How are things?
That’s the most frequent response when you ask an entrepreneur or professional how things are.
While it’s often just a lazy answer and not one that truly discloses how things are, it’s a real representation of what people strive for. The idea of being busy has become a badge of honour rather than something to manage.
Being busy isn’t always a good thing.
If you’re constantly checking emails, scheduling tweets, managing your calendar, and never truly executing – you’re being busy for the sake of being busy.
That’s not productive.
That’s not helping you move the needle for your business.
You need to understand what it is that you truly need to accomplish and focus on those things. When you can do that, magic happens as the execution starts to produce real results.
But how can you do it? How can you ensure that you’re not falling into the “busy” trap and are instead being productive with your time?
Here are a few ways to make that happen…
Stop Doing The Things That Should Be Automated
How many tasks are you doing day in and day out that seem robotic?
Start to track them. Start to think about what tasks you’re doing all the time and figure out ways to automate those tasks so they don’t suck up all of your time.
In today’s world, there are so many tools and products that can help make your day to day in the office easier. Whether it’s a tool for tracking expenses, one for generating and storing passwords, or one for curating content online – the number of products available that can help you be more effective are plentiful.
These are the tasks that are sucking away your time and holding you back from tackling the most important things on your plate. Tools like Zapier are great for helping with the act of automation. Zapier is a tool that helps you be more productive by providing a service that lets other apps and products work together. Here are a few tasks that Zapier would allow you to automate:
- Automatically Save Attachments to Dropbox
- Save Needed Receipt Details Via Email and Archive the Rest
- Enter Biz Cards Into a CRM with a Mobile Pic
- Add Contacts to a Newsletter—Right from Gmail
And much more…
Stop Doing Tasks That You ‘Think’ Are Important
The most productive people I know, focus on the things that matter.
We’ve conditioned ourselves to be prideful in the act of being busy. There is no pride in that. – Joshua Garity
The only way to know what tasks actually matter is to start measuring and tracking the output and results of your various tasks. For example, if you’re spending 5 hours a week attending a handful of Twitter Chats – What’s the actual return on this investment? Are you seeing new clients? Gaining new speaking opportunities? Getting new leads in the funnel?
Understand the actual return on investment.
From there, don’t be afraid to cut the fat. If you’ve been investing heavily into weekly YouTube videos but are still only generating 200 views a video – it might be time to reconsider the approach and tactic. I see way too many startups and businesses investing time and energy into tactics that they think are important without actually measuring the return.
Find the things that drive results and invest there.
Focus on them. Embrace them. Own them.
Stop Multi-Tasking And Start Executing In Batches
Unbeknown to many, multitasking is not an efficient way of working. It wreaks havoc on your productivity and takes more mental effort on the whole. This means switching from task to task uses a considerable amount of brain power, as opposed to doing one task alone.
This is verified by a study on human perception and performance, which claims multitasking wastes time because it takes more effort to shift your focus back onto the task at hand. Furthermore, multitasking affects your short-term memory, making it twice as hard to remember the little details you might need in order to complete a particular task.
Instead of multi-tasking, execute your tasks in batches.
For example, I may block off two hours one day solely for curating content. During this time, I don’t take any breaks to write blog posts, take calls, track metrics or anything else – I solely focus on those conversations and keeping track of the insights.
Take Control Of Your Number Of Meetings + Calls
Learning to own your schedule is such an underrated skill.
Robert Epstein conducted a survey a few years back on the factors that affect happiness and found that one of the most prominent results turned out to be stress management. The better people manage their stress, the happier they feel. But what exactly is the best way to manage stress?
You have thousands of options as it relates to where you can spend your time each and every day. From meetings and calls to browsing Twitter and BuzzFeed – the possibilities are truly endless.
But instead of tackling your week with whatever hits you, start by reviewing your calendar and blocking off time for both execution and meetings. Don’t fall into the trap of spending too much time letting folks pick your brain as it’s a drain on your time.
Take control of your schedule and you’ll have control of your sanity.
Now Over To You…
As we go into 2020, I’m hopeful that you can use these tactics to be more productive and efficient.
I’m hopeful that these ideas can help guide you down a path of productivity rather than busyness.
But I also want to hear from you!
What tools did you find in 2019 that helped increase your productivity? What are some of the strategies you’ve used to be more effective in managing your time? Comment below.