-day’ could mean different things to different people. For you, it could mean spending time on your own business. Marketing. Planning.
The point is, you could find time that you didn’t realise you even had before.
The fun part!
Just like that holiday was your reward for working your socks off in the days leading up to it, you can have a reward every day.
And you should.
Remember – you’re successfully running your own VA business.
That is a tremendous achievement.
So whether it be a G&T as soon as the clock strikes 6, a night out with the girls (or guys), spending time with the kids, going to the gym, or simply sitting in the garden with a great book, each one is your reward for ticking off every task on your list that day – obviously this works best if your reward is something you generally don’t do because of work.
My money’s on it making your days more productive.
Oh and enjoy those rewards – you deserve it:)