Busy-ness Vs Productivity: 3 Little Things

by May 1, 2018All

Productivity seems to be the word of the day. It affects every business owner and is constantly on the lips of leaders everywhere. Productivity is paramount to business success, and especially to the solopreneur when he or she is solely in charge of getting things done!

I hear from many people today that they are “busy” or “keeping busy” or “too busy” and yes, I too am guilty of falling into the “busy-ness” pit myself.

As a business owner, it’s easy to find yourself pulling 12-hour days working both ON your business and IN your business. We can constantly feel as though we are on the go and despite the fact you have been “working” all that time, at the end of the day when you look back at your task list, it doesn’t feel like you have achieved much.

So how do we know that we have been “productive”?
What makes us productive?
And what time of the day do you feel most productive?

Different times of the day can be better for your biological clock and biorhythms when it comes to brain power, and in a previous post I outlined the best times of day for certain activities, in a chart called the “The Biological Day Plan.” These tips work well for me, and I find that my brain power is at its peak between 10 am – 2 pm, and I am most productive in my business between those times.

Due to natural biological rhythms, other times may not be as effective for heavy brain work but may be perfect for “doing tasks” such as paper tidy, file sorting, calls, and communication with others.

So based on what worked well for me, here are 3 strategies I found the most useful in keeping me on task instead of slipping back into busy la la land.

3 little things

  1. Get clear on your goals, the tasks that are needed to reach your goals, and your why. The best way to do this is to write up your bigger goals clearly on a board and have them in front of you during the day so you can stay connected to the bigger picture at all times. Only choose 1-3 goals at a time and write up specific and measurable tasks that need to be done to accomplish those goals. Sometimes, of course, we must put out fires and respond to client requests. But don’t let your entire day get taken up by responding to other people, because you’ll have no energy for your own business vision, dreams and goals. Block out time in your agenda in a specific colour for these tasks, and do not respond to any messages for the blocked-out time.This is the virtual “do not disturb” sign on your office door. Decide on which color and how many hours per week you can block out for these particular tasks and stick to it. With practice and patience, you will be able to implement this into your weekly habits and get a lot more done, with no distraction!
  2. Do the tasks that you are resistant to, first. When keeping your big picture goals in mind, look at the tasks that are going to move you there faster. It may be a bunch of little things that take a small amount of time each, or it may be a big hurdle you need to overcome. If the big thing will take you four or more hours, make sure you block out that amount of time during your do not disturb time. I find that sometimes when the big, arduous task keeps looming, I never seem to have the time in my agenda to knock it over, and these most important tasks keep getting left behind as the smaller, easier ones get attention first. This is because many of us, me included, do the little things first to make us feel more productive. They are easy, quick to achieve and can be ticked off before the end of the day which gives us a sense of accomplishment in doing them. But the truth may be, it does not move you towards the bigger picture at all.
  3. Race against the timer: When tackling those bigger, important tasks during your do not disturb time, use an egg timer, or a stopwatch on your phone to place a time limit on getting the task completed.  I find this technique, so effective that it keeps me pumped and enthusiastic even when the task may not be my favorite activity. If it will take you longer than an hour, set the timer for an hour only, then do some stretching, take a 10 min brain break, and move your body during that time. Once the break is over, set the timer for another hour and try and race against yourself to get it done before the timer goes off. See how fast you can work and try playing some upbeat music that will get your energy going and keep you motivated. My recommendation is for fast, upbeat classical music with no voice, so you do not get distracted by the words.

Some great tracks for getting your motivated are : Flight of the Bumble Bee and also the William Tell Overture

So go on, color code your agenda, have fun and BE PRODUCTIVE!