Do you wonder how some people have accomplished so many tasks while you seem to be behind schedule every day? Are you fascinated by productive people and want to reach the same level of effectiveness?
Productivity is a hot topic, and an army of experts have offered solutions to improve it.
Sadly, some of the people sharing productivity hacks just rewrite genuine experts’ opinions. As a result, take all secret tips that guarantee solid improvements in just a few days with a grain of salt.
Being more productive isn’t a destination but a journey—there is always room for improvement. Each person is unique, so the way to get more efficient is different for everyone.
The road to perfection is unique for each of us. All you have to do is to persevere in testing new methods of doing more with fewer resources.
Learn from others – the key to success
Testing productivity hacks yourself is undoubtedly a valuable idea. However, your time is limited and going from failure to failure might demotivate you. Instead of wasting time, why not be smart and learn from other people who are really productive? Yeah, I recommended in the introduction that you be reserved when it comes to golden tips for productivity, but these WordPress experts are prime examples of genuine effectiveness.
We’ve rounded up the best tips from 10 WordPress experts who prove through their results that they know how to deal with being more productive.
Check out their ideas, consider whether these might work for you, and finally, apply them in your workflow.
How do you get the most out of your time when providing WordPress services?
We got advice from 10 WordPress experts:
David Lockie of Pragmatic
Mario Peshev of DevriX
Mustaasam Saleem of Cloudways
Tim Nash of 34SP
Katie Keith of Barn2
Peter Nilsson of WP Newsify
Rikard Degler of SteadyWP
Farheen Fatima of WPHood
Adrian Spiac of Cozmoslabs
David Attard of Collective Ray
In this WordPress expert roundup we wanted to provide a general productivity article to help you get the most out of your time when providing WordPress (or other) services.
By having various WordPress experts talk about their favourite productivity hacks we aim to give you a wide range of tips to think about and walk away with.
David Lockie – Founder of Pragmatic
To stay productive, I guess it’s that age-old combination of doing the right things and doing things right. Let’s make the assumption you’re already clear on what you want to achieve big-picture and it’s ‘just’ a case of being productive to make progress.
Things I rely on are:
- Email management – keep that inbox at zero every day – reply, archive or send it to a todo list
- Time management – block out half-days that correspond with the key responsibilities you have – for me that might be a half day on operations, a half day on commercial activities, a half day on strategy, etc
- Todo management and prioritisation – get really good at using an app like Todoist. I have a structured approach of triaging todos 2-3 times a day into different projects and sub-projects that align with my time blocks and then I use those time blocks to power through a bunch of related tasks all at once
- Quiet time – whether it’s getting up early or being out of office with headphones on, sometimes you just need distraction-free deep-work time
- The team around me – I trust the Pragmatic team to catch and run with the ball when I throw it. That’s essential otherwise I’d spend my whole life checking whether stuff was being done or not.
- Get a VA/PA – I can’t tell you how good this is – being able to delegate calendar management, logistics and travel is such a time-saver.
But all this really means efficiency. Effectiveness and productivity only come when these productivity practices support achieving a clear vision. That’s a different blog post entirely though…
Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX
Deploy a productivity system like Pomodoro, GTD, the 1-3-5 List or anything else that keeps you accountable and sets measurable goals on a daily basis. Sticking to a repetitive pace would inevitably make production more predictable and manageable.
In terms of specific activities — make sure your assignments are broken down into clear objectives with limited ambiguity. Uncertainty and doubt are the most notorious productivity killers. Streamlining your process into simple, clear, predictable tasks will skyrocket your efficiency.
Mustaasam Saleem – WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways
I would say setting up your goals and dividing them into smaller tasks like OKRs is really important. Always focus on one task at a time! Stop multitasking. It keeps you from focusing on anything and results in affecting the quality of your work.
When you feel you’re waning out, go take a walk, talk to people around you, grab a cup of coffee then get back to work. You’ll feel refreshed and your mind will be far more productive. If you have to attend meetings regularly, keep them short and precise.
Tim Nash – the WordPress Platform Lead for 34SP.com
In the last few months, I have spent time improving my productivity and general workflow, one of the big changes was going from a paper-based bullet journal to a more digital system. I’m a morning person so most of my main jobs will be done before 11, and I try to always schedule meetings in the afternoon.
My day to day tool is Todoist for managing all tasks, from taking medication to work jobs.
For more general thoughts and ideas as well as sharing ideas with friends and colleagues I use Trello. Finally, I use the Productivity Challenge timer app on my phone to split my work time into chunks. I really like its quirky dystopian feel, anyone who has played papers please will see obvious influences.
Katie Keith from Barn2
My favourite productivity hack for providing WordPress services is to create a list of must-have plugins that will be invaluable to nearly every website you develop.
Our must-have plugins include Yoast SEO, WP Smush for image optimisation, NK Google Analytics, and Akismet. We also use Posts Table Pro on 80% of our clients’ sites – this plugin lists any type of WordPress content in a table and saves having to list information manually. We use it to meet clients’ requirements for popular features such as WordPress document libraries, links pages, blog post archives, and e-commerce product order forms.
