One of the perks of being an entrepreneur or freelancer is that you can work from anywhere, and a flexible schedule is one of the biggest reasons why people make the switch.
Maximizing productivity has a lot to do with stability and consistency. If we are able to stabilize the environment around us, the more likely it is that we will perform to the best of our ability. In order to create effective schedules and to-do lists, we have to know what to expect.
Unfortunately for productivity, life can be very chaotic. Things don’t always go as expected. From breakups to layoffs, life-changing events can happen at any second, and often times you don’t have any way to prepare for it. When that happens, it can be challenging to overcome.
But as the saying goes: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Focus on ways you can stay productive, even when everything around you is a crazy mess:
It’s business as usual
When you hit rough patches in life, it can turn everything you know upside down. When that happens, your first instinct might be to retreat back. Instead, push forward. Unexpected events can happen at any time. But if you can, try not to let it affect what you’re doing and where you want to go. Treat it as business as usual and go about your normal day as much as you can. The less you let it affect you, the more productive you’ll be.
View it from another perspective
When problems arise, we look at it from one perspective – ours. Our perspective can often be very flawed or skewed. We tend to overemphasize issues since we’re the ones in the heat of it all. But when that happens, take a step back. Try to look at the issue from another perspective, whether it be the person on the other side or a complete stranger. That gives us the ability to assess the situation realistically. You might come to realize that it isn’t as bad as it seems. Once you do that, you can figure out how you can overcome it.
Communicate with others
If life has thrown you a curveball, don’t keep it to yourself. When you bottle it up, you tend to intensify the situation. Talk to others and share your problems. Friends, family and colleagues can give you really great advice since they know you and your situation the best. When you communicate with others, you can solve the problem faster and more efficiently.
Take a deep breath
Don’t forget to relax and take a deep breath. When you let the stress get to you, your mind can shut down and you won’t be able to get anything done. Take some time to yourself. In fact, separate work from life. If you isolate the situation, you won’t let it affect other parts of your life.
From a very young age, we are taught to ask questions. We’re told that being inquisitive is a good thing because asking questions will help you solve the problem faster. And that’s true. But one thing we never make a habit of, though we should, is asking ourselves questions.
As business professionals, our mission should be to serve our clients’ best interests and “over deliver” on the promises that we make to them.
However, it is important that the communication we have with clients, vendors and other stakeholders not completely dictate our day. What do I mean by this?
We use our calendars to manage our time but sometimes, we spend a little more time trying to manage our calendars than we would like.
Keeping your calendar on track may seem like a perpetual to-do on your list. And it should be. You do use it everyday. However, it doesn’t have to take up as much time as you let it. Calendar management is actually quite simple. You don’t need an assistant to do it and you don’t need to spend hours each day on your own trying to clean it up. Here are 5 tips to effectively manage your calendar:
Block out time for yourself.
Do you always scarf down your lunch at your desk or find yourself going from meeting to meeting? If so, it doesn’t have to be that way! You need time to yourself to either work or take a break. If it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find that time, then you have to schedule it. Block out time for yourself – take an hour each day for lunch or block off your Friday afternoons just to get things done. It may seem like just a couple hours but it will make a very significant difference.
Share your calendar with others.
It’s not a good idea to make your calendar public (after all, you don’t want everyone to know where you are all the time!). But it may be a good thing to share your calendar with select people, such as those who work very closely with you or family members. You might be running late from another meeting and unable to reach out to your team. They’ll be able to take a quick look at your calendar and know you’re coming from another engagement.
Don’t be afraid to decline meetings.
Never be afraid to say no, especially to meetings. You probably don’t need to go to at least 50% of the meetings you are invited to. So don’t. If you feel like you don’t need to be there or you’re wasting your time, politely decline. It’s your call, not someone else’s.
Always include an agenda.
If you are putting a meeting on others’ calendars, always be sure to include an agenda, date, time, and location. Be as detailed as possible so that attendees can decide whether or not to attend and what is expected of them. If you don’t include an agenda, people will be inclined to decline.
Set up recurring reminders for yourself.
Your calendar can double as you to-do list as well. If you prefer seeing your meetings and tasks all in one place, Outlook and Google Calendar will allow you to combine the two. For recurring tasks and meetings, you can set it up one time and never forget about it again.