What does being productive mean for you?
Maybe it has to do with getting more things done in a day. Or it is connected to figuring out ways to be more efficient in your work while using fewer resources. For some women, being productive may be related to the specific ways in which they order their lives, to spend time on the things they value most. Whatever your definition of productivity is, it is something that we all tend to assess and value highly, especially in the work environment.
Interesting fact: Did you know that the percentage of women-owned businesses is getting larger each year? According to American Express, it has even reached 42% in 2019, compared to only 4.6% in 1972. Self-employment certainly forces you to become conscious of your own productivity, because your income depends directly on it.
We have prepared another batch of Top productivity tips, to help you get on top of your game and have the impact you are so very capable of! Here are some of our favourites:
1. Take short breaks throughout the day
When you have a lot of high-priority tasks, taking a break is probably the last thing you want to do. Trying to get through everything, you practically end up doing 2 or 3 tasks at the same time, jumping from one assignment to the next. When you get to the end of the day, you feel like you’ve been doing a lot of work but haven’t really finished anything off. You know this isn’t productive, but let us remind you why.
According to Business Insider, the average attention span of an adult is around 60 minutes. This means that even if you spend 3 hours working on a particular assignment, your energy levels will be depleted and as a result, you will be easily distracted and do the work much slower than usual. Distractions and task jumping costs you a lot of time. According to research, it takes 23 minutes to refocus back on work after a distraction.
How can you combat that? Set up regular alarms for every 1 hour or so on your phone and take a short break every time the alarm goes off. No matter if you use that time for a simple stretching exercise, or to prepare a quick tea, it is good to stand up and move a little. This way you will replenish some of your energy and will refresh your brain, which will make you more productive and help you to avoid distraction. Use the 1hr intervals to focus on just one task. As you become more focused, you can increase the time between breaks.
2. Use a project management tool
Do you have hundreds of those colourful sticky notes lying around your desk? How does that work for you when you need to find that particular one with the necessary details 2 minutes before your meeting?
Writing down all your tasks is definitely a good practice, but you should be smart about it. In today’s world of technological advancement, there are hundreds of online tools and apps that can basically do the same thing for you, but much faster. Apart from speeding up the process, project management tools like Asana, Monday and Freedcamp (this is what we use here at OneUpOneDown), for example, can help you quickly organize everything by project, easily share it with your teammates and automate some of the processes. Just give it a try and see how you will turn into a productivity ninja in no time.
3. Learn to delegate tasks
According to a study conducted by doctors at Columbia University, women that are in leadership positions are less likely to delegate tasks to their subordinates than men. Moreover, they have negative associations with the assigning of responsibility to someone else and feel greater guilt when doing so, which ultimately leads to lower quality of their work relationships.
Delegating tasks can apparently be a difficult process for women, but it is a necessary one. If you are in a position where you have an overwhelming amount of responsibilities and tasks to take care of and you insist on doing them by yourself, your efficiency, productivity and state of mind will inevitably suffer at some point. That is why you need to learn to assign tasks to your team and trust in their capabilities as well. This will not only make you much more focused on the tasks that are your priority but will also make you a better leader.
You can build delegation into your planning by setting out your goals and associated tasks – using your newfound project management app 😉 – and working out which tasks you can delegate. Focus your efforts on the tasks where you can add the most value, and delegate as much as you can. Organising people is a highly valuable skill, and although it might not feel like “work”, it is the pathway to leveraging your experience and skills to produce the most value and maximise productivity.
What do you think of our top 3 list? Do you find those tips useful, or are you already a productivity ninja that knows all the best techniques?
Whatever stage you are at in your productivity game, we hope that you have enjoyed the article and have learned something new. Feel free to check out some more amazing tips on how to improve your productivity together with some advice from our mentor family.
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