Imagine having a superpower.
Something that you could call on at any time to make you better at, literally, anything.
Well, good news – you have that superpower. We all do, in fact, and it’s known as ‘productivity’.
Being efficient and being able to get stuff done on time makes a hell of a difference in the real world, whether you’re at work or trying to reach a goal in your personal life. It’s what separates the productive people from those who don’t understand the term ‘busy vs productive’.
We’ve noticed this as an SEO agency working with SEO experts, content marketers, writers and designers. In our own field, some people are far better than others. And not just by a small margin, either – they’re literally ten times better at getting things done.
What makes these people so good?
The interesting thing about the great people we work with is that they’re not actually ten times more skilled or ten times more experienced than the rest. They’re not ‘noobs’ to the industry, either.
The secret to their success is clearly something else; they’re able to do far more than the less competent people we’ve come across with seemingly much less effort.
It’s been a similar story for us. Our journey through the world of SEO and digital marketing has demonstrated that, when we work hard at our productivity, we can complete jobs that used to take eight hours in just one hour.
The effect is stunning – it’s as though a job suddenly gets done without the team doing virtually anything.
So, what’s the secret?
1) A productivity-first approach.
2) Nailing the productivity-first approach
As you’d guess, this isn’t something you can achieve overnight. It takes considerable focus and a shift in mindset but, most importantly, a desire to change the way you work.
For us, this meant a few things.
We began planning every job well in advance. We’d sit down with clients and then the team to ensure everyone knew their own responsibility and what the end goal was. The job would then be broken up into smaller, manageable chunks and distributed accordingly.
Distractions must also be kept to an absolute minimum. Smartphone notifications, social media, email (we’ll come to that in a moment) and needlessly long office water cooler chats need to be dispensed with if you’re to get stuff done more efficiently.
You may have heard of ‘inbox zero’, and this is a key element of a productivity-first approach. To do this, make sure email is downgraded to the least important communication channel (all job communication should go through your project management system) and only checked once or twice a day.
How often does everyone get copied into emails needlessly? An inbox zero approach ensures the most important project-related discussions and updates don’t get lost in long, pointless, endless email threads.
Our top tips
So, before we sign off, let’s quickly run through our top tips for developing a productivity-first approach to work.
- Achieve inbox zero – it’s easier than you think
- Eliminate distractions – all distractions (do you really need to receive all of those Facebook notifications while you’re working?)
- Plan ahead – just make sure you break those big projects up into smaller, manageable chunks
- Don’t task switch – this is a big culprit, so stick on the task in hand until it is 100% finished
Here’s some further reading you might find useful:
Super simple but great productivity Technique
Cool book on finding more time in your day
Cost of Task Switching