The last few years have tested us all. Due to the pandemic, we had to learn to become more flexible, manage several things simultaneously, such as home office and purchasing, and remain productive. In the following article, we will list tips for becoming even more productive.
You will not find any general advice in this article that you already know as a competent advisor. Instead, we provide you with tips that are unique and tailored specifically to a busy consultant like you.
Productivity Tip #1: Delegate non-consulting tasks to someone else
Consulting is one of the industries where the saying “time is money” is true. As a freelance consultant, your hourly rate and the number of billable hours determine your income. This means you must make the most of every minute of your career as a self-employed management consultant. However, remember you are a consultant, not an administrator, accountant, or graphic designer. For this reason, whenever possible, you should hire a helping hand to take on the distracting tasks for you. This means you can concentrate on what’s important and become more productive.
Productivity Tip #2: Put on background music without vocals
Music is one of the best productivity tips professionals have used for a long time. Feel free to use music when collecting or analyzing data or adding insights to consulting slides. However, it would help if you carefully use music without vocals.
Music can certainly help you concentrate. At the same time, however, it can also be a significant distraction. For this reason, the type of music you listen to at work is crucial. To concentrate, it is best to only listen to upbeat instrumental music. This will help you maintain your rhythm and relax in a potentially stressful situation.
KEY FACTS AT A GLANCE
- Use your billable hours wisely by delegating small tasks to someone else and focusing only on consulting-related work
- If you listen to music while working, limit yourself to instrumental pieces and avoid singing.
- Make sure you exercise because physical exercise is scientifically proven to increase productivity.
- Buy a separate phone for work and only check notifications at certain times.
- Avoid junk food and carbonated drinks and consume micronutrients through healthy foods to improve brain function.
- Learn to meditate. This can improve your decision-making skills and self-discipline.
- Take advantage of the time you spend on the commute by listening to audiobooks or podcasts.
Productivity Tip #3: Move your body
This tip has nothing directly to do with your consulting tasks. However, moving your body through brisk walking or going to the gym can help you become more productive. According to a study from Leeds Metropolitan University, people who exercised during working hours were more productive and happier. The fact is that our bodies are not designed to sit at a desk for hours. Physical exercise is necessary to be healthy and productive, especially if you, as a consultant, are expected to perform high-quality intellectual work in a seated position for long periods.
Productivity Tip #4: Don’t open email while you’re busy on a task
Emails are necessary for modern professionals. However, they can hurt your attention if you dwell on them every few minutes. Throughout your career as a management consultant, you will receive dozens of emails every week. However, if you keep the email tab open in your web browser and turn on notifications, a task that should take an hour will probably take 1.5 hours. Not to mention the stress and anxiety of being late, so it is better to set a specific time to check emails. For example, you could consistently check in only every three hours and become more productive.
Productivity Tip #5: Find and eliminate productivity killers
You can always find a list of tips on being more productive online. However, it would help if you also were looking for factors affecting your productivity. Every consultant is different, and each of you may have a specific problem holding you back. So, it would be best to look deeper into yourself to find out what stops you from becoming more productive. Is it social media, a personal problem, or perhaps a lack of exercise? Whatever it is, only you can find the aspects of your life that make you less productive and work to fix them.
Productivity Tip #6: Watch what you consume
Look at the negative impact of fast food and sugary and carbonated drinks on productivity, and you’ll be amazed. According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study, frequent fast food consumption led to lower micronutrient intake. However, your brain needs these nutrients to function optimally; without them, you can feel stressed or depressed. Another study by NCBI found that deficiencies in micronutrients such as magnesium and zinc were confirmed in people suffering from depression. So always remember that you are what you eat. Not eating a healthy, balanced diet will negatively impact your productivity and mental health.
Also Read: SWOT Analysis: The Underrated Business Tool
Productivity Tip #7: Try working from different locations
Sometimes, monotony and a predictable routine can make you feel unmotivated. Fortunately, employers and clients are open to letting consultants work remotely these days. As a consultant, you should take advantage of this new trend and switch between working in the office, at home, in a coffee shop, or in another location of your choice. Even if it’s impossible to change your work location every day, you should do it one or two days a week to see if it makes you more productive.
Productivity Tip #8: Get a different phone for work
Imagine You’re in a Slack chat with your customer on your smartphone. Then, your best friend or partner sends you a funny text message or tells you something private. Will you be able to resist clicking on this message? Well, that’s unlikely, especially if you’re the type of person who responds immediately. Although having close relationships with people in your personal life is good, you should know how to balance your personal and professional life. If you have different phones for work and personal use, you can switch to airplane mode while you work so that you only receive calls and messages from customers and work colleagues.
Productivity Tip #9: Make the most of your commute
Whether you take the bus or drive your car, commuting to work will take hundreds of hours throughout your career as a management consultant. As a result, you have two options: waste those hours or use them to do something productive. As you drive back and forth, listen to an audiobook, podcast, or maybe even stand-up comedy to lighten the mood. These options are far better than just serving time to get to work.
Productivity Tip #10: Meditate
Meditation used to be considered just a fad from the East. Then, entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs introduced them to the business world. Several scientific studies have proven that meditation makes us more productive. Research suggests that meditation strengthens the prefrontal cortex (the advanced brain). So, if you meditate regularly, you can develop better decision-making skills and self-discipline, which ensures higher productivity.
Hopefully, some of these tips will make you more productive in your daily work. May this year be your most productive year yet as a consultant. All the best!