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How to increase your daily productivity

I don't know about you, but I find it really deflating when I haven't had a particularly productive day at work. Not intentionally, of course. I have a full-time job and run a mental health and wellbeing blog in my own time; hat would suggest I'm reasonably productive most of the time. But sometimes, I find myself sat at my desk at the beginning of the day feeling like I have little control over whether or not I'll have that 'I'm pleased with myself' feeling at the end of the day.

I know I'm not alone when I say that. That's why I wanted to ask Jools what she does day-to-day to be productive both in her personal and professional life.

Jools is a business mentor and coach who helps people save time so they can make more money. She has kindly agreed to share some tips on how we can all be a little bit more productive every day.

What are some of the main things that prevent us from being productive?

I think we need to move away from the idea that productivity is just ticking things off your to-do list. To me, productivity is so much more than that.

Obviously, I am a massive tech lover and one of the main things I see that prevent us from being productive is not using the tools that are built to help us. If you are spending time doing repetitive tasks, chances are there is software out there that can do it for you.

Are there any software tools you’d recommend?

I could talk for days about this but I won’t! I am a firm believer in getting things out of your head. So my two favourite tools are Reminders and ClickUp. I use them daily and both are absolute lifesavers for me.

I have reminders for birthdays; when to give my dog his medication; when to stop working at the end of the day; when to charge my mouse and keyboard, and when to water my plants. The list is endless but it tends to be things I need to remember to do, whether I am at my desk or not.

ClickUp is the one I use to house all my work-related tasks. It is my project/task management weapon of choice. You will hear me talk about this A LOT. It is the first platform I look at every morning. I use ClickUp to track my client projects, my client mentoring sessions, my pipeline and my metrics. I also use it to plan my blog content. I basically use it for EVERYTHING. The pièce de résistance has to be the client dashboards though. An absolute dream for holding my clients accountable.

Is it ever good to be unproductive?

I personally believe being productive is making the best use of the time you have available. It is not all about the ‘to-do list’. Sometimes the best use of my time is to get out from behind my computer screen and go for a walk or do a puzzle. Traditionally I don’t think that would be seen as ‘using my time productively’ but I know it will clear my head and allow me to focus on whatever it is that I need to do next.

Have you had to change what you do to be productive over the years? Does this change as we change as a person, do you think?

From a business perspective, I have found my productivity can change as my services do. It has also changed as I have gotten older and I find my cycle can really affect how productive I am.

Self-awareness plays a huge part in it and a willingness to accept that our behaviours grow as we do.

When it comes to productivity it helps to understand when you are better at doing the deep, intense work and when you are better at doing the shallow, less intensework and then schedule a time to do your tasks accordingly. For example, I am much more focused in the morning, so I tend to do any deep tasks that require a lot of concentration first thing. In the afternoons my energy levels drop, so I tend to arrange my calls for the afternoons. Being with other people online gives me a real boost.

Are there things you often see people doing to try and be more productive which you wish they would stop doing?

Over estimating themselves (I mean that in the nicest way possible) and underestimating the time they have available. Oh and multi-tasking!! Focusing on one task at a time can increase productivity by 80%. You need to become a multitasking-free business, you can't afford not to be!

How do you stop yourself from multi-tasking?

It’s discipline. Being aware of it also definitely helps. I often catch myself doing it and have to pull myself back to the original task at hand. I also recommend not starting a task until the one you are working on is complete.

Setting priorities can help, too, as well as clearing away distractions. I am a recovering multitasker and think I will be for the rest of my life. It is instilled in us, particularly women, that it is a trait we should be proud of! It takes time to unlearn this.

What simple things can we do to be more productive every day?

These are my favourite simple but super effective things we can do to be more focused each day…

  • Stay hydrated - A 2013 study showed that drinking water resulted in a 14% increase in productivity.

  • Limit notifications on your phone and computer - this is a game changer, ‘50% of technology users will click on a notification within 30 seconds of receiving it. If the notification isn’t viewed within five minutes, the chances of opening it reduce to 17%'

  • Clear away any distractions - move things out of sight!

How do you deal with days that aren't as productive as you hoped?

Overall I tend to take a more intuitive approach to my productivity and try to be kind to myself. It’s cyclical: some days I get more done than others and that is ok because I know a more ‘productive’ day will come around again soon. But I am also realistic. I obviously understand that we all have sh*t we have to get done, things can’t always wait. If I lack motivation I tend to use one of the following tricks…

  • Do the hardest job first. If it's something you have been putting off make sure you get it done first.

  • Start with 5 minutes. Procrastination is the enemy of productivity, but we are all guilty of it. Commit to doing 5 minutes of whatever you are putting off. By the end of the five minutes, you'll probably end up sitting doing and finishing the entire thing.

  • Smother yourself in doTERRA InTune (if you are into your oils). I can’t believe it’s legal!

You can find out more about Jools and her work at @simply.jools. You can also find out more about Jools' 1:1 coaching here.

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