If not now… when? I laid down the gauntlet to everyone at this year’s Youpreneur Summit by asking this question. I want you to ask yourself it too. If you want to achieve more than you’ve ever done before next year, then here are seven ways to be more productive and achieve those big goals you have set for yourself.
1. Schedule everything
If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done. I schedule every minute of every working day. I put absolutely everything on my calendar. I don’t use any fancy planners or apps, but every minute is accounted for. Nothing gets left behind. I’m moving forward on my goals daily. And I know exactly what I should be doing at any given moment.
Since I've been scheduling everything I've had more free time than ever. I make sure all my tasks are accomplished in my work time so I can enjoy more time with my family.
2. Take small steps to avoid overwhelm
One of the reasons people get stuck is because a goal or a project can seem too big. There’s a mountain to climb and you find yourself sitting at base camp wondering how the heck you are going to get up there. You can achieve anything you set your mind to, if you take action to get yourself there.
Take a project you are working on and break it down into smaller goals. If it’s a goal you want to achieve by the end of next year, then plan it month by month. Now you have got 12 smaller goals and it’s a lot more actionable. You can see what you must complete by the end of January, then February, and so on. Instead of looking at the top of the mountain, you’re looking at the first few steps you need to take.
This also motivates you to keep going and achieve more because you get to celebrate those wins along the way.
3. Turn off notifications
This is going to make a huge difference to how productive you are. Our phones are amazing aren’t they? You can run a business from anywhere when you have a smartphone in your pocket. But they are also a distraction. You’re getting notifications all the time: email, social media, the latest message on Slack. Before you know it, half the morning is gone and all you have done is responded to other people.
Take control of your time and turn off notifications. I haven’t had notifications on my phone for any of my apps for a while now. I decide when I am going to check my email, not my phone. I plan when I will spend time on my social media.
You need to set those boundaries and get rid of that constant ping from your phone telling you to look at it. It’s stopping you doing your work and ultimately, preventing you from achieving your goals.
4. Check your email after lunch
Don't check your inbox until the afternoon. This might be a tough habit for you to get into because the first thing so many people do in the morning is to check their email. But what happens when you do that? You give your productive early morning time over to somebody else. You’re immediately distracted by what you read in your inbox. Yes, you’re busy working, but are you being productive?
Your emails can wait a few hours. Spend the morning doing focused, uninterrupted work. I make sure I get all my creative work, like recording podcast episodes or writing blogs, done first thing in the day. Check your email after lunch.
5. Track your time
What do you do all day? We all know what we think we do – or what we’re meant to be doing. But is that what actually happens? If you want to be more productive, you need to know where your time goes. You need to track your time as automatically as possible. There are many apps out there which will help you do this.
Another thing you can do is to screen record your working day. You’re much less likely to spend half an hour watching videos on YouTube if you know it’s going to be recorded!
6. Outsource anything someone else can do more efficiently than you
When you track your time you will spot tasks which take up at least half an hour you should have spent doing something else. You will see how all those little jobs like creating social media graphics or editing video eat into your day. A simple way to be more productive is to outsource anything someone else can do more efficiently than you.
When you work with a VA you gain time. You are buying more time and because of that you are becoming more productive. You need to leverage that additional time you have bought for yourself. What could you do with an extra eight hours a week? If you’ve ever wished for more days in the week, this is the way to get them. But you need to use that time effectively.
I see too many people micromanaging VAs. You have hired them because they are good at what they do. In many cases they will probably be better at getting some tasks done that you are because you are not an expert in those fields. That’s why you hired them! Let them get on with the tasks you can’t do, or don’t want to do, while you get on with other things.
7. Get out of your comfort zone
How often do you make yourself do something which makes you feel a little uncomfortable? Spending too much time in your comfort zone can lead to stagnation. It threatens your originality, productivity and progress.
Mix things up. Change your routine. Try a new place to work or go somewhere you will meet some different people. Take the afternoon off!
Your routine may be comfortable but you're not going to be changing the world any time soon unless you do new things.
I’ve adopted all these productivity strategies and they’ve made a big difference to how much I have been able to achieve. Start using them in your business. You will notice the difference.Your routine may be comfortable but you're not going to be changing the world any time soon unless you do new things. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our weekly podcast, Youpreneur.FM, as well as our annual conference, the Youpreneur Summit. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.