What’s your productivity tool?

Sand Timer Facebook post

Have you ever got to the end of a working day and wondered where all of your time had gone?  I can honestly say that much of my working life has been spent jumping from task to task, trying to juggle numerous jobs all at the same time, and being proud of what a great multi-tasker I was.  The problem was, I was doing lots of things but not necessarily in the most productive way.

So, how can you manage your time so that your day is as productive as possible?

My light bulb moment came when I stumbled across a fantastic time management tool – a giant sand timer. It’s 24cm high, has bright green sand, and it takes exactly half an hour to run through.  I love it!

It’s ideal for those times when you just need to get on with something. I turn off my phone, close down Outlook and work on a single task for half an hour.

There are some tasks in business that we resist and put off for days, weeks or months, because we don’t know where to start, or we think and believe it will be a very unpleasant experience.

But once you sit down and tackle it, it’s actually quite enjoyable – and you’ll feel brilliant when you’ve finished. However bad it is, half an hour is manageable. If the task feels impossible, a good tactic is to devote one of your half-hour slots to simply looking at it, breaking it down and gathering the information or paperwork you need to make a start.

Eventually, sand timing your work gets to be good fun. You get to the point where, when the sands are running thin, you focus even more strongly and race it. When the sands are all gone, you can stop and do something else. However, more often than not, you’ll turn it over and do another half hour.

My giant sand timer works for me, it may not work for you, but the point here is to find out what does work for you.  What tool could you use which will break your day down into small, manageable chunks?

Don’t let hiccups knock you down

Resilience

I know from experience how wonderful business highs can be, but how dreadful business lows can make me feel.  Over the years I have learnt one critical thing however – the highs and the lows will come; they are both inevitable; that’s life!  Business, like life, will sometimes throw you a curve ball.  What I now try and remember when my curve balls come is that it is not the curve ball that creates the problem, it is how I react to the curve ball that creates the problem.

Like life, dealing with the happy times when everything is going well, is easy.  We don’t even need to try, do we?  But, having the self-awareness, strategies and strength to deal with the bad times can me much harder.  It is the same in business.  It is easy to deal with the good stuff, getting new clients, doubling your turnover, running a successful marketing campaign etc.  But it is how we deal with the bad stuff that makes or breaks both us as business owners and our business itself.  We need to be resilient.  We need what I call ‘bouncebackability’.

I am currently writing about what I have learned about resilience over the years that I have been in business.  I would love to know what you think creates resilience in you? How do you cope with your business lows?  What resilience strategies do you use?