Start the year on a fresh foot with our latest Productivity Roundup: jam-packed with all the latest and greatest productivity tips from across the web. Enough said…let’s get started!
1. Get 2017 sorted…we dare you!
New Year’s resolutions tend to be a bit unfashionable nowadays. These days, you get just as many people advising you that you should work longer term on developing habits that stick right throughout the year as you do those who advocate drawing up a laundry list of ultimately abandoned “must-dos” every January.
Regardless, there is still plenty of sensible advice to be had out there on how to get your business year set up for 2017 the way you want it. One such gem is 5 Steps to Organizing Your Life and Doing Great Things This Year by Jason Fell, writing for Entrepreneur.com.
Fell’s five steps begin – in the spirit of a particular animated Frozen doyenne who shall remain nameless – with ‘letting it go.’ This means leaving behind all that dogged you in 2016 where it belongs … back there in ancient history.
After finishing off those little tidbits that absolutely must be carried with you into 2017, he says, it’s time to think about some brand new goals for a brand new year. Fell goes on with some solid productivity advice, before finishing on a daring note … advocating that you try moving out of your comfort zone and taking some risks this year.
We couldn’t agree more.
We say: If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.
Why not mix it up this year in small degrees by thinking about what aspects of your behavior or routines could use a shake up and try out something new?
2. Boost productivity by taking Fridays “off.”
Now I know I’ve got your attention! Where do I sign up, I hear you say?
Well, not so fast, compadre. By “off” we don’t exactly mean off (hence the quotation marks).
However, following this advice will mix up your work day sufficiently that it might even make you think you aren’t at work. Or you may enjoy yourself so much it doesn’t feel like work. Something like that, anyway.
This advice has come from the keyboard of Sol Orwell (writing for GrowthLab), and it’s interesting stuff. Orwell suggests that you reserve Fridays for activities that would not ordinarily constitute part of a busy work day and instead devote it to more strategic, more purposeful tasks. Another way to say this is to spend Fridays on things which are “important but not urgent” rather than “urgent but not important.”
Not only does Orwell divide up the week in this manner, but he’s got a pretty dang intriguing way to carve up the day. Orwell devotes his first four hours for focused learning. For him, this means catching up with reading blog articles that he has saved for himself during the week, but equally, you could assign this time to do an online course or reading a textbook. He then spends three hours, including lunch, connecting and networking with others – this might be people he hasn’t seen for a while or brand new connections he has made.
Lastly, he spends the last hour of the day planning for the week ahead – in this way, he argues, your unconscious works over the weekend on all the issues you’ve set up for it while your conscious mind has some downtime.
We say: It’s easy to let your working week get hijacked by a huge pile of “busy work.” Even just attending to email can suck up hours at a stretch. However, by dedicating time to those things that actually matter, you can make sure that all those productive hours don’t just evaporate into thin air.
It may not end up being Friday per se – it might be the first or the last, hour of every work day – but dedicating those hours and sticking to your new routine should result in a measurable boost in productivity. (You’re welcome, by the way.)
3. Is productivity overrated?
Caroline Beaton, a contributor to Forbes, asks us to ponder this question in our rush to make every minute count for two. Her quest to uncover the deeper meaning of productivity, and how to achieve it, reminds us that it is the tortoise and not the hare that ultimately wins the race.
Being busy, Beaton argues, makes us feel good … whether or not what we are doing is ultimately productive. We think that doing more in less time is what it’s all about, but, she reminds us, it is quality, not quantity, that counts.
As she notes, “nothing important can be fully accomplished in two minutes.” Hard work feels hard. It’s often a slog. You sometimes feel you have to tie your butt to the chair. But somewhere in that thirty minutes to which you have committed your butt, you might just find the breakthrough you are looking for.
We say: Busy work can be very addictive. There is nothing quite like that feeling of achievement when you cross that last check mark off your list for the day. But don’t forget to ask yourself…are these the most important tasks I could be working on right now? Far better to spend 20 minutes advancing a critical aspect of your project than it is to answer five emails that have no bearing on your ultimate success.
4. Chrome in the zone
Many of us choose to use Google Chrome as a preferred web browser, and with good reason. It has a good, clean interface and a wide range of apps and add-on functionality to make life easier.
Good thing then that someone – Abhimanyu Ghoshal, writing for The Next Web in particular – has done all the hard work for us and compiled a list of the best Chrome extensions to boost your productivity in 2017.
Just about everything for the productivity aficionado is covered…there’s note taking apps, time management apps, task lists, and project management, reading and research, editing, social media and apps to minimize distraction. Some best kept secrets in here, so well worth an (ahem) browse.
We say: If you’re getting no joy out of your current browser, whatever it might be, why not consider taking a new one for a spin? Change is as good as a holiday!
5. The habits that are holding you back from success
And lastly…Listicles are always a bit of fun, and over at Business Insider, they’ve come up with the goods. In a recent article by contributors Rachel Gillett and Samantha Lee, they cover the 18 bad habits you should break in 2017 to be more productive.
From the classics (skipping breakfast, taking too many meetings, multi-tasking) to the curve balls (moral licensing), it’s worth a quick peruse to see how you measure up.
We say: It never hurts to indulge in a bit of healthy self-reflection now and then. Check out a few different versions of this list, or better yet – compile your mega-list of hints and tips to remind yourself where you might need a little improvement.
We hope you found our latest productivity round-up useful. If you did, why not check out our related content:
• Productivity Roundup #2
• Business Growth Roundup #1
• How Entrepreneurs Can Better Manage Their Time