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By Natasha McGarrell

 In agency land, we need to be on top of half a dozen or more different campaigns, multiple clients and stakeholders, media requests, events, send outs, and of course make sure we post it all on social media. There sure as hell ain’t time for faffing around. The Tonic team invests heavily in regular productivity training. Here’s some of the secrets we’ve learnt along the way.

  1. Turn off notifications

Notifications are the devil of productivity. Don’t freak out, yes we are recommending that you turn off distracting and impossible to ignore email notifications. Unless you’re expecting an urgent phone call, put your phone face down or even on ‘do not disturb’ for certain periods where it’s crucial you concentrate (i.e. writing a media release). You’ll thank us later.

  1. Only ‘process’ emails three times a day

On average, we check emails 15 times a day. It can seem like we live or die by our emails and suffer a bad case of FOMO if we can’t. What if I told you could get back two hours of your day?

Scrolling through emails only half-reading them multiple times throughout the day chews up SO much time. It takes a LOT of discipline, but try ‘processing’ (not just checking) your emails and only a maximum of three or four times a day (I know, I know, just stay with me). ‘Processing’ means actioning each email using the ‘Four D’s’ with the aim to end up with no emails left in your inbox:

  • Do it now (if under 2-5 minutes)
  • Delegate (where appropriate)
  • Defer it (create a task for yourself and clarify the next step)
  • Delete (or file if you need to refer to the email later).

This is a true time-saver and once you’ve got the hang of it, you will own that inbox, instead of it owning you.

  1. Plan ahead and number your to-do list

Before you log off for the day, number tomorrow’s tasks from 1-10 in order of priority. When you arrive at the office the next day, you’ll hit the ground running without getting distracted by emails first up. This also helps avoid procrastination. Of course there will be distractions throughout the day, but be ruthless about getting back into it and following the numbers.

  1. Eat A Frog

You heard me. Get the ugliest task done straight up and the rest of the day seems less daunting. Brian Tracy explains more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W7GB5Fh2XM

  1. Plug in to plug out

Distractions are everywhere, so put some noise-cancelling headphones on or move away from your desk and work in a quieter space if you need to focus. Music without lyrics or ambient noise works best for most people. You can read more on why that is and some great apps to try out here.

  1. Take a break

To stay at the top of your productivity game, take regular breaks every 90 minutes. It helps to allocate time in your diary to step away from your desk, take a walk, grab a tea or coffee, get some lunch or meditate. Relax and recharge – you deserve it!

We learnt all of this and more from our productivity guru, Wendy Cole, who provides productivity and management training at i-Mastery. To learn more about how you can get more productive visit i-mastery.com.au