Improve your wellbeing AND be more productive!

by Joe Baldock

Move over corporate, capitalist productivity – a newer, more zen-like, approach to being productive is here!

At Justlife and the Brighton Frontline Network we’re exploring and experimenting with ways of improving homelessness workers wellbeing. Being organised and getting things done is obviously key to the work we do so we thought we’d enlist the help of Graham Allcott – a Productivity Ninja at Think Productive – to come and run some focused workshops on how to be productive and make the most of our time.

There was so much to be learned from the two sessions with Graham which I’m not going to attempt to rewrite here (just buy (or borrow Justlife’s copy of) Graham’s book)!

What I am going to do, however, is offer you a few of my takeaways from each session for those of you who didn’t make it.

Here we go:

Session one – Stress Less, Achieve More

#1 Brain dumps!

Take a piece of paper and spill your stream of consciousness onto the page. You’ll be surprised what comes out! Amongst the crazy things there will be some tasks which are probably quite solvable. Once you’ve finished writing (I’d recommend around five minutes – though do what feels right to you) read back through to identify anything that your mind, gut or heart feels you need to address, then do something about it there and then or schedule to do something about it at a later date!

#2 The weekly review

Put aside one or two hours per week of time just for you to:

Get your inputs to zero (inbox zero, paperwork scanned and shredded, petty cash reconciled, case notes up to date, desk tidied etc. etc!

Look back and look forward, get ready (how did you make use of your last two weeks, what do your next three weeks look like in your calendar? Is there anything you need to rearrange, cancel, move? Do you have any wriggle room between appointments? Have you booked those train tickets for next Thursday’s conference?)

Reflect (ask yourself questions – am I worried about anything? Am I stuck with something? Do I need to talk to that person about that thing that I’m putting off doing?)

Use the time for you! (this protected time is invaluable to me – use it for what feels right!)

#3 Apps for recording and organising your tasks and projects

Don’t let them slow you down! The psychology behind how you use the app is more important than the app itself.

Check out Trello, Asana and Nozbe.

Session two – Fixing Meetings

Cancel your meetings! Go on, do it now! Go through your calendar right now and cancel three hours worth.

If you really can’t cancel three hours, cut down some of your hour-long meetings or client meets to 40 mins, and your two hour meetings to 90 mins. Go on! You’ll feel great!

Purpose statements and action summaries

What is the point in your meeting? What is the why? What are people going to go away and do at the end of the meeting?

Ask yourself these questions. You might even realise that you don’t need to meet at all – an email might suffice!

If the meeting is worth keeping – make sure the purpose statement is clearly defined and shared with all participants. And share a summary of actions to be completed (email it out) with those who attended so stuff gets done!

#3 Review your meetings

Put some time aside to review all your meetings.

Ask yourself questions like:

   -Are there any regular meetings you don’t need any more?

   -Is there one you all just really hate and could do without?

   -Does that one not work just before lunch as everyone is so hungry and not concentrating (could you provide food there,   perhaps?)

   -Does that meeting need to be that long?

Graham’s workshops were fantastic and here at Justlife we’ve already implemented some changes based on our learning!

We’re really grateful for Think Productive providing training which was run for members of the Brighton Frontline Network.

Sign up to our mailing list here and keep an eye out for our updates and future events.

The next event is 18th April, 3pm-5pm at One Church, Gloucester Place. It will be hosted in partnership with Greg Headley from The Passage, our topic will be Have Your Voice Heard and we will explore together what is happening on the frontline, share good practice and explore what you think we should be doing as a city. Eventbrite sign up here.

We look forward to seeing you there!