There’s nothing worse than running around trying to do it all, getting distracted by every shiny thing and then spending or wasting time figuring out something or working on something that isn’t going to be directly impacting your bottom line. (At the end of the day you need to be profitable to make the impact you want to make).
If you have a million things on your mind, of possibilities for your business and things to do, it can be seriously overwhelming not to mention paralyzing.
Knowing what to do, how it all fits into the bigger picture, like how exactly it is going to connect to a new customer, a new sale, is crucial, but spending your precious time wisely is equally important. That’s why you need to know not just how to prioritize but what to delegate.
Here are my top 3 productivity tips for growing your business.
1. Map out your to-dos in this matrix of urgent vs important. This is called the Eisenhower Matrix. Because not everything on your to-do list if going to be absolutely urgent and important. Urgent would be tasks that need you to respond to fairly immediately. Important tasks would be things that you need to do, are vital to your business, but might be more related to do the long-term vision for your business.
For example, checking your email might be urgent, but responding to the email that is about getting on that podcast that is going to get you in front of a new audience is probably both urgent and important.
The brilliant part of this matrix is it allows you to re-think what activity is truly necessary. By keeping in mind the bigger picture of ‘what am I working towards?’ – like growing your business or getting more customers or clients, you can apply this matrix to eliminate tasks that are not actually necessary, or outsource ones you don’t really need to be doing. Part of this is about staying in your zone of genius but also focusing you on tasks that are going to move the dial, in terms of reaching your goals. Try to limit yourself to no more than 5 tasks/actions in each box, if you are doing this weekly.
Knowing what your big 3 drop-dead must-dos for the week that are your most urgent and important tasks for the week allows you to stay focused and most productive, by working on just a few things that are going to propel your business forward.
2. Keep a timer and focus on one task for 20 min at a time. People focus best in 20 min periods of time. The best way to be productive is to clear away all distractions and be singularly focused on one task/action that you need to finish in a solid piece of time.
We all think that we can multi-task but we can’t. We really just end up doing multiple things poorly. And we focus best in 20 min increments of time. So to be your most productive, have a singular focus for 20 min of time and finish a task that is most important and urgent to your business.
3. Unplug and take a break. This is my favourite little piece of advice for productivity because it seems counter-intuitive. But taking a break allows you to recharge, gain some perspective and feel refreshed for another round of intense work. We also know that by unplugging, getting away from the smartphone or computer early in your night allows you to have a better sleep, which allows you to be more productive the next day.
Unplugging can also mean focusing your online time, email checking, social media engaging into specific times of the day. Unplug from your computer or phone when you don’t need to be online and focus your time online into 15 min increments once or twice a day. This allows you to be much more productive than having an endless, boundless time-frame of trying to do the work you need to do.
Did you get some value from this? If so, I’d love if you could share it. xo Leslie