Are you a woman who is passionate about her job but has too many things to do with too little time to do them?
Do you secretly wish that a day would have more than 24 hours in it, just so you can have more time to get things done?
Well you are not alone!
Getting yourself organized to become more productive can be very challenging.
The Labor Department has also reported a drop in the average annual productivity growth in the last five years.
Productivity is a skill that successful women develop over time. Once you have mastered it, you become more effective rather than efficient
So, what can you do to make yourself more productive?
Here are the top 10 productivity tips successful women use to create a less busy routine and how you can do the same too.
Tip #1 Focus on doing one thing at a time
The idea of being good at multi-tasking sounds great but in the long run it is actually counter-productive.
Instead of switching between tasks from minute to minute, try dedicating a 20 – minute chunk of time to a single task, and then switch to the next one. It’s called the Pomodoro technique and you will become more productive.
Get your priorities straight and line up stuff that needs to be done sooner. Focus on handling the pressing issues first.
Forget the notion that you can finish everything. Life is a cycle, as soon as you finish a task another task come up. It is a continuous process.
Here’s an awesome tip from a senior Army officer: After you list your daily priorities: One, Two, Three, and so on. Delete everything after three.
Tip #2 Learn how to say “No”
As you work you will have so many things thrown at you, from meetings, to conferences, personal gatherings, speaking engagements and so on.
You need to learn how to refuse and decline the invitations. This should be done nicely of course!
There is no way you can attend all these and still have the time to focus on really important matters that will add up to achieving your set goals.
Yes, it might be tempting to say yes because it seems interesting, useful or even fun.
But you must set limits.
What you can do instead is for example, commit to attending two conferences per year, one to two meet-ups per month, and so on.
Tip #3 Set up productivity rituals
We all have our strengths and weaknesses, thus what works for one person might not work for the other.
It is therefore important for you to set up a productivity routine that works best for you.
This covers automating your routines and processes. For some, productivity tools are the best option while others might prefer actually writing and crossing off to-do-list.
Decide what will work for you and go for it to improve your productivity.
Tip #4 Use the 2-Minute Rule
This is a very simple but powerful rule to follow.
If it’s going to take less than two minutes to finish up a task then get it done right away!
As easy as this is, it can drastically increase your productivity when used correctly and consistently.
Tip #5 Use a prioritizing decision matrix
If you constantly run into problems with time management, then this is a great solution for you.
Running into crisis over urgent tasks can destabilize you and lower your productivity. But with this simple but effective decision matrix, you will be able to prioritize your tasks.
Everything that is easy to do and will have a big impact should be labeled as a “Do It Now” priority. Small impact and easy to do tasks should be delegated. Place big impact and hard to do tasks into the mix for prioritization against other initiatives. This comes down to how you use your time.
Tip #6 Surround yourself with the “Best Talent”
It is unrealistic for any of us to know everything. We are influenced by the people we allow to pour into our lives. Therefore it’s critical that we build a diverse group of hard working, ethical, critical thinkers on our team.
Successful people develop the skills of every member of their team.
Successful women make sure they spend time acquiring and keeping the best people in the company, rather than micro-managing and struggling to handle everything on their own.
Tip #7 Make 60-second decisions
Working efficiently is a great way to get more things done during your working hours. Learn to make decisions faster. Ensure you've conducted the appropriate amount of research and have evaluated the pros and cons as well as the costs and benefits to the organization. Once you have mitigated the potential risk, move forward with the decision.
You are likely going to make the same decision you would have made had you taken 20 minutes.
So don’t waste time on the decision making itself and you will have more time to focus on executing the decision itself.
Tip #8 Do the hardest tasks first
Naturally, we want to carry out tasks that are less challenging. If you have lots of less challenging tasks, it might seem to you that you have accomplished much.
However, what you’re doing is procrastinating.
Successful women tackle the most difficult tasks first and this will make the rest of your day easier and more productive.
Tip #9 Do not check your social media before you complete your top 3 tasks
Social media can be a serious distraction and should not be on your top 3 tasks for the day.
The best practice is to complete your first 3 tasks and any other creative task on your priority list before scrolling through hours of hours of funny, interesting, or controversial pictures, stories, and videos.
Successful people reduce their social media time to a set time during the day.
Tip #10 Set up a “Me Time”
We can easily get carried away with other people’s priorities and forget to create personal time for ourselves.
This is not a healthy practice.
To be successful and highly productive, you should learn to set aside a couple of hours weekly to just sit in peace, gather your thoughts and tie up loose ends in preparation for the coming week.
There you have it, 10 great tips that you can use immediately to become more productive. Take action and select a couple that you can implement today for better productivity!
Much Love and Much Respect,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela M. Odom is a life and leadership coach, founder of The Better U Project brand, podcast host, proud Army veteran and the author of BRONCO STRONG: A Memoir of the Last Deployed Personnel Services Battalion and Golom's Magical Gamers as well as a contributing author to the book, "Camouflaged Sisters: Leadership Through The Eyes of Senior Military Women Leaders".
Schedule a 30 minute virtual call on zoom HERE. Learn more about Coach Angela's private coaching program, "Become A Better Leader in 100 Days"