I often hear people bragging about working 15 hour days and 7 days a week… with a false sense of productivity, which I call ‘heroics’.
An entrepreneur who practices heroics has a day that goes something like this:
7am – 9am: Wake up and scroll through social media feeds, commenting on every status update available. Facebook to Instagram, Instagram to Twitter… Rinse and repeat!
9am – 12pm: Figuring out what to do first and stretching out that task, which should take 30 minutes, but ends up taking 3 hours due to attention being split across text messages, emails and (you guessed it) social media. Facebook to Instagram, Instagram to Twitter… Rinse and repeat!
12pm – 2: Trying to figure out what to each for lunch
2pm – 4pm: Oh, that TV programme is on… Flick, flick, flick.
4pm – 10pm: Partially focusing on a few random tasks, whilst checking emails, messaging on Whatsapp and floating across various social media sites.
Can anybody spot the problem here?
The truth is, against contrary belief, you do not have to work such long hours to get results in your business or life. If we used our time wisely, we could get our important tasks out the way in half the time. In effect, winning back time to do the other necessary things in life, such as working out, seeing loved ones and so on. Let’s face it, we are all guilty of the above, it’s just about using effective strategies to maximise our productivity within the time we have available.
Here a few strategies to get you on your way:
Organize your tasks ahead of time
One of the key things that will help you become more productive is to note down what tasks need to be done. Preferably, you should do this the night before, or even at the start of the week if you are able to get organised that far in advance. Doing this gives you clearer direction, cutting out that wasted time in the morning when you try to figure out what you should be doing.
Prioritize your priorities
We can easily add things to our ‘to-do’ lists that will have little impact on our results or progress. The danger of filling our lists with irrelevant tasks is that we end up feeling like we are getting through a lot, but without much of an impact at the end of it. What we should be doing is asking ourselves what things are actually priority and ‘impact’ tasks? What will get us results and what needs to be done now?
Focus on one thing
We read and hear this time and time again, but we all fall short in this area now and again. Social media can be one of the biggest distractions known to man. Does this sound familiar… You are in full swing, getting that mega important task done. Then… !PING!… your phone starts vibrating. You try to ignore it but the notification light keeps flashing. Curiosity gets the better of you and you end up sitting on your phone for the next 30minutes… then begin wondering where the time went. Really focusing on the task at hand and ignoring the outside distractions will mean that you get your tasks finished quicker. So turn off those notifications, or put the phone on silent.
Set time limits
Giving yourself allotted times for each task will help you keep the momentum throughout the day. Initially, you may not have an accurate gauge on how long something should take you, so don’t beat yourself up about it if you overrun your time limit. But it will certainly help you work towards full capacity as you see the clock ticking.
Doing these things will really improve your productivity and help you win some time back through the day. But, don’t overwhelm yourself, so maybe begin by introducing one thing at a time! You will progressively notice more and more meaningful work getting done!