There is never enough time in the day to work on your business. The mundane tasks have a way of piling up and going from a faint trickle to a tidal wave of to-do’s very quickly. Not to mention that you’re supposed to grow your business, not merely run it (an important distinction many business owners miss)!
To help you crush your business challenges and get ahead, we put together a list of 3 profound “game-changers” for your productivity… and 3 tiny, bite-sized “productivity quickies” you can implement right away. Enjoy!
Game-changer #1. Restructure your day
It’s tempting to start the day off replying to emails, or doing urgent and important work – the sooner you take care of that, the sooner you’ll be able to kick back and have a relaxing evening later, right?
Wrong! The first 2-3 hours of any workday are often the most productive, because you feel refreshed and filled with energy. It makes more sense to focus not on urgent tasks, or the most important tasks, but on long-term, strategic objectives that will continue to pay off.
- spend some time designing a new product or service;
- plan a new productivity system, or a way to improve your client’s experience;
- create a strategy to diversify your income streams.
Bottom line: work on stuff that will keep on giving, and earn your business more revenue in its lifetime. If you can invest focused work in these high-value activities, it’s going to matter infinitely more than how fast you can clean out your inbox in the morning!
Note: this works if morning is your most productive time. For the night owls among us, scheduling your most important and strategic work for the quiet evening hours may actually work better (if you’re not exhausted by that time, that is).
Game-changer #2. Automate and create routines
If you can meticulously plan and execute the first hour after you wake up, and the last hour before you go to bed, down to the smallest detail, you can create a perfect routine that will set you up for maximum productivity.
Every conscious decision you make about what to eat, what to wear, in what order to work on your tasks, drains your willpower and saps your mental energy (this is a well-documented phenomenon called “decision fatigue”). That energy should be used on key decisions that affect your business, not on what kind of breakfast you want.
Morning and evening rituals don’t just save you time – they make you better at running a business:
- set up your browser to open every tab you need when you launch it;
- make your computer automatically boot up all the software you need for work;
- create rituals/habits around your morning tea or coffee, e.g. “when I finish my first cup, it’s time to sit down to work.”
Game-changer #3. “The 1% per week” rule
What if you could get just 1% better at one skill, or one aspect of your business, every week? That doesn’t seem like much, but you’d get 52% better in a year, 104% better over 2 years, 208% – over 4 years… and 520% – in a decade! It’s a very conservative estimate, too.
Pursuing conscious, continuous improvement is something your competition doesn’t do. While they are chasing fancy tools and tactics, you will be working on your keystone skills, and the core value propositions of your business. Three guesses as to who gets further ahead after a year!
- every week, make one small improvement into your cold email strategy, and test it;
- each week, try to improve one thing about the way your company’s team communicate;
- weekly, think about how you can improve your customers’ happiness and experience.
That’s it with the game-changers – now let’s get to the easy-to-do, but still very useful quickies!
Productivity quickie #1. Speed up your mouse cursor
Just do it. It takes a minute to set up on your computer, 10 minutes to get used to… and it makes everything happen faster. Try it, and the usual cursor speed will seem painfully slow by comparison!
Productivity quickie #2. Commit to no more zero days
Sometimes you can’t invest consistent work into a project, and it falls by the wayside. When that happens, you can either beat yourself up about it and feel guilty… or you can set a ridiculously low, easily achievable goal, and stick to it.
When the goal every day is to do more than nothing, you can’t help making progress!
This concept is known as kaizen, and it will help you achieve anything – from writing a PhD thesis one sentence at a time, to landing some sweet JV partnerships. It seems too easy to work… which is exactly why it does.
Productivity quickie #3. Use the 2-Minute Rule
The 2-minute rule is simple – if something takes 2 minutes or less to do, then do it immediately. Just saw that email but don’t want to reply right now? If you can pen a short note in under two minutes, just do it and get it over with. Want to do an outline for a script, but don’t feel like it? Do a rough one in two minutes, and then you may get an itch to finish it!
That’s it! Now, whether you implement just one of the game-changers, or even a single ‘productivity quickie,’ or take action on all of them, it will pay off. You’ll be more productive, and more effective in both business and life. Very soon, the glorious results (more revenue, more time, more energy) will follow – so enjoy!