If you use a good managed WordPress host such as Kinsta or WP Engine, then you can create a master site that is pre-installed with your must-have plugins and clone it for every new client site that you create. This will significantly increase your productivity at the start of each project.
Peter Nilsson – founder of WP Newsify
I have gone from wanting to learn everything such as coding themes and plugins to realising my limitations and focusing on blogging. I still dabble with code and take time to realise my ambitions in these areas but by sticking to what I’m best at I’m able to get more done in less time.
It is important to schedule your work days allowing for breaks and other activities such as checking email, social media and industry news.
I balance work/life by going for long walks, running, spending time with family and socialising.
By breaking out of work for a few hours in the afternoon/evenings I’m able to get back to it with increased focus, energy and drive in order to crank out another job before clocking out for the night.
Although I deviate from my schedule sometimes to make room for fun, taking breaks is important and makes it easier to get refocused when I need to make up the hours later on.
For improved productivity, I recommend having a workflow to follow. But also that you have the flexibility to take the time to do fun stuff like working on side projects.
Finding the time when you are most creative is important so you can work to the best of your abilities. If you find it difficult to stop a task until it is done just make sure you try and take a break so you are on top form but sometimes you just need to go all in to get a big task done.
Rikard Deglar – founder and project manager at SteadyWP
My number one productivity tip is to prepare yourself mentally for what you need to do, try to program your mind to focus on the tasks you need to get done, then sit down and actually do it when you feel comfortable doing so.
If you don’t actually need the internet to do what you need to do, then I would recommend that you turn your router off until you are done, along with the phone. Try to shut all distractions out.
To keep track of the tasks I need to do I usually simply open a tab in my browser that lets me know what is in the pipeline. I also use Asana, or a simple text document, for task management if the browser gets too crowded.
My second productivity tip is actually related to food; six months ago I stopped eating breakfast, I now only eat brunch which usually consists of three eggs, tea and two pieces of bread with butter and/or peanut butter. If I eat this kind of brunch I don’t need to eat lunch, which means I free up time during the day by skipping a whole meal. By eating this way I also feel much better during the day, and I have a more constant energy level compared to when having breakfast which consists mainly of carbohydrates. Following this suggestion might not work for you, but I do recommend that you try to experiment with your eating habits.
Farheen Fatima – Community Manager at WPHood
My team and I are a very passionate group of people who believe in working together.
We have a very clear understanding of the importance of both work and home life. Our number one strategy to keep work/life balance is focus, focus, and focus. When we are at work, we think about nothing but work, we are focused and when we are home, we are home. It may sound simple and difficult to implement at first, but once you master it, it is the single most simple strategy that can help you maintain healthy work/life balance.
For us, the number one productivity tip is to list, prioritise, and go. We use 1-3-5 and GTD strategies to boost our productivity but focus is still our number one tip for being productive.
Adrian Spiac – founder of Cozmoslabs
I’m an early riser, I normally get up before 6AM. Part of my morning ritual is reading for 20-30 minutes and putting my thoughts on paper. I split my work day in half. The first part is focused on creating, whether it’s content, code, processes etc. It’s the type of work that requires bigger chunks of time with no interruptions. Ideally I do this for 4-5 hours each day.
The second part is focused on management tasks, emails, calls, supporting my team, meetings etc. Since we only work 4 days/week (Fridays OFF) I spend my long weekends with my family or in nature, fishing.
Yes, early morning is key for me. It’s quiet, there are no interruptions and my productivity level is at its peak. As mentioned above I like scheduling bigger chunks of time for creating things or learning. To get in the flow this needs to be over 4 hours. Management tasks are normally delayed for the end of the day. Depending on volume, you can also book them for a certain half-day.
Also, sleep is very important. It sounds silly, but we tend to overlook this many times. If you want to wake up early and fresh, you should go to bed early and get 8 hours of sleep. This number can vary, but for me it revolves around 8. Reading a few pages in bed has a positive effect on my sleep quality.
David Attard from Collective Ray
Work for Collective Ray is strictly 9 to 5. This makes sure everything stays boxed in.
Anything outside of those hours needs to be based on “hobby” or enjoyment work, primarily on any niche sites, or just writing / blogging about WordPress, digital marketing and related industries – stuff I enjoy. Given the always-online world we live in, one must be strict with themselves, in order not to work 24/7. For example, disable most phone notifications related to work, so they can be seen on a “pull” basis rather than in real-time.
Set yourself some do not disturb time – 1 hour or as much as you need where you are completely offline, in terms of, you CANNOT get disturbed. Phones are off, meetings are off, everything is 100% focused. It doesn’t matter whether that’s in the morning, or when everybody has left the office, or when your kids have gone to sleep, just do what works best for you.
Also eat your frog first. Schedule the most annoying/hardest task for the morning, so once that’s out of the way, everything else feels like a breeze.
The harsh reality of getting more productive is giving up small Facebook or Twitter chats, ignoring your smartphone notifications, and stopping checking news or sports news. Your motivation is more important than any hack shared by the above people. Be honest with yourself and make a decision. Are you prepared to give up to the “simple pleasures” and start fully focusing on your work? Your productivity will grow exponentially only when you are totally committed to ignoring every distraction.
Don’t forget, productivity isn’t a destination. It’s a journey!
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