So, if you are a business analyst struggling to get your productive mode on, you are not the only one.
Basically, there are two ways to go about it. You can get caught in the productivity grinder or learn how to become more productive.
Naturally, you’ll choose the latter. Every professional wants to succeed in their business. Thankfully, we have the list of hacks to help you do this.
1. Use Lists and More Lists
A to-do list, a memory list, a tasks list, a breaks list, and even a workout schedule list. To be as productive as you can, free up the memory by writing down things. Lists are the best way to externalize the memory.
One of the biggest enemies of business analysts is the memory. Having a job that demands to remember dozens of things on daily basis is exhausting, and you can only manage to do it all for a limited time. Writing things down and organizing them in clear-to-follow lists will aid you in focusing on what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
This won’t take away the tasks you have, but it will certainly help you remember them all, prioritize them, and take a detached and critical look at the problems at hand.
2. Give Nature a Shot
A study by the University of Michigan shows that you can actually improve the productivity by no less than 20% if you just take a walk in the park. Why? Because a few minutes off that busy work schedule can do wonders for improving your memory and help you remain focused on what’s important.
Now the other question arises: why nature? Why not take a break at the coffee shop around the corner or have a walk in a busy, urban environment?
What we can all agree with is, nature has a great, calming effect on our minds. A peaceful break surrounded by nature and nothing that relates to your work and obligations is exactly what your mind needs to remain productive.
Don’t go daydreaming about the next vacation or your bed at home. When we say daydreaming, we mean let your mind wander. And by this, we mean let your mind do whatever it wants to do.
Your schedules and lists come very handily here. Leave out short periods during the busy day to daydream. Get into a calming stage when you reach that default mode. This should help you solve problems and think of connections you probably wouldn’t consider otherwise.
4. Focus on the Big Things
Every business analyst must deal with small and big problems. However, being as great as you are, your job shouldn’t focus around the small problems. Learn to delegate these and focus on the big ones instead. The problems that can most impact the organization are your first and only priority, so give your maximum to solving those before you go solving anything else.
The idea of getting the small things done first to get fired up for the big ones or reduce the list of tasks is very wrong. It makes no sense to finish small things when the bigger ones are left unsolved.
5. Make Use of Presentations
Presentations are very useful for business analysts. As soon as you start a project, begin with a layout of the analysis presentation.
It might seem counter-intuitive at the beginning, but it is a very productive habit. Such a habit will cut down the turnaround time of the project in half.
How do you do this?
You do this by creating a presentation, a document, or a simple writing on a white piece of paper. The form doesn’t really matter. The thing that matters is to note down and layout the outcomes that may occur from the very beginning, both the good and the bad.
Once you are done doing this, you can start looking at each of the factors to see what you can and should change. Use reasoning and mathematical equations and simply, create a sure starting point before you take the action.
6. Define the Data Requirements
This step comes naturally after the previous one. Once you have the analysis laid out in a comprehensive manner, you will have the data requirements right there in front of you. When you do, you need to:
- Structure the data requirements
Design the analysis tables instead of making a list of variables. Make a past campaigns table, a customer demographic table, a table for transactions made in the last year, policy changes for bank credits table, etc.
- Collect as much data as you can
Even if you are unsure about the variables you need, collect them upfront just to be on the safe site. Including some additional variables now is much better and easier than doing so later in your analysis.
7. Make a Reproducible Analysis
No, this is not as simple as it might sound. Any of the work you do might turn out to be less than reproducible, which can turn out to be a big problem afterward. If you are a beginner, perform your copy-paste steps in Excel. If you are advanced in your business, use a command line interface, but with care.
Similarly, a business analyst must be very careful when he works with notebooks. Don’t go changing previous steps if it uses some of the data set that hasn’t been computed yet. Notebooks are an excellent resource, but only if you maintain their flow.
8. Split Your Work and Take Regular Breaks
Everyone works better when rested. We mentioned taking a nature walk, but naturally, you won’t be able to do this all the time. To keep your productivity levels high, you need to do what every other person in the world needs to do – work in chunks and schedule breaks along the way.
Whenever you feel like you are overwhelmed with your work, take a short break. Get a coffee, take a walk, eat some chocolate – whatever makes you relaxed. Then you can back to that big project you are working on and stop when it is time to take another break.
These eight productivity hacks for business analysts are very effective when it comes to boosting the productivity. But, in the end, it all comes down to what works for you. Test them out to see and use the ones you find best for you to keep your analyst juices flowing.