Over the years my definition of productivity has drastically shifted. I always thought that I was productive because I was always busy. I would walk into a room and it was as if a tidal wave of energy followed behind me. Or so I thought? In reality, it was often a tidal wave of chaos as I tried to wrangle a toddler, while answering a text and listening to a podcast at the same time. I was a multi-tasking ninja! The only problem is that those ninja skills did not equate to goal oriented results.
How to Increase Productivity
The first thing I need to get out of the way is that multi-tasking is not productive. It is not productive for anyone. The main reason is that everything is done halfway. You don’t put enough focus into what you are working on so it’s done at an average to below average level of your ability. Plus, you end up wasting so much time context switching from one task to the next that if you would have just focused on one thing at a time, it would have taken less time. In order to get more accomplished it’s important that you focus on the ONE THING that will drive your business forward. I go in depth about how to determine your ONE THING and how to schedule it in this Productivity Magnified Video Training. Plus, I’m giving you my complete schedule so that you can fill yours in as well.
One of the key things I changed this year was that I now time block and I time block for specific tasks within a project. I know that for the three hours that my daughter is at preschool that I need to get as much done as possible. In order to do that, I write down specific tasks that need to get done for a project. If a task takes less time then I thought then I jump to the tasks that I wrote down for the following day. I only write two tasks per day so that when I complete those tasks I feel accomplished. On days where I’ve over shot my day with more than two tasks and I don’t accomplish those, I feel like I wasted the day so I’ve learned to narrow it down to just two tasks.
As an online entrepreneur it is often easy to get distracted by the social media platforms where our businesses breathe and live. It’s so important though that you keep them shut down until your tasks are completed. I have the bad habit of completing a task and then before I start the second task, I’ll jump onto Facebook or check my email. The best rule of thumb is to leave time for social media once your tasks are completed. This is especially true if you’re writing two tasks per day.
Set Measurable Goals
In order for a goal to be measurable, you need to assign a number value to the outcome. You absolutely want to be able to measure it. You also want to be able to give a timeframe. So, if we were looking to increase our social media following across all of our platforms, our goal my state “Increase social media following by 300 followers across all of the platforms by February 1st.” Now, for that goal you would need to decide what projects or tasks need to get completed in order for this to take place.
Schedule for Self-Care & Family
One area that you absolutely have to schedule in order to increase productivity is self-care and family. If you do not take care of yourself, mentally and physically then it is going to be very difficult for you to be at the top of your game and not getting burnt out. You also need to schedule in family because you have to learn to separate work from home. You cannot be working all the time. This one is the most difficult for me because it’s just so easy to check my email or pop on Facebook from my phone to see what fire I need to put out. That can’t happen! Your family needs you present when it is family time so that you can be focused on your work when it is work time and not feel guilty about missing on family movie night because you were nose deep in your phone. Be present!
Plan in Vacation & Professional Development
For some reason I always seem to put these two together even though one is clearly personal and the other is work related. I think it’s largely due to the fact that you travel for both of them. Regardless, it is important that you schedule in a vacation. My husband scheduled a vacation into our schedule in the middle of my first launch and it was the best thing that possibly could have happened because I was so stressed and I needed to see that the launch wouldn’t implode if we were away for a weekend. Now that may not be true if you are doing a short launch, but when it is a month long launch that is definitely the case.
I also feel it’s extremely important that you schedule in professional development to a conference or a retreat. You need to get out of your house and into the real world. It’s also important to meet and be around people that understand your line of work and what it is that you do all do. Conferences get your creative juices flowing again and will often renew your purpose.
Don’t be a Afraid to PIVOT
I am a huge fan of the TV series Friends. Do you remember the episode where Ross brings up the couch with Chandler and Rachel and he just keeps yelling, “PIVOT, PIVOT, PIVOT!” Well, you need to listen to Ross. If you find yourself being drawn or called down a different path, don’t be afraid to PIVOT. That calling is something that needs to be answered so follow it. Don’t wait four years like I did. Listen to it now!