8 Productivity Hacks For Busy Funeral Professionals

We all know being in the funeral profession requires a lot, if not all, of your time and energy.

After all, death never comes at a good time for anyone. But what if I told you that you could be happier, healthier and more productive by implementing a few simple techniques into your daily routine?

If you’ve ever read Tim Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Work Week, you probably already know that it isn’t only about working harder that will lead to success, but working smarter. So take a few minutes out of your busy workday to learn how you can shave minutes, hours, or heck, even days, from your busy work week with these 8 productivity hacks:

1. Wake up one hour earlier

It might sound like a lot to ask to take one more hour out of your day. After all, it doesn’t seem like you could possibly rob yourself of one more hour of sleep, does it? But don’t worry, busy funeral pro, because this hour is just for you. Try it tomorrow – set your alarm for one hour earlier (even a half hour will do if you can’t afford a full hour) and promise yourself that you won’t let anyone else impose on you during this time. Use this time to do something you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s a morning run, maybe it’s knitting, maybe it’s reading up on the latest in funeral service trends and expanding your professional knowledge, or maybe it’s even a quick meditation session…

2. Start your day with a clear mind

According to The World Health Organization, stress is the reason behind 60 to 90 percent of doctor visits in the U.S. It’s also costing U.S. companies at least $300 billion a year through absenteeism, turnover and low productivity. So how can we reduce this stress? One way is through meditation. Not only will meditating reduce your stress, but it cures many other ailments like depression, anxiety, inflammation, memory loss and more. The best part? You can achieve all of these things with just one 10-minute meditation session every day. If you’re ready to give it a try, check out this simple 10-minute video on guided meditation.

3. Tackle your most important tasks first

We’ve all been there – the work day is slowly winding down to a close with just a half an hour or so left to go. The last thing you want to do is dive into a huge project. And even if you did find motivation to get started near the end of the day, the project wouldn’t receive all of your energy because you are already burned out. But, when you take on your most important and difficult tasks first thing in the morning, you’re giving all of your fresh energy and and attention to these tasks, giving them a better chance for success!

Try this out – each night before you leave your desk, come up with your MIT (Most Important Task) for the next day, and get started on it first thing in the morning. No matter what else you accomplish the rest of the day, you can rest assured knowing your most vital task is already completed. (Plus, jump-starting your day with a completed goal will put you on a roller coaster of productivity that will last longer than procrastinating and burning time.)

4. Knock out all of your similar tasks at once

If you know you have to make a dozen phone calls or send out a certain amount of emails every day, why schedule them sporadically? Instead, set aside a block of time for each group of similar tasks. The repetition and one-mindedness will help you get into a flow where the work comes easily and distractions are minimized. Do this with all repetitive tasks that take up your day – listening to voicemails, filing paperwork, etc., and you’ll be surprised with how much time you can save.

5. Avoid being overwhelmed by asking yourself “what’s next?”

Do you ever write out a to-do list for yourself and immediately feel overwhelmed by the amount of things on it? If so, try this technique instead: think about everything you have to do and ask yourself “what is the next task I have to accomplish to move forward?” Keep the steps very simple so that they seem easier to accomplish. For example, instead of writing “coordinate events for 2 families” choose a detailed first step like “call Joe at the local florist to  get the delivery time.”  Try this with every service you arrange or for any big project you have coming up and you’ll notice how much easier it is to accomplish something that would seem otherwise daunting.

6. Stop multitasking already!

For some reason, Americans have it stuck in their head that multitasking is a good thing. It’s not! When you multitask, you’re not doing yourself any favors. In fact, multitasking almost always has the opposite effect of what you’re trying to accomplish. Instead of getting more done in less time, you’re actually getting less done in more time. It’s a simple idea, really – if you do two things at once, you won’t put enough energy or concentration into either one of those tasks. Try putting all of your effort into one task at a time and you’ll see how much more productive you can be when you remain focused.

7. Take a breather (literally)

Even the most focused funeral professionals have that mid-day slump at work. Instead of sinking down into your chair and riding it out, or sipping on yet another cup of coffee, take a few minutes for yourself and take a deep breath of fresh air. To really calm your mind and increase oxygen flow, try a powerful breathing technique (like this one) that will bring your brain back to the present.

Still not doing the trick? Take a quick walk outside or around your building for 10 minutes, or find a place to sit outside for lunch. You will be shocked at just how calming and invigorating fresh air and being around nature can be to a stressed out, busy mind.

8. The most important tip…

Sure, shaving off minutes or hours from your day is important, but what’s even more important for your well-being and productivity is self-appreciation. At the end of everyday, thank yourself for the hard work you completed and focus on one thing you think you did really well that day. Even if it’s something as simple as how promptly you returned a phone call. By practicing self-appreciation, you’ll not only be happier, but you’ll feel that much more ready to face each new day. And that’s what life is all about, isn’t it?

What are some of your favorite tips for increasing productivity? Share them with us in the comments below!

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  1. [email protected]

    Hi Rochelle –

    This is an excellent blog! Self care is almost a lost art in our world or funeral professionals. I am about to talk about the very topic of our annual meeting, so needless to say I am going to refer to you in my talk. My thoughts on self care also include nutrition, hydration (water) exercise and playing in your passions. We only have what we can give to others, so if the tank is empty we cannot give much back to our teammates or client families. Great job on creating a greater awareness for all of us! Cheers!