If you’re anything like me, finding the most efficient way of doing everything from tackling your inbox to making the ‘perfect amount of toastiness toast’ makes your heart sing. I am quite openly a productivity enthusiast and love nothing more than standing back and appreciating a good system and all the time it’s saving you.
When I first encountered the idea of batching(more on this later) in Tim Ferris’ The Four Hour Workweek, I was so excited to put all of these tricks to test. And though I have never quite gotten my week down to just the 4 hours (damn you, Tim!), I have seen a massive increase in my productivity. You just gotta start using a few little hacks that allow for less email sh*tshow and more drinking vino. This is my tried and tested way of creating my most productive week and sticking to it. Now who’s with me?
Red, Green, Blue, Black
I was first introduced to the ‘Green, Blue, Black, Red’ calendar coding by a friend, Oksana.
Geen = Personal
Blue = Sales & Marketing (ie it will make you money now)
Black = Working on the biz ( will generate income, but not immediately)
Red = Admin
The first thing you gotta do is decide where you want to be spending your time and then work backwards. As a general rule of thumb, it’s typically 60% blue, 20% black, 10% red and 10% green. So when I am creating websites and branding for clients or answering their emails, this is blue. When I go for a coffee meeting or networking event, or work on a lead magnet, this is black.
Next, calculate how many hours you want to work each week and then work out how many you will assign to each colour/category. In your calendar, block out time each week for each category. Here is a peek at my weekly calendar.
2. Create a productivity default diary
The default diary was introduced to me by Pru from the Owners Collective. I have always been a huge fan of a good brain dump, but this takes it to the next level! Once you have done a giant brain dump, you then combine ‘like’ tasks. Ie if you need to schedule blog posts, schedule social media, monitor facebook ads; these tasks would all be grouped together. This is known as batching. It is far easier to do similar tasks in one big chunk of time, rather than having to switch gears between totally different skillsets.
3. Multitasking is the devil
Research has proven time and time again that multitasking is the least productive way of getting anything done. I turn my emails off while working and have no notifications activated in my computer or phone. In today’s world, it is crazy how many dings, beeps, buzzes and distractions are thrown at us from every angle every second of the day. You need to be super strict about what you allow to distract you or it will be hard to get anything done.
Refer to your calendar to decide what your focus is on for the day and then start working through your default diary in that category. I like to highlight 3 tasks each day that are my biggest priorities. If you don’t get through your whole to-do list, it can be a deflating feeling so having those 3 things ticked off will make a big difference!
4. Be realistic with your planning
I am totally guilty of under-estimating how long things take me to actually do. There is nothing worse than optimistically planning for 1 hour of admin on a Monday morning and finally coming to surface 5 hours later with another 10 things to-do on your list. Give yourself some wiggle room! Chances are, you didnt start your business to power through an endless list of to-do’s without being able to make a chai or pee! Allow some buffer time between tasks. This is the beauty of adding top-level categories to your calendar in chunks rather than trying to micro-manage individual tasks in your diary.
5. Chunk it up
When adding any big project to your list, always break it up into micro-tasks. There is nothing more overwhelming than seeing a task like ‘Write a book’ on your list and chances are it will stay there indefinitely. Break it into baby steps; Write a chapter outline, Choose a title, get the cover designed etc. This will be much easier to achieve, with far less chances of a nervous breakdown comtemplating what lies ahead.
So, by this stage, you are either loving my life hacks or concerned for my wellbeing and levels of OCD. Either way is good friend! Just tell me, do you have any productivity hacks up your sleeve? I would clearly love to know!