When looking at a long to-do list, it’s easy to think there’s not enough time to get everything done. Actually, there is. The problem is, you’re spending your time on the wrong things. There are CEO’S who run multiple companies simultaneously and still have time for dinner with the family each night. They have learned and practice the secrets of productivity.
The 7 Secrets of Being Productive:
1) Learn how you waste time. We can’t change what we’re unaware of. Determine how you use time at work and home. Keep a time journal for 1 week. Document what you do all day. Notice when you’re letting meetings or phone calls run overtime. Notice when you’re sick of work, tired, bored, or stressed.
- For your own education, keep a timer at your desk. Keep track of how much valuable work you do each day. This doesn’t include time spent checking your email, looking out the window, chatting with a coworker, or drinking coffee.
2) Eliminate distractions. While some people can concentrate with chaos all around them, most of us do our best work with as few distractions as possible. Control what you can in your environment. Turn off your phone! Open email at designated times you determine! The fewer distractions you have, the more you will accomplish.
3) Prioritize your priorities. If you have 10 priorities, you don’t have any priorities at all. Develop a list each evening of your three top priorities for the next day. Do everything you can to accomplish those three things. Avoid wasting time each morning trying to determine how you’ll spend your day. You should already know when you wake up.
- Priorities are often mini projects with a number of action steps needed to accomplish them. Break your priorities down into those action steps. Then, book your action steps into your calendar like an appointment. It’s not enough to know WHAT you’re going to do, you also need to know WHEN you’re going to do it. For help with this, get our free action planner here.
4) Spend time on the most effective actions. There’s a difference between being busy and being effective. Imagine you’re having a dinner party and your house is a mess. You could be busy cleaning out your bedroom closet, but that’s not accomplishing much in this instance.
- All activities aren’t equal. Spend your time doing the most important things, even if they’re the least enjoyable. If your activity is not enjoyable, do it first thing in the morning when you’re most fresh.
5) Take regular breaks. You might be able to work hard from 8am to noon, but you’ll have nothing left in the afternoon. Studies have shown that taking a 10-minute break each hour greatly increases productivity over a full day.
- Give yourself an even longer break every few hours. You’ll stay fresh and find your ability to focus is less-compromised later in the day (to learn more, check out the Pomodomo Technique)
6) Develop a morning routine. Productive people follow a morning routine. Get out of bed early and get your day started productively. Have a good breakfast, exercise, meditate, or do whatever else will get you primed for the day.
- Apply the same concept to work. Have a work routine that addresses those tasks you do each day. Plan them, book them in your calendar and get them done. This way, you have control over your day instead of your day controlling you.
7) Choose the best time for each activity in your life. Do you go shopping at the most convenient time, or do you go when everyone else is at the store? You could save a lot of time by going after 7pm in the middle of the week or early on Sunday morning. Better yet, use click and collect. Buy on line and have your items delivered or go to pick them up, already assembled for you.
- Consider how and when you do things. Could they be done in a better way or at a better time?
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How will you use yours?
Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is the founder and lead business coach at Venture Coaching International in Calgary, AB. With over 25 years of counselling and business coaching experience, she helps owners and executives across N. America to improve their personal, communication and leadership effectiveness. Laura helps you:
> Uncover blind spots
> Regain focus and traction in your business
> Accelerate your results
If you’re interested in taking your business to the “next level”, call Laura at: 403 669 8684 or book a meeting directly on Calendly.