As we enter the festive period, many businesses suffer from a drop in productivity. This seems inevitable as we all have parties to go to, gifts to buy and people to see. We often end up over-committing and spreading ourselves too thinly, as we try to complete projects, think about the upcoming year AND fit all these niceties in. 

But is it really unavoidable? Surely there must be a way to stay work focused and enjoy the festivities?

This got me thinking about how we work here at blueumbrella and what steps we take to continue working efficiently – even in December! The team here debated their various strategies and methods which keep them producing quality work. We concluded there seems to be two aspects to this. Firstly, there are many practical steps you can take to make yourself (and your business) work efficiently and the second being what we termed a ‘productive mindset’.

Our five practical top tips for productivity are:

  1. Schedule everything. Don’t just add something to your to-do list, allocate some time to make sure it happens.

  2. Have a ‘to-don’t’ list. Tom Peters developed this idea in his seminal book ‘In Search of Excellence’. As the name suggests, this itemises all the things you shouldn’t do.

  3. Keep your workspace tidy. According to Harvard Business Review, a clean desk helps you stick to a task more than one and a half times longer. 

  4. Meet smarter. Know what you want to accomplish before going in to a meeting, and keep them short! Try limiting the agenda to three or less items.

  5. Write it down! When you write things down, you’re more likely to see them through. It sounds simple, but it really works.

We had real trouble narrowing these tips down to just five, if you have a method or way that works, we’d love to hear about it.

The second productivity ‘discovery’ is a bit trickier to nail down. We think it’s more about attitude than a process which you can learn and implement.

Our most successful clients have this ‘productive mindset’. It’s a way of thinking where they achieve their goals, no matter how busy they are or how difficult the task at hand is. 

We looked at how they achieve this success and what separates them from the rest.

Here’s what we found they have:

  1. Laser focus on what they are great at, and honing those skills to near-Olympian standard.

  2. The ability to identify the correct goals at the correct time to focus on their business.

  3. Understanding time is their most precious resource.

  4. Knowing what to let go of, and being happy outsourcing to those who are more skilled.

  5. Staying continually motivated. 

As we march towards 2017 we’re looking forward to keeping our fabulous clients operating at peak productivity. We’re also super excited about working closely with all our new clients and helping them achieve success. Our team of personal virtual assistants are able to support your business by taking care of the things that often get in the way, leaving you to focus on what you’re good at. We work with businesses of all shapes and sizes on projects both big and small (and every size in-between).

We’d love to hear from you and see if blueumbrella can help your business grow. Contact us any time on or on 020 3021 0503.

If you have time(!), I urge you to watch these two funny and insightful talks on productivity.