The pursuit of productivity

- July 9, 2010 2 MIN READ

At the core of any successful quest to improve productivity, is a clear awareness of priorities.

To stand any real chance of working productively you need a vision that draws you. Without it you’re blowing in the wind – some days the wind is in your favour and you’ll make headway; other days you’ll get nowhere.

Read more about creating a vision here.

Let’s assume you have your vision, but that time is still somewhat out of control and you just don’t seem to be getting things done the way you’d like. Why could this be?

Clearly something or someone is stealing your time. Look closely and you’ll see the main culprit: other people’s priorities. 

Too often our time is taken up responding to the seemingly pressing needs of others: The ring of a phone; the boing of an email; the silent throb of an SMS are all means of alerting us to something that has an implied urgency.

But whose urgency is being played out here? Certainly not yours.

As soloists, it’s essential to keep your priorities at the top of your list.

Setting boundaries

To ensure you’re not prey to other’s priorities, you need to make a conscious choice of how available you are to your customers and how much time you are prepared to dedicate to your business.

Being accessible by those who genuinely need your support is laudable; allowing yourself to be available to all 24/7 is rarely a good strategy.

Practical tips for staying in control

Here are some practical tips to ensure you stay in control of your time:

  • Set retrieve schedules for your email program – if you can bear it, a maximum of four times a day will see productivity soar.
  • Set deadlines and hold yourself accountable to them.
  • Recognise that there is more to do than will ever be done, so some things on your list won’t happen.
  • Learn how to say no to unreasonable customers and requests.

Want more articles like this? Check out the productivity section.

Embrace technology

We’re so lucky these days to have a steady flow of technologies geared towards improving productivity.

That said, it’s important to look carefully at what’s on offer to ensure relevance to your particular situation.


As we learned from our recent research, top of the wishlist of many Australian businesses is a ‘smartphone’.

While no clear definition exists for a smartphone, it’s fundamentally a mobilephone that combines voice services with email and internet capabilities.

Definitions aside, smartphones allow you undertake small tasks when you suddenly find yourself with a small ‘gift of time’ – waiting for an appointment, when stuck in traffic (so long as you are not the driver!), when arrangements change at short notice and so on.

Tailormade computer hardware

Increasingly, computer hardware suppliers allow you to design your ideal laptop or desktop configuration. Take advantage of this by carefully considering how precisely you want your computer to perform.

By clarifying the main tasks you’re undertaking, will help your local computer supplier determine your needs.

Online tools

From project management and document filing programs to bookkeeping and invoicing, there is a mass of low cost online tools to support your productivity.

A good place to start is to post a request for a recommendation in the ‘talking technology’ section of our forums…you’ll be amazed how many others have already trodden the path and have reviews to share.

Good luck with your pursuit of productivity perfection!

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"