It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals.
The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it. Brian Tracy puts it best in his book No Excuses when he states "the best definition of self discipline is this: Self discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not."
And that’s where many of us…well, fail is a strong word. I prefer to say that it’s the doing that trips us up more times than not.
We overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better.
The answer? Embrace these five productivity hacks that will help you get more done in less time.
1. Rituals and Habits
Simply put, a ritual or habit is a consistent way of doing something. You have a morning ritual (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, and head to your office), evening ritual (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and go to sleep), weekend ritual (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others.
The trouble is, if you’re not careful with your rituals, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning ritual? Is turning on Slack a part of your work ritual? Distractions such as these can turn even your best intentions into hours of wasted time. There is definitely a time and a place for these types of activities but you need to prioritize them.
Take a good look at your rituals. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day or just done away with all together? Because rituals become habits (and not all habits are good ones), be sure to make your rituals more efficient and you’ll automatically get more done.
I make it a habit NOT to allow electronics for the first hour after I wake up. This ensures that I am able to follow my morning routine efficiently and not be tempted by "just a peek at Facebook will be okay" mentality. Why? Because I know that the temptation would be too much for me and I'd find myself slipping back into old patterns that weren't efficient or effective for me.
2. Calendar Management
Want to know how much time you really have available for that new project? Try blocking off time in your calendar for all your existing projects. Fill in all your client calls, your business administrative tasks, time for meals and breaks, outside appointments, and everything else you’re committed to. What’s left might just shock you.
When I first began doing this, I scheduled everything -- I mean everything including sleep time, personal time, etc. This was so helpful to me in setting the basic foundation for how I was operating my business (as well as my personal life). And, yes, it was very eye-opening!
Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, and you won't be tempted to over-promise or over-commit because everything will be clearly laid out for you.
3. Learn To Let Go
Here’s a news flash!
You do not have to do everything in your business.
Delegating is key to getting things done, on time and with purpose & intention.
You can (and should) hand off non-generating revenue tasks to someone else. Hire a virtual assistant (VA) to create your documents and manage your calendar. Let your tech support person manage your blog and email. Turn over your bookkeeping to an accountant.
The time you free up will allow you to get the work done that you love & enjoy the most --- working with your clients or creating your products and services.
I hired my first VA in 2016. It was one of the biggest game changers in my business. The extra time it gave me to concentrate on building my business was beyond my expectations. Since then, I've added two more team members and each one of them takes something off of my busy, full plate and enables me to continue to concentrate on what I truly love doing --- helping others!
4. Work Hard, Play Harder
You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time.
Take a day off. Get some rest and relax. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping. Grab a latte at your favorite coffee shop. See a movie and buy that popcorn. Do something—anything—other than work.
One of my favorite things to do is get outdoors and walk. I also take Sundays off as an entire day of unplugging. By resting and relaxing and taking that side step away from "business as usual", I am refreshed and ready to be super productive when I return to work.
Multi-tasking is impossible. You cannot create a new program while you’re simultaneously browsing through Facebook posts, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings --- at least not efficiently or effectively.
Instead, use your calendar to block time off for important tasks, then turn everything else off so you can focus. No phone, no Facebook, no kids or spouses or neighbors or pets demanding “just a minute” of your time. Tune everything out, and you’ll find your work getting done much faster.
Managing your time and increasing your productivity is not something that comes naturally to many people but when you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.
Looking for more tips on how to become more productive and ultimately successful in growing your business? Check out my FREE business resources.
If you struggle with managing your time or staying focused on the must-do tasks, Pamela is your business soulmate.