Here are the top hacks to be productive in the new yearAs a new year rolls around, it’s a great opportunity to check in with your progress over the past year – both in your business and personal life.
As Meerah discussed in our last post, it’s a time to reflect on achievements, to realize what truly matters to us, and to re-assess our goals for the coming year. We often feel refreshed and ready to roll up our sleeves to get working on new projects or better habits.
Some people make resolutions; a popular one is to adopt minimalist living, or to be more productive.
As humans, we hoard things. We form attachment to belongings, which in psychology is known as the endowment effect. We accumulate so much as we move through life, and may then find it hard to let go of things that we actually no longer need. We end up with a lot of clutter. But what you might not have considered is that this occurs this with non-physical items as well: emotionally, spiritually, mentally… and digitally.
Minimalism has been a popular trend in recent years, and while it may be hard to actually live out this practice in today’s world, de-cluttering is a great place to start. Cleaning out your pantry, wardrobe and other areas of the home or office always leaves you feeling clean and organised, and this carries across to your headspace as well. It’s the same when it comes to digital cleansing.
Minimalist living has taken off in recent years
Open your smart phone, have a look on your home screen at all the apps you have. How many of them do you use on a regular basis? How many do you need? See if you can delete some (right now!), and see how much better you feel!
Another simple task is to clean up your desktop and endless documents on your computer, delete what you don’t need and back up the rest onto an external hard drive to free up space on your main computer.
We can clean up our email inboxes, delete unwanted files and apps, but there are other ways we can harness technology to live a little more simply and efficiently.
Technology can help us do more by doing less. Yep. Doesn’t that sound magical? I’m not talking about being lazy and technology doing the work for you… Not exactly...
There’s an app for everything these days, and the digital space can feel quite saturated in that sense, but if you find productivity apps that work for you to free up your time and capacity to do other things, it’s worth the time spent to hunt for and trial a few. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Organise your tasks and schedule: Organise your mind.
To-Do lists may be cliché, but they are really great for getting everything out of your busy mind and onto paper (or screen). It allows you to visualise what you’re dealing with. From there you can assign priorities and figure out an order for everything. You can take it one step further and add a deadline or allocate an amount of time to complete the task. Enter time blocking.
It’s a great way to strip everything back and focus on one task at a time, so your efforts are more concentrated, and time spent is more fruitful. It keeps you focused and on schedule because you are more aware of how you spend your time, and consequently, when you’re wasting it.
Plan is a great app for this. It’s free and has a lot of functionality. At its simplest, you can offload all your to-do items, and they become tasks that you can drop into your schedule. You can also work around meetings, which will automatically appear once you sync with your Google Calendar.
When looking at ‘day-to-view’, there’s a line which keeps pace with the time, constantly keeping you on task and reminding you that your day is finite!
There are many other great apps out there for to-do lists and time blocking. WeekPlan is another great one with more features (like an in-built Pomodoro timer), with a free trial and a low price point. But it’s a matter of trialing to find one that suits you!
The Devil’s in the Distraction.
Figure out what distracts you the most - whether at work or home. TV? Facebook? Emails? Blog posts? Insignificant but easy tasks? Some distractions are more productive means of procrastination than others, but they are still taking your attention away from what you should be focusing on.
Not getting distracted is a mental muscle, it can be hard to resist distraction but you get better as you go. Awareness is the first step to improvement.
Put your smartphone into ‘do not disturb mode’ when you are busy working. Turn off notifications so your eyes and ears aren’t drawn away from your task.
Schedule a time block for checking emails and don’t let them keep interrupting you outside of that time.
The same applies to other tasks that may benefit you, but are actually a distraction: LinkedIn, Facebook, reading articles. If they are things you still want to do, allocate a time for them in your schedule. Otherwise use that self-discipline and resist the temptation!
Automation = Liberation
There are many systems out there that can automate repetitive marketing activities such as social media posting and email campaigns. Automatically scheduling these types of activities frees you up to focus on other tasks, making you more efficient. There are a range of automation systems out there for different business needs and budgets. While there are some free options, it’s always best to first figure out what exactly your business needs. If you need help or direction, get in touch for a free marketing consultation.
When we clear out the old, we can make way for the new. Animals shed skin, or upgrade their shells as they grow… Think about how you can apply this to your life and transcend higher this year.
We have to prioritise our goals, tasks or projects. We can’t do everything at once, especially not if we want the best quality result. Likewise, sometimes when we really want to produce great work, we can get caught up in the detail or spend too much time and effort on refining little things that are marginally not worth it.
Think critically about how you spend your time.
With a clean slate and some new productivity apps, 2018 can be your best year yet! Do less in order to do more – work smarter, not harder.
And with that said, did you know a marketing strategy allows you to be lazy to help you succeed in business?
Want to work smarter, not harder, this year? A marketing strategy is the answer to your problems. Download your copy of our 10 Steps to a Killer Marketing Strategy. Here we outline the ten key elements in creating a great marketing strategy. Use it for reference as you plan out your strategy for the New Year.
10 Things to Consider for a Killer Marketing Strategy
- Get a clear direction on your business
- Determine where to spend your time and resources for the best ROI
- Build a plan that will connect you to your target audience fast and efficiently.
At Marketing Entourage, we work with a number of organisations to help them stay competitive and realise their vision. If you’d like to know more about our methodology and services, take a look at the relevant pages on our website or Contact Us for a free consultation and see how we can help transform the way you market your business.
by Carly Layton
Written by Carly Layton
Carly is a digital marketing manager with agency experience across a range of name brands - from travel to FMCG. She's passionate about all things digital and has a particular interest in consumer behaviour and the role of technology in our modern lives. Carly is a woman of many talents - she's a yoga teacher, freelance photographer and speaks fluent French. With years of experience in customer service, retail and corporate environments, she truly understands the importance of a customer being at the heart of everything a business does.