All entrepreneurs I know and work with want to leverage their time to increase their creativity and productivity.
To achieve bigger results in less time by doing more of the activities they love to do.
Many of us can be super productive and get a tremendous amount achieved in a day.
Others feel like they have no time and are frustrated and frazzled with deadlines, emails, stuff to deal with, and longer and longer to-do lists.
We all want to make the best possible use of their time.
To get to the end of a productive day feeling like we’ve really achieved something, rather than just rattling off items on a to-do list.
We want to achieve greater time freedom so we so can spend more time doing what we love to do and do best, rather than be mired in more and more complications and complexity.
But we are getting busier and our to-lists are getting longer.
What’s the answer?
In this article I’ll share 10 productivity tips that will help you narrow your focus, boost your energy and cut down your to-do list so you can achieve bigger results in less time.
How to reclaim your time
What difference would it make if you could free up more time?
If you had the time freedom for goal setting, for strategic planning, and had more time to spend with the people who matter most?
What could you achieve if you could spend more time working with your best clients and less time on stuff?
Consider the difference it would make if you could be more productive on just a few activities each day, rather than trying to do everything in your business.
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How to be more productive and work less
Let’s define productivity.
Productivity is about leveraging your time to deliver a result or complete a task in the most effective way possible.
It is not about time and effort. It is about using your time to deliver a bigger result.
Productivity is not about getting more things done each day.
It’s about zeroing in on a smaller number of activities that create the biggest impact.
Maximising time, and being productive, is about getting clear on your important activities, and then spending your time doing only those activities on a consistent basis.
It is then about having the other activities that need to be done handled by experts in your team or outside collaborators.
Barriers to being productive
Have you had this experience? You start out the day with the best of intentions.
You have your to-do list at the ready.
In your mind you know that today is going to be a great day.
You’re all set to start working on your biggest priorities. But…
Distractions happen. Life happens. Obstacles come up.
You get pulled in various directions.
You come up short completing your to-do list.
Suddenly it feels like you’re behind.
Progress isn’t as quick as you want.
At the end of the day your most important activities haven’t been completed.
You feel like you’re constantly chasing.
So, let’s change the narrative.
The guide to improving your productivity
How would it feel if you could:
- Leverage more of your time
- Wake up with clarity around your goals and were clear on your most important activities
- Have more energy and were excited about the work you were going to do
- Feel like you had time abundance
In this productivity guide, I’ll share 10 productivity tips that you can use to manage time, achieve bigger results and supercharge your productivity.
They will help you increase your energy and focus so you get to the end of every day feeling excited by what you’ve achieved.
1. Find your personal productivity style
To be more productive, you want to get clarity on the time of the day when you’re most productive.
There are lots of articles out there that extol the virtues of creating a morning routine that starts at 5am.
For many entrepreneurs I know, many with a young family, that is an impossible dream.
Some of us work better in the morning, whilst others are more night owls.
Getting a night owl to start a morning routine is completely counterproductive.
By getting up a bit earlier, I use that time to exercise and lay out my 3 Most Important Activities for the day.
Many people don’t have the luxury of getting up at 5am as they have other commitments.
Find your productivity style
Find your own productivity style that works for you.
Get clear on when you are most productive and your energy is highest.
Then use that time to take on your biggest priorities.
Don’t worry about what most people think is normal. Follow your own path.
You’ll know when you are at your most productive.
2. Increase productivity by journaling
A journal can be used for many things.
Many entrepreneurs I know use it as a place to record gratitude; somewhere to note down thoughts and ideas while others state what they want to come into their life.
Others use a journal to note down ideas or state clearly exactly what they want.
Use a journal to help you be more creative and productive.
It will help you take all of the things that are swirling around your mind and getting it down on paper.
You can filter out all of the things you don’t want to pursue and identify the ideas and thoughts that you want to take further.
3. Simplify your to-do list
We can get stuck and frustrated because we have way too many things on our daily to do list.
Too many things and not enough time is a common theme I hear all the time.
Before you can be more productive you need to simplify.
To strip everything back to focus on identifying and completing three or four of your most important activities every day.
Three things are manageable and can be achieved.
Once completed you will feel like you’re making real progress.
Excitement and momentum will follow.
Focus on your most valuable activities
Completing your big three activities boosts confidence and ensures you move forward in your progress every day.
Conversely, if you have lots of your activities on your to-do list and you complete only half you may end the day feeling guilty.
That you haven’t really achieved much.
If you’re worried about not completing the smaller tasks, try listing them out and having a one day blitz to complete everything.
You can also work with people in your team or outsource these other activities.
When you consistently follow this process every month, and every quarter, you will be on the fast track to increasing productivity and achieving your goals.
4. Set better boundaries
A simple way to increase productivity and get more of your crucial activities completed is to learn the art of saying no.
To create better boundaries.
We have so many opportunities and activities and people that consume our time.
Be intentional about managing your time
The next time you have an opportunity, ask yourself.
Will this opportunity help me?
What difference will it truly make?
How does it fit with my goals?
What’s the best possible result if I take up this opportunity?
Am I excited about the opportunity?
Create a personal scorecard for assessing the opportunities in front of you to ensure you maximise time, and say no to the things that don’t fit with your short and long-term goals.
5. Capture ideas
Writing down ideas is the lifeblood of the creative entrepreneur looking to be increase productivity and grow their business.
Your notebook is the place to capture your big ideas, to note down important points, to lay down everything that’s whirling around inside your mind.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world are avid note takers, from Richard Branson to Bill Gates, and they all credit note taking as being a key part of their productivity and success.
6. Avoid stuff that reduces productivity
We can get stuck and bogged down with stuff.
Stuff are activities and people that have no real meaning or benefit in our business and lives but we tolerate them because they haven’t gotten so bad that they need to be eliminated.
Ask yourself, how much of your time is being used up on people and activities that just suck up your time?
Do your daily activities:
- Bring you joy and excitement?
- Motivate and inspire you?
- Utilise your best capabilities?
- Move the needle in your work and life?
Explore outsourcing or delegating activities that don’t fit the above criteria.
According to the Pareto Principle 20% of our activities are responsible for 80% of our results.
Maximise your time in your 20% sweet spot and look for ways to eliminate, delegate or outsource the rest of the activities.
You can’t do this all at once.
Pick three things you want to stop doing in the next 90 days and build a plan to achieve that goal.
7. Take more time out of your business
We all want more time freedom.
More time with our family and to follow our personal interests.
How much time freedom do you actually have currently?
Chances are that it’s probably not that much.
When we are overworked and fatigued we are at out least productive.
Take more time off to rejuvenate physically and mentally.
Time helps to recharge and boost energy.
When you come back to work, you’ll find yourself far more focused and productive.
8. Focus on your strengths to boost productivity
We all have the same 24 hours in the day.
Some people manage to achieve exactly what they want, whilst others struggle and end up with a number of unfinished projects and a feeling of not moving forward.
There is a huge difference between busyness and just checking things off a to-do list versus being effective and working on your most important activities.
The first step is to increased productivity is to get crystal clear on the specific, measurable goals you want to achieve.
Having a smaller number of goals and set time periods to achieve them in helps you stay focused.
I always work in 90 day periods and have five major goals for each quarter.
When you are clear on your goals and the results you want to achieve, it becomes easier to lay out monthly, weekly and daily plans.
This will help you get super focused on where to spend your time and cut out the busyness and time spend on unimportant activities.
9. Just take action
The key to productivity is taking action on activities that deliver the biggest results.
If you want to be more productive and boost confidence you have to simply start.
The excitement of working on high value activities creates a charge.
Getting into action ensures that you’re moving forward.
That you’re making progress towards your goals.
Some of us are so worried about making everything perfect that we don’t start.
We get trapped and stuck.
By being clear on your three or four most important tasks every day and taking action on them, you have the ability to 10x your productivity.
10. Multiply your progress
Compounding daily success can have a big impact on your productivity and results.
We’ve talked about identifying your three or four most important activities each day.
At the end of the day, write down one or two things that you achieved that day.
They can be big or small, but they will show you are making progress and will build your confidence.
Celebrate your achievements
A good way to celebrate your progress is to create a weekly achievement tracker.
In it you can write down everything you achieved that week.
This gives you clarity on how far forward you’ve moved on your most important tasks.
It will boost your confidence and keep you focused on your key activities for the following week.
This article originally appeared at Lucemi Consulting
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