As a business owner you seem to never have enough time to get all things done, and personal productivity is what differentiates successful people from others. There’s a lot of ways to leverage more time out of your busy days and achieve surprising results, and I want to share with you 5 of my most basic time management tips to improve your personal productivity.
It’s a common misunderstanding that to increase productivity you need to work harder and for more hours. But what if I told you that you could achieve more in the same amount of time just by working smarter?
Over the years I’ve found that you need good organization and focus to increase your output and achieve what you want in less time than others. Here are five productivity hacks to add more minutes to your hours, shorten up your to-do list, and get back in balance:
1. Sit Down and Get Started!
Very often, being productive is just about getting started. We prolong things and procrastinate, not necessarily because we’re lazy, but because we’re poor at organizing our time.
Delaying things, and putting off scheduled activities for something less important, is becoming a very serious chronic issue that affects more than 26% of the population, or 4 times more than just 30 years ago. But once we get going, we experience what psychologists call the Zeigarnik Effect, or a kind of discomfort that signals the conscious mind and pushes us to finish what we’ve started before focusing on new goals and activities.
If you’re like me, a perfectionist that either do things perfectly or not at all, this can be a major issue for you.
Your “instinct” of perfection underpins doubt, which makes you feel that previously completed work isn’t completed afterall. This makes you constantly, and needlessly reexamining and doing minor changes to what you’ve already completed.
If this sounds like you, you must try to remind yourself that “done is better than perfect”!.
2. Set Firm Goals and Follow Schedules
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
― Lewis Carroll
We need goals to know what we want to achieve and where we want to be. This is what gives purpose to all the things we do in life and business. By looking at your goals, you can define the quantity and quality of the work to be done, and set up a plan to help you get your goals accomplished. Set firm but achievable goals that motivate you, and then set up a plan to get there.
If you find out you can’t finish on time, make a new plan and decide what’s most important, your schedule or your goals, and then make the adjustments needed to fit your new plan. Know your most productive hours in the day and make sure they’re focused on the most crucial assignments related to your online business.
Whether your brain activity peaks at 9 AM, or you’re a night owl that can’t start before 9 PM, to be productive you must pick a schedule and stick to it, make it a routine, so that “the boss in you” will always be satisfied.
3. Know How to Prioritize. Have a Single Purpose Focus.
One common trait of successful business owners and entrepreneurs is the ability to focus on what’s most important. Know what matters, prioritize your work, and start the day focused on that one critical task so you can finish it when there are the least distractions and your energy is on the highest level.
We can derive a great deal of power when we learn how to focus our attention on the top priorities. Watch this video from the president and CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz, on developing productivity rituals to get the important things done.
4. Get Rid of Distractions
Nowadays, when most of our work is done on the Internet, it is really hard to not get distracted and to concentrate on the actual work. What can start as a simple fact and stats research can easily disintegrate into googling for the list of top scored high-fantasy movies of all times, or anything else for that matter that has nothing to do with why you first got on the search page.
Luckily there are tons of technology solutions to help you get rid of these sorts of distractions, including Get Concentrating which blocks social media, the Chrome extension StayFocusd, or Rescue Time to track and measure how you spend time online so you can make better decisions.
5. Use Productivity Tools to Increase Your Effectiveness
There are many other productivity tools and apps, like the ones I just mentioned, that can help business people become more effective in increasing their productivity.
Some popular and definitely worth trying include Evernote for collecting and organizing ideas, web pages, text and images during research; Dropbox for storing and sharing large files online; Any Meeting for hosting webinars; Asana for teamwork and project management; the collaboration tool Trello for keeping track of projects and deadlines; and Hootsuite or Buffer for scheduling content for your business social profiles.
If you’re just getting ready to start a home business online, or if you’re looking for a way to improve your already established one, check out my #1 recommended tool for managing your online business, and to build a successful business online!
What do you think of this post, and how are these time management tips working out for you? Let me know in the comments!