Unlock the Power of Productivity

Unlock the Power of Productivity

When it comes to being productive, we often start off with a to-do list a mile long and a mind full of motivation. Yet come 5 o’clock the two measly tasks that have been ticked off your list fill you with frustration, leaving you confused as to where the day went.

Well that’s all about to change, for the next few minutes I invite you to read through a few tips that helped me trade my hoodie in for a suit and tie as I transitioned from CMPR student to working in a professional environment.

With so much going on in the world around us, it can be extremely hard to stay focused on the task at hand, leading to copious amounts of time wasted scrolling through twitter, Instagram, tiktok etc. constantly trying to satisfy our insatiable appetite for consuming content. Although it may be hard at times, we must resist these urges and fight to reclaim our productivity! It doesn’t matter if you are a CMPR student or an industry titan; People are always looking for ways to be more productive in their life.

Enough waffle, wage war on procrastination with the tips below:

1. Make a focused list (Big 3)

A major misconception about productivity is the belief that you need to be focusing on accomplishing more things each day. If you want to be truly productive, your to-do list needs to be concise, prioritising the most important things that need to be accomplished or, as Chris Bailey puts it: “Productivity isn’t about doing more things — it’s about doing the right things.”

What works for me is – each morning I spend a couple of minutes writing down everything that I wish to accomplish that day whether it be completing an assignment for uni or finishing a report for my manager. From this list I pull the three most important tasks that I need to get done, this is my ‘BIG 3’ and I work form here.

If you’re like me there are times when something can end up distracting you and by the time you get back to your task, your whole train of thought is gone. However, by your three high-priority tasks written down you can easily switch between them if needed without ever feeling like you are starting from scratch. Limiting yourself to three also keeps it simple, so simple that you’ll actually do it.

2. Say NO

Tip 2 requires a bit of self-control. Throughout my placement year I realised that it is okay to say no and can often be beneficial when wanting to achieve maximum productivity. A lot of people can be easily persuaded by friends into going out (myself included) but sometimes you must resist the temptation in the short term for a greater pay off down the line.

What have we learned? Say no to the pint/cocktail, instead opt for a cup of tea and an early night. After all a tired, hungover version of yourself is not optimal for smashing through your BIG 3.

3. Make use of what’s available

There will be times in a workplace when you get the opportunity to try things and develop new skills but there are also times when deadlines are fast approaching, and jobs need finished. It is important to be able to delegate responsibility and ask for help when needed.

Cultivating good relationships with the people around you and knowing when to use their strengths can work wonders in terms productivity, utilising each other’s skills can speed up a task and reduce stress levels all round.

Make sure you know what resources you have available whether it be an online tool or a person with a certain skillset. Don’t waste three hours struggling with something that can take someone five minutes – unless you have the time to devote to working on that skill.

4. Down time

No one can work at 100% all the time. For me it helps having a clear separation from work come 5 o’clock. It’s easy to get caught up in work stress even after you leave the office. I like knowing that once I leave the office I can switch off, and not worry about emails or calling clients/colleagues. Having this clear distinction helps me stay focused knowing that from 8:30 – 5:00 I am working, aiming to be as productive as possible.

At the end of the day, you can read all the self-help books, go to workshops and watch all the videos teaching you how to be productive but realistically the only obstacle to overcome is yourself. Figure out what works for you and repeat it consistently until it becomes a habit.

So why not try it? Get started with your BIG 3 and unlock the power of productivity and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

Joshua Van Loggerenberg is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on LinkedIn and Instagram

2020: The Year That Changed Consumerism

2020: The Year That Changed Consumerism

With 2020 drawing to a close and Christmas around the corner, it is now more evident than ever how significant an impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had across the world, affecting every aspect of life including how we shop. With ever changing lockdown rules that are seemingly unending, people have been changing how they spend their hard-earned cash.

Back when lockdown first hit in March consumer spending dropped to an all-time low with shoppers surviving on the bare essentials. As we begin to transition back to normality people are torn between supporting local businesses and giving in to the convenience of online retail giants like amazon. With next day delivery and even same day delivery in certain parts of the UK that trip to the shops is becoming a chore that people no longer need to complete. With a phone and access to internet you can have something ordered within five minutes and delivered to your house by the following morning.

It is already very clear that the high street will look very different in the coming years as retailers’ transition to online stores and weaker players begin to disappear. However, these impacts are not limited to smaller stores as even the likes of Arcadia along with its brands Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Wallis, Evans, Miss Selfridge and Outfit have collapsed into administration. With 444 shops under their belt heading into town for a look around the shops may become a thing of the past. Unfortunately, Arcadia’s retailers have fallen out of fashion in recent years, as it failed to respond to increasing competition from younger firms such as Asos.

Simon Geale, senior vice president of client solutions at Proxima said “There are now other brands that are cheaper, more convenient, and have greater variety to their ranges. These are the brands that are winning the battle.”

This shift in buying habits creates a new wave of challenges for businesses as they need to evolve to keep up with competition and implement effective marketing strategies in order to stay relevant in the eyes of the consumers. Over lockdown there have been no shortage of examples of brands embracing lockdown and coming up with clever campaigns to market their products and services but a personal favourite of mine came in early November.

With further lockdowns being imposed on the UK, the fitness industry retaliated, insisting they be deemed as essential in order to help the public’s physical and mental wellbeing during these tough times. Grenade (a sports nutrition company) jumped on the band wagon in an attempt to further the cause by driving a bright orange tank carrying James Haskell and Paul Olima through central London before parking up outside parliament. Not only did this create great PR for the company but also helped raise over 566,000 signatures towards a petition to keep gyms open.

These are unsettling times for businesses, with a recession likely to be on the way it can be easy to neglect marketing strategies and instead focus solely on survival. This would be a huge mistake as implementing marketing strategies has and will continue to be a huge part of a business’ survival. This is not a time to play on people’s fears or run a tone-deaf campaign that ignores what’s going on in society but instead a time to utilise strategic marketing campaigns with the consumer at the heart, highlighting brand values and making the best of a pretty grim situation.

Although Covid-19 is still a threat, people are trying to get on with their lives and so, brands need to continue to market to their customers. The businesses that disappear out of the public eye during these times will face huge consequences just like Arcadia. The businesses that continue to adapt and persevere alongside the public, implementing creative strategies and maximising customer engagement will flourish and continue to do so as we come out the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Joshua Van Loggerenberg is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on: LinkedIn and Instagram.