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23 top tips to turbo-charge your personal productivity

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Entrepreneurs and execs share their secret work hacks

To-do lists & time management

Clocks - How to kill your daily deadtime

Sallie Bale, Consultant, Communica PR: “Digitalise your lists. Losing your to-do list is a nightmare. The app Daedalus allows me to have loads of different lists and keep them organised.”

Mark Pearson, founder, myvouchercodes.co.uk​: “Time management apps like Free-Time work in conjunction with your calendar to calculate your available free time, allowing you to devote time to essential tasks. Set yourself a limit then use a timing device like the online Egg Timer to help you stay on track.”

Hazel Theocharous, Small Business Trainer: “Your brain is still active before closing off for the day so set up your to-do list before closing your business and it will (a) allow you to ensure that everything which needs to be attended to the next day is captured; and (b) when you walk into your office the next morning you know what needs to be done so you can start without delay.”

Jonathan Richards, tech entrepreneur and CEO, online HR software company breatheHR.com: “To stay focused on our long-term objectives I take time out each week to consider what I am want to achieve over the next seven days. For me this involves setting aside time every Friday afternoon or Monday morning to:

1.       Review my objectives, assess progress and pull actions down into my weekly task list;

2.       Checking my diary for the upcoming week

3.       Learn something that will make my week easier, better or more fun.”

Use your high-energy and low-energy times effectively

Best and happy

Penny Davenport, career mentor and business coach: “Transform your most unproductive time slot of the week and build relationships with your peers. Have a coffee, walk or lunch with each one in turn and get to know them better.”

Darain Faraz, spokesperson, LinkedIn: “Be productive by adding a bit of online networking in to your daily routine. When it comes to nurturing your professional relationships, a little effort can go a long way. We calculated that as little as nine minutes a day on LinkedIn can make all the difference.”

Darren Padgett, director, Team Activ+ : “Walking is proven to increase creativity, lift depression and beat stress. Have a 10-minute walk at lunchtime to stretch your muscles, rest your eyes from the computer screen and give your brain chance to unwind. Being outside will boost your vitamin D levels while fresh air cleans your lungs and boosts digestion.”

Andrea Osborne, cushiontheimpact.co.uk: “Email rarely needs to be dealt with first thing in the morning. If you tend to receive urgent emails, check briefly on your computer or mobile when you first log in for any that cannot be left but otherwise, they can wait. Spend the first two or three hours of your working day on more important tasks.”

Fran Brosan, chairman and co-founder, digital B2B agency Omobono: “Take the ‘eat the frog’ approach – do the thing that’s hardest first because getting it out of the way will improve the rest of your day no end.”

 

Time-saving tech

iPhone 5

Mark Pearson, founder , myvouchercodes.co.uk​: “Use two [computer]monitors. Being able to switch from reference documents to reports and or your email account without having to open and close windows and tabs will save you more time than you’d think, giving you a spare few hours each week to dedicate to other important things.”

Sara Davies, founder and sales director, Crafter’s Companion: “Use an application like Evernote to keep all your notes on every device, wherever you are. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing people going back in their notebooks to find a page of notes from three months ago, when you can do a simple search on your computer, tablet or smartphone and find it in seconds. No brainer.”

 

Managing your inbox

Spelling words

Andrea Osborne, cushiontheimpact.co.uk: “Do it in bulk. Set aside a period of time each day to dealing with email. By confining email to a scheduled slot in this way, not only will you stop letting it take over time which could be more valuably spent elsewhere, you are also committing yourself more fully to the emails.”

Ross Williams, founder and CEO, Global Personals Limited: “Probably my biggest top tip – turn off email from 10am to midday and 2pm to 4pm so you can get your actions done. If it’s important, people will find another way to reach you.”

Olga Nuryaeva, lenstore.co.uk: “‘Inbox zero’ can help reduce stress when it comes to email. When you receive an email, respond to it immediately if it takes less than 2 minutes. Otherwise – categorise it into folders depending if it requires an action from you, an action from a colleague, a read-through later, or simply archive. Check in on these categorised emails at the end of each week to keep on top of your own and your team’s progress easily.”

Andrea Osborne, cushiontheimpact.co.uk: “Use different notification tones for different groups of people. For example, you could set your phone, tablet or computer to use one tone for emails received from senders who need to be responded to urgently, one for clients, one for general newsletter type emails and one for personal mail. You’ll know when you need to respond right away without even having to check your inbox.”

 

Finding focus & getting the job done

Happy Lego

Scott Todd, digital marketing executive, everline.com: “Match work to music. Reviewing a mind-numbing spreadsheet? Listen to background music with a relaxing yet purposeful cadence to program your brain for the systematic approach you need. Bonus – select a song the length of your task, you’ve committed to a volume of time for the day to remain in this mental mode. I keep this one bookmarked.”

Erris de Stacpoole, account executive, Pumpkin PR: “Always check and double check for errors. This will make life easier in the long term hence be more productive.”

Sara Davies, founder and sales director, Crafter’s Companion: “Avoid multitasking – it is probably the biggest myth of modern working. Doing 50 things at once means that you will do 50 things, not very well. Focus on tasks one at a time..”

Sallie Bale, consultant, Communica PR: “Bribe yourself. I’m a bit of a chocoholic, so if I have a big piece of work to get through I incentivise myself with chocolate. I chop up the tas
k into five sections, and allow myself one piece of Cadbury’s Caramel when I have completed each milestone. Keeps me focused and moving forward.”

Fran Brosan, chairman and co-founder, digital B2B agency Omobono: “Don’t try to do everything perfectly. Done is better than perfect.”

 

Your working environment

Edgar Martins, Alto Lindoso power plant: Control room, 2011, C-type print. The Wapping Bankside Project

Oliver Heath, biophilic design ambassador, Interface: “Research in the Human Spaces report shows that offices where nature is incorporated in the design can increase productivity by as much as 8%. Having a window view of nature – trees or water, for example – will help to inspire creativity, increase wellbeing and boost overall productivity. Even simple touches, such as plants in the office, can also have a positive effect.”

Kenneth Freeman, head of innovation, Ambius: “Having a plant or two in the office really can make a difference. Ambius, the interior landscaping company, has found that by placing plants in office spaces, employee productivity can increase by as much as 15% and workplace satisfaction can improve by up to 40%.”

Penny Davenport, career mentor and business coach: “Be inspired by your desk. Take a tip from William Morris and have nothing on your desk that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. Get rid of the rest.”

Want more productivity tips? Next week we’ll look at how to boost productivity across your whole business.

Share your own tips below and @londonlovesbiz and we’ll RT.

 

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