Whether you are a solopreneur, a small business owner or an employee of a larger organisation, you will want to be as productive as possible.
Does this sound familiar?
You start the day with good intentions, and spend some time creating a to-do list at the beginning of the day. Fast forward to the end of the day and the list has doubled in size and only half the items have been ticked off! You finish work feeling defeated and demotivated.
Now imagine a different scenario
You start your day by creating your to-do list and by the end of the day every single item has been ticked off. You finish work feeling a sense of accomplishment, a clean desk and ready to start the next day with a clear mind and lots of positive energy.
Which scenario do you prefer? The second example is definitely possible so let me share with you my 10 tips to being as productive as possible:
1. Create your morning and evening rituals
I learned this concept from reading Michael Hyatt's Free to Focus book. It's a simple concept of starting and ending each day in exactly the same way. So, for example your morning ritual might include the following:
i. Make a cup of coffee
ii. Check and reply to my emails
iii. Look at my weekly goals and plan my day
iv. Turn off all distractions
v. Begin my first task
2. Plan your day.
It's crucial you plan your day and don't just let your day ‘happen to you’. By spending the first 30 minutes planning each day you will ensure you are identifying the most important tasks that will move you and your business forward. Don’t be a busy fool by just focusing on a random list of things to do or the person who shouts the loudest. If you take this approach you may end up having a very busy day, but you will not achieve your key tasks.
3. Plan for the unknown
If you want to be able to tick every item off your to-do list by the end of the day then you need to plan for the unknown i.e. all the things that are going to occur during you day that you could not anticipate first thing in the morning.
You achieve this by overestimating time for each task. So if you think a task will take you 30 minutes then schedule 45 minutes. If you think a task will take an hour then schedule an hour and a half. That way you are planning for the unknown – for instance that phone call from a client that takes half an hour of your time or that urgent situation you need to see to.
4. Do the hardest things first
This is a mantra that I live by. It's so tempting, when you've created your to-do list, to just do the easy tasks first because that means you can quickly tick off 4 tasks. Meanwhile that difficult task is starting to feel even more difficult and you're feeling even less inclined to tackle it. However, if you do the hardest tasks first, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment and will have a much more productive day And invariably the difficult task is never quite as tough as we thought.
5. Turn off distractions
We live in a world of information overload and when we have lots of apps open on our desktop it’s easy to get distracted such as our Outlook email popping up or a new social media notification. But did you know it can take up to 23 minutes longer to complete a task, if we keep getting distracted - as opposed to just focusing on that task from start to finish.
So turn off all your distractions. Go into your outlook settings and turn off the popup dialogue box and close down Facebook and web browsers. Focus on the task at hand and then when you complete that task reward yourself with a peek at social media or by making a cup of tea!
6. Use the 4D's
This is a simple concept that encourages you to look at each task and ask yourself the following questions:
i. Can I DITCH this task? If the answer is no then ask yourself
ii. Can I DELEGATE this task to somebody else? If the answer to that question is no then ask yourself
iii. Can I DEFER this task to a later date and if the answer is no to that task
iv. only then will you DO it
7. Automate as much as possible (and yes of course this includes Dux-Soup!)
I am a big fan of automation and there are many apps and tools that can help us automate some of our work. Dux-Soup is a fantastic example of this because you could easily allocate an hour a day to doing outreach work on LinkedIn but with the help of a tool like Dux-Soup, you can automate this process and save yourself up to 45 minutes a day.
Here’s a great case study on the time savings and productivity gains that I have personally experienced through using Dux-Soup. You could easily have this too.
Productivity tools fall into a number of categories such as broadcast, design and layout, web development, communications, storage and outreach. If you want to read more about productivity tools I have created a short cheat sheet that outlines my favourite tools in each area. You can grab a copy of it by clicking here.
8. Create monthly goals, weekly objectives and daily to do lists
Not only should you be creating a daily to-do list, but you also need to create weekly objectives and monthly goals. By doing this, when you create your daily to-do list, you can be confident that you are moving towards achieving those weekly and monthly targets.
9. Create clear roles & responsibilities
It is super important that everyone has clarity around what their core roles and responsibilities are and therefore what they should be focusing on every day. If we do this then we have the best chance of people performing at the top of their abilities and focusing on the things that the only they can do that will move the business forward.
10. Allocate enough time to work on the future of your business as well as the today
If you are a business owner then it is very easy to get stuck in the weeds and focus solely on the client demands of today. However, if you want to be successful and grow your business then you need to make sure you are also allocating time to work on the future of your business and what that looks like. Get the balance of these 2 areas right and you will be super productive and move your business forward, which ultimately means delivering your company’s vision.
So there are my top 10 tips to becoming more productive. If you want to learn more about productivity then download my free eBook on winning back time for more tips and ideas to become super productive.
And definitely check out Dux-Soup Pro or Turbo editions – automation of core tasks (like LinkedIn outreach) give you back the vital time needed to close deals and grow your business.
About the Author
Rob da Costa has 30 years of commercial business experience - from working in blue chip companies to starting, growing and selling his own successful agency.
Rob’s coaching style is curious, positive and supportive. He is business and results focused, empathetic yet challenging and he is totally passionate about facilitating clients to get the results they seek from the coaching process.
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