All entrepreneurs I know and work with want to leverage their time and increase their creativity and productivity.
Why is it, then, that some of us can get a tremendous amount achieved in a day, while others feel like they have no time and are frustrated and frazzled with deadlines, emails, stuff to deal with, long to-do lists and other stuff?
Every entrepreneur I know wants to make the best possible use of their time. To have their time freed so they can spend more time doing what they love to do and do best, rather than be mired in more and more complications and complexity.
What if you had a guide and a plan for making the best use of your time: if you had the time to focus on the activities that bring in the most money to your business while doing the things you’re great at.
If you had time for goal setting, for strategic planning, time to spend with the people who matter most.
Time to work with your best clients, to create innovations in your business.
What difference would it make if you could be more productive on just a few activities each day, rather than trying to do everything in your business?
If you’ve answered a lot, then I have a plan and path that will increase your creativity and productivity and get you to where you want to go much quicker.
What is productivity?
Let’s define productivity for entrepreneurs.
Productivity is about leveraging your time to deliver a result or complete a task in the most effective way possible.
Being productive is not about time and effort. It is about delivering a result.
Productivity is not about getting more things done each day. It is about getting clear on what the most important activities you can personally do to reach your goals are, and then spending your time doing only those activities on a consistent basis.
How to be more 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 feel like you’re losing time.
You begin to procrastinate.
Suddenly it feels like you’re behind.
You’re not making the progress you want to on your goals.
You get to the end of the day and your most important activities haven’t been completed.
You feel like you’re constantly chasing.
So, let’s change the narrative.
Free up more time
How would it feel if you could free up more time?
Every day you work up with clarity on where you were headed and were focused and productive on your most important activities.
You had more than enough time, in fact you had a feeling of time abundance.
In this productivity guide, I’ll be sharing 11 time management and productivity tips that you can use to manage time, and do more of what you love,.
They will help increase your energy and help you get to the end of every day feeling excited by what you’ve achieved.
1. Find your productivity sweet spot
To increase your productivity 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 own productivity style that works for you.
Don’t worry about what most people think is normal. Follow your own path.
You’ll know when you are most productive.
2. Increase productivity: write in a journal every day
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.
Using a journal can help you be more creative and productive.
It can help you by taking all of the things that are swirling around your mind and getting it down on paper.
You can then take some time to 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
Entrepreneurs often procrastinate and get stuck because they have too many things on their daily to do list.
Too many things and not enough time is a common theme I hear all the time.
Before you can multiply your productivity you need to simplify.
Try stripping everything back to focusing on completing three or four of your most important activities every day.
Three things are manageable and can be achieved. They will also, once completed, create real progress and momentum in your business.
Completing your big three boosts confidence and ensures you move forward in your progress every day.
If you’re worried about small tasks try listing out all of the small tasks and having a one day blitz to complete everything.
Alternatively, find people within your team or other experts who can take on these activities.
When you consistently follow this process every month you will be on the fast track to increasing productivity and achieving your goals.
4. Increase productivity by learning to say no
One of the simplest ways to increase productivity and get more of your crucial activities completed is to learn the art of saying no.
We have so many opportunities and activities and people that consume our time.
The next time you have an opportunity, ask yourself.
Will this opportunity move my business forward?
What difference will it make?
How does it fit with my goals?
What’s the best possible result if I tool action?
Am I excited to spend time with this person?
Do I feel like I have to do this rather than wanting to do this?
Does this thing excite and motivate me?
Create a scorecard for assessing the opportunities in front of you to ensure you are maximising your time, and saying no to the things that don’t fit with your longer term vision..
5. Have something to capture notes
I wrote an article for Lifehack on The Importance of Note Taking
Note taking 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 success.
6. Avoid stuff that sucks up your time
We can get stuck and bogged down with stuff.
Stuff are the 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 unique strengths?
- Move the needle on your business forward?
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.
When things that suck up your time don’t make up that 20%, look for ways to stop doing them personally.
7. Take more time out of your business to increase productivity
We all want more time freedom.
But, how much time freedom do you actually have currently?
Chances are that it’s probably not that much.
Freeing up entrepreneurs time so they can do more of what they love to do and are best is the core principle of my business coaching.
A simple strategy I use is the art of taking more time out of the business for rest and rejuvenation.
This is not a holiday.
It is about taking one day per month (or more, if you can) to take yourself completely out of the business.
That means no phone, no email.
The focus is on recharging and boosting energy. When you come back you will find yourself far more focused and productive.
8. Manage time, and your confidence
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 V being effective and working on your biggest money making opportunities.
The first step is to be get crystal clear on the ideal future you want for yourself, your vision.
Once you have clarity on that vision, come back to the present day and set five 90 day outcome goals to help you move towards that bigger vision.
Once you are clear on the results you want to achieve in the next 90 Days, you can lay out monthly, weekly and daily plans.
This will help you get super focused on where to spend your time and to protect the time that you actually have.
9. Just take action
The key to building confidence, achieving results and building momentum is to simply start. To create a charge. To feel that you are progressing.
To get moving forward.
Some of us are so worried about making everything perfect that we don’t start. We procrastinate. 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 three things that you achieved that day.
They can be big or small, but they will show you are making progress.
To multiply that feeling of confidence, write down the three things you want to achieve tomorrow.
Each week, lay out a weekly achievement tracker.
This gives you clarity on how far forward you’ve moved on your most important tasks.
If you’ve achieved what you want – great, continue in that vein.
If you haven’t achieved what you want, see what you can learn and adjust accordingly.
11. Time blocking for productive housekeeping
In the busy day to day of running your business it’s easy to forget business basis – finance, operations, systems, relationships.
Unless you invest time in these areas of your business, you miss out on ways of exploring how you can streamline the business and improve systems.
Explore how you can leverage your time, how you can grow your team, or how to improve your marketing.
Take one day per month out of your business and look at everything in the ‘back of house’ of your business.
What can be improved?
Are there things that should be invested in?
Which things could be outsourced or delegated?
How can you free up more of your time?
Without the operational efficiency and system improvements required in any business all of your growth focus could come to nothing.
What could you accomplish if you were performing at your peak productivity level?
Which productivity tip most resonates with you?