I’ve been taking part in a SMART Business Programme with my business development mentor. As part of the process, Karen gives me a call mid-month to check on my progress, or to boost me if my motivation is flagging – a common occurrence in these strange times! On our last call, I admitted that I was struggling to write anything for my latest novel as I usually take myself off to a local coffee shop to write.
Like a genie of the lamp, she pulled a solution out of thin air that was a game-changer for me and my productivity, and I wanted to share it with you too. It was a coffee shop background noise generator app (I kid you not!). It’s genius! The app includes weather, commute, and nature sounds too. Here’s the link if you want to check it out for yourself: https://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/cafeRestaurantNoiseGenerator.php
Once I discovered this incredible app, a spot of lockdown lunacy followed, and with help from my daughter (a bored creative media student) we ended up making a fun video dedicated to coffee shop writers across the globe. You can watch it on YouTube HERE.
I was amazed at how my productivity shifted with the simple addition of the white noise I’d grown so accustomed to over the years. Once I realised the importance of ‘cheating’ your mind into thinking the world is turning as normal, I discovered a few other productivity tips:
Evernote – when you work in an office or have a dedicated area at home, you know exactly where your stuff is. Within seconds you can put your hand on the notebook with all the important notes about your presentation/client project/newsletter campaign, and then suddenly everything is out of order! You’re displaced and now work from your kitchen table, your home office now doubles as a classroom, and your patience is wearing thin. Try Evernote. It’s an excellent tool for organising your notes, resources, and research into one handy online to-do list.
Batch Working – there are days I feel motivated to work, and there are days I sit around in my PJs drinking tea and contemplating the state of the world. On a good day, I’ll batch my work and create blocks of time for each project. I might spend two hours writing blog posts, one hour updating my LinkedIn profile, and two hours working on my client projects. By batching the work, I can stay entirely focused on the task at hand, but I know that when I have a bad day, I won’t feel guilty.
Prioritise Tasks – I’m fortunate that I work for myself and can take a more relaxed approach to my task management. However, I do still have work coming in for external clients, and you may also be remotely working for your business. I’ve found that my energy levels are better first thing in the morning (before my three teenagers get up!) so I’ll prioritise the vital work and get it done first. Work out the best time of day for you and complete your most important tasks when you’re feeling at your most productive.
Switch Off – there is no 9-5 anymore as we all adjust to the new norm. Homeschooling may need to take precedence over your business needs, and so you end up working until 9pm. Try, if you can, to have time in the day or night when you switch off your phone, laptop, computer, iPad, etc. Watch telly if that helps you relax, but don’t check your phone, or respond to emails. Sometime in the future we will return to a new world (whatever that may look like), and you don’t want to have adopted a new habit of working until midnight!
I’d love to hear about your productivity tips for lockdown, so please feel free to share them with me – hit return on this email and send them over, pop over to my Facebook page, or share them via my LinkedIn profile.