We're all trying to eek a little more out of our days and trying to work smarter not harder! Recently I've started using the 90-minute burst method to tackle projects where I close everything down except the one thing that I want to focus on and I spend the next 90 minutes working on just that. It's really helped my productivity and I'm able to accomplish more on my 'to do' list every day. We asked some other entrepreneurs for their best productivity tips. Here's what they said.
Paul Gruenther, MBA
Try to answer all phone calls. It saves listening to voicemail or calling their vm. However, be sure to be phone-courteous to those around you. Say "thank you" alot. It makes everything go smoother.
The 90-minute burst works, but I find 20-minute bursts more realistic.
Choose times of the day to check and respond to email/twitter/phone. Don't use those things outside the set times. It's not rocket science, just setting some easy-to-follow rules that work for me.
Robert Trinka, BS, MBA
It’s 'old fashioned': but make a list of what must be done each day; 1) what can be delegated to others; 2) what is order of priority; 3) move through the list and cross them off when done; 4) don't waste time (I admit, this plan isn't very unique, but works well for me.)
Schedule time slots for repeating tasks, (e-mail, regular report filing, etc). The "e-mail" one was hard for me, until I started closing Outlook altogether so that I wouldn't be tempted to read the new message as soon as it came in.
If you have a shared calendar, you might find that people respect your time more as well, because they see that you're always doing "something".
I want to add the carpenter's rule, measure twice, cut once. Be clear about what is to be done before you start. Rework can devour your time.
- Annual objectives are set each January
- Monthly calendar is updated on the 1st
- Weekly calendar is updated Monday
A piece of paper has been carried for 30 years in left pocket that contains no more than 10 action items per day. It is the first thing viewed in the morning when I rise and the last thing I view before retiring in the evening. It is recopied when necessary because it tends to fall apart.
Measure the progress of a task by first estimating what half the task is, then seeing if you've reached that point when half the time you allowed has elapsed.
Put the things that waste your time on your 'to do list.' Once they are ticked off you won't want to go back and do them again.
For the tasks you hate and put off starting, set a timer and do it for 30 minutes. For the call you don't want to make, set a timer to go off at the optimum moment to make the call - and then forget about it until the timer goes off
Breathing. No kidding.
I something similar to your 90-minute bursts - just mine are 50 minutes.
But then, I step away from my work, go outside for a few minutes, breathe in fresh air and drink some water. Doing this 5, 6, 7 times a day has increased my overall productivity by about 25% over just sitting and grinding all day or just taking a break here and there. I plan these breaks and work hard in between the time.
I love technology and use it constantly. Yet the best technology is not technology at all - it's living, breathing, drinking, feeling, living.