Did you wish you could be more productive in your day to day routine? Does it seem like there are others around you who are getting a lot more done and generating more productivity despite their busy schedules?
Productivity is a key component of success, especially for the average reader of this blog who is focused on getting more out of life. If you are a busy individual, particularly an aspiring entrepreneur trying to start a side business or running one already while keeping the day job, you want to use your spare time as efficiently and effectively as possible.
With more productivity comes more success, there is no doubt in that. Success however doesn’t come automatically. It has to be rehearsed, practiced and perfected over time. There are some actions you can incorporate into your daily routine to realize more productivity and success.
I have personally implemented these actions in my life and have realized significant benefits from a productivity standpoint. A more productive routine leads to many other collateral benefits and enhances life overall in my experience.
I hope you find some value in these few habits to incorporate into your routine.
I am big into note taking, and I don’t mean mentally. I mean carrying a note pad and writing down notes and ideas. As an entrepreneur who has ideas “kriss-cross” the mind by the minute, it helps me a great deal to capture it on the spot when something