4 Steps to Boosting Your Productivity to New Heights
By Rich Schefren
What did you do today?
Maybe you checked your email… Met with a client… Spoke with your marketing director about an upcoming campaign… Chatted with an employee about her holiday plans… Set up a joint venture.
My guess is that you got a lot done over the course of the work day. In my experience, most entrepreneurial-minded people are excellent at focusing on the important aspects of their work.
But I’m also guessing that you could be even more productive. After all, most people can find at least some room for improvement in their daily lives.
Today, I’ve got a quick strategy that will help you drive your productivity to new heights.
In my work coaching many of today’s top Internet marketers, these questions surface frequently:
1. How can I stop wasting time?
2. How can I get other people to stop wasting my time?
3. How can I get more done in less time?
4. At the end of the day, how can I feel good about what I accomplished?
Do any of these questions sound familiar? If so, you know that increasing productivity means more than just working faster. In fact, it’s about discipline and purpose. Two traits entrepreneurs often struggle with.
Let’s talk about discipline first.
If you find yourself struggling to accomplish what’s on your to-do list, or sticking to your schedule, these tactics often do the trick:
1. Take Advantage of a Powerful Part of Your Brain.
Identify tomorrow’s most important outcomes before you go to bed. You don’t necessarily need to know exactly how you will spend the day when you hit the sack. But, being sure of the results you want gives your subconscious mind a chance to figure out the best ways to get it all done while you’re sleeping. The next morning, when you plan your schedule for the day, you’ll be surprised by what you come up with.
2. Include Anchor Activities in Your Schedule.
When planning your schedule for the day, make sure you include anchor activities to keep yourself on track. An anchor activity is a task that will force you to be disciplined.
For example, left to my own devices when I am talking to a friend/peer, the conversation might go on for hours. But if I have an important call to make 30 minutes later, I know I won’t spend longer than 30 minutes on the first call. So the second call is an anchor activity.
Anchor activities ensure that though you might lack discipline right now, it won’t interfere with what you must get done.
3. Do the Uncomfortable First.
Attack your most important, most intense, and highest leverage activities first. Doing so generates momentum and confidence you can ride the rest of the day.
4. Look at Yourself and Learn.
At the end of the day, evaluate your performance. If you did a good job, what, specifically, helped you get it done? If you got off track, what happened? And how can you prevent that from happening in the future? This step is frequently neglected… and that’s a shame. Because it’s the fastest path to ever-increasing productivity.
Now, let’s talk about being purposeful…
Far too many entrepreneurs don’t keep their eyes on the prize. They go into meetings, make phone calls, talk to staff and contractors… without being clear about the specific outcome they want from each of these activities.
The solution? It’s simple. Get into the habit of asking yourself “What’s my outcome?” every time you transition into a new activity. To make asking this question a habit, put visual reminders where you can’t miss seeing them… until it becomes your default way of operating.
Write “What’s my outcome?” in your daily schedule, on a Post-It on your desk, on an index card that you carry in your briefcase, and on a label on the bottom of your computer monitor. Having so many reminders makes it easy to be consistent when you’re trying to develop a new way of thinking. And anything you do consistently develops into a habit quickly.
So there you have it. You now have a four-part strategy to become more disciplined, more purposeful, and, ultimately, much more productive.
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