28 Productivity Tips To Get You Through The Month of February

After the excitement of January has worn off and it’s just another year, it can be difficult to keep up momentum. New Year’s Resolutions are all but abandoned, the fun of the holidays has expired and a lull tends to set in. All that combined with colder winter temperatures and the fact that it’s dark before we leave the office? It’s no wonder we feel like our ability to be productive dips in February.

But there is still work to be done and a business to run. Luckily, you’re not alone. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite tips, tools, hacks and tricks to help you ramp up in February with a productivity jump-start. Streamline your work and see how successful you can be this year with these 28 get-stuff-done tips.

1. Eat the frog

Know that big, cumbersome task you’ve had looming? Do it first thing tomorrow morning. “If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long.” Just do it! You’ll thank yourself when your afternoon is smooth sailing.

2. Stop what you’re doing and laugh

No, seriously! Having a laugh can actually improve your brain function. Keep a YouTube playlist of your favorite videos at the ready for when you need a laugh.

3. Organize meeting details in Google Calendar

When you schedule a meeting in your Google Calendar, take a few moments to jot down your notes, important talking points, reminders, addresses and other info in the expanded view. You can even craft bulleted or numbered lists, add links to reference and see a map of your meeting location!

4. Boost afternoon energy with a smarter lunch

Don’t let your lunch ruin your afternoon productivity. Experts say your sugar intake has a direct effect on your brain function, so skip something sugary (sure, it’ll give you a jolt — and then a crash) and opt for a healthy snack instead.

5. Take a walk

 Research suggests that a brisk walk away from your workspace can help you refocus and get back to task. Stretch your legs, feel the sunshine on your face for a few minutes and get your circulation moving. Your body and your brain will thank you for the boost.

6. Subscribe to a news brief

 In this day and age, missing even one morning newscast can set you so far behind you don’t know what’s going on in the world. Subscribe to a daily news brief like The Skimm or your favorite newspaper’s version so you can stay on top of current events — without losing hours to scrolling the latest headlines.

7. Educate families before they walk through your door

It all starts with a great, easy-to-use website that does half the work of family FAQ and marketing for you. The f1Connect website platform does just that — and so much more. Click here to learn more.

8. Organize your favorite blogs with Feedly

Whether there are design and decor blogs, marketing websites or community newsletters you love to read, gather and organize your favorite sites with a reader like Feedly. You can group sources by type and easily skip past anything you’re not into today, or go right for your “Marketing Tips” board when you’re ready to start a brainstorming session.

9. Time block your day

Using your digital calendar or paper planner, segment your day into chunks of time. When you get down to work, commit to only working on the task you have designated, and ONLY for the time allotted. When you plan it in advance, you can make sure to set aside time for all the day’s most important to do’s.

10. Subscribe to our “Tools You Can’t Live Without” Trello board

Stay on top of the latest and best tools, resources and hacks that will help you stay productive and keep your business on track. Consider it your own personal productivity guru. Click here to check it out.

11. Know your productive times

Keep a notebook beside you for a week and record the times where you feel your most focused, most productive and most creative — and most distracted. Then, schedule your day around those times, plugging in corresponding tasks with the mindset you naturally tend toward at a certain time of day.

12. Quit procrastinating

Can you get it done in less than a minute or two? Can you do it from where you’re sitting? Will you be able to cross it off your list as soon as it’s done? Do it now, rather than leaving it on your to do list for the next time you have “free time” (what’s that, anyway?).

13. Wear headphones to plug into your work

Whether you play soothing background music, your favorite pump-up jams or just keep the sound off, wearing headphones can signal to your brain that you’re in work-mode — and signal to those around you that it’s not a good time to interrupt.

14. Use timers to stick to your schedule 

As Parkinson’s law goes, the task will expand to the time allotted. If you give yourself an hour to reply to emails, you’ll spend an hour replying to emails. But if you only have 30 minutes and a hard stop time, watch how fast you can suddenly reach inbox 0.

15. Work with, not against, your sleep cycle 

You’ve heard of the importance of REM sleep. Research shows that interrupting your sleep cycle — say, when being violently awoken by a screeching alarm during your deepest sleep — can be really harmful to health and productivity. Work to find your body’s natural sleep cycle, and then lean into it.

16. Make sending sympathy flowers and gifts a breeze

Give your website visitors the convenience of sending memorial gifts and sympathy flowers right from the same place they’re already sharing condolences and looking up service times without any added hassle. Click here to learn more.

17. Let your inbox do the sorting for you

 Using Gmail’s automatic filtering system, you can organize all your incoming mail as it arrives. Use color-coded tags and folders to sort and file away emails based on keywords and sender profiles. Never be overwhelmed by a disorganized inbox again.

18. Get ahead of your emails with Boomerang 

Speaking of your inbox, there’s now a way to be in two places at once… sort of. Install Boomerang to schedule emails and other actions, like reminding you about an email you need to take action on. Say goodbye to anything getting “lost in the mail.”

19. Save your must-reads for later

With a browser and mobile app called Pocket, you can save anything you come across online to your “read later” list. An interesting article with personalization ideas you want to steal cross your path while you’re replying to Facebook messages from families? Instead of interrupting your workflow, easily save it for later and stay on task right now.

20. Simplify your funeral personalization

No time to become a Photoshop and digital video pro? You don’t have to. Click here to learn more about Life Tributes software that does all the work of creating beautiful, meaningful tribute videos, print keepsakes and funeral webcasts.

21. Make a note now, take action later with a “distraction pad”

Isn’t it weird how you can be in the middle of a project requiring all your attention when something comes to mind out of the blue? “Call Mom” or “Research email marketing tools” are definitely things you don’t want to forget, but now’s not a good time to get started. Keep a pad and pen right next to you to jot these notes down as they spring to mind, and then get right back to the project at hand.

22. Refuse to be disturbed 

Between texts, calls, emails and social notifications, your phone is trying to get your attention every couple of minutes. If you can’t tune it out, and you can’t turn notifications off for good, just go with a temporary hide-out. Use the “Do Not Disturb” function on your smartphone to keep all notifications (except the ones you choose to allow) off just for now, until you say otherwise.

23. Outfit your workspace for comfort 

How long do you think you can stay on task when your shoulders hurt, your eyes are tired and your back is crying out in pain? Not very long. Look into an ergonomic work setup for everything from your desk to your chair to your computer screen in order to keep yourself physically able to plug in and get to work.

24. Keep yourself off distracting sites

Sometimes your willpower just isn’t enough to keep you from browsing your favorite social sites or food blogs during the day. What? You’re only human. But your computer isn’t — outfit it with one of these plugins to keep your mindless surfing habit in check.

25. Turn meetings into “standups” to limit time wasted 

For quick check-ins with your team, institute 10-minute standup meetings. Standing creates a feeling of urgency, and you won’t waste time settling in. These are ideal for brief weekly updates and recaps.

26. Designate days and automate weeks

Rather than working on the next day’s newsletter late into the evening the night before it’s due, or scrambling for something to tweet each day, block out time for these recurring tasks and schedule what you can in advance. Carve out two hours on “Social Media Mondays” to write and schedule all your updates for the week, and do the same for your email marketing, reoccurring financial tasks and other to do’s you can prepare ahead.

27. Keep a “done” list

You’ve heard of a to do list, of course, but what about a done list? Keep track of all you’ve accomplished so far today and refer to it whenever you need some reassurance that you’re able to get the important stuff done.

28. Remember to meet your own needs

Between caring for your families and supporting your team, it can be easy as a funeral professional to neglect your own needs for rest and downtime. But remember, you can only run so far on an empty tank, so take care to recharge your own batteries with a day off now and then, too.

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  1. John Porter

    I know what you mean about resolutions but to say: New Year’s Resolutions are all but abandoned means they were neither resolutions nor the people making them resolute.

    This is not just semantic. The notion of, in essence, making a promise to yourself and/or others goes very deep into our hearts, minds and souls. As a magistrate I swore a solemn oath to judge “without fear or favour”. The meaning of being resolute is: admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering. I like unwavering. 13 years later, every time I sit in court, I remind myself of this oath.

    I love resolutions so long as they have a clear purpose. I like to have a “coach” who checks up on me now and then about how I am doing. However, the responsibility rests with me. So when I read “abandoned” which so many people talk about about now, please forgive me if I squirm!

    Keep up your excellent work!

  2. funeralOne

    Hi John! Thanks for the note & the insights 🙂 We love your approach to resolutions; you’re an inspiration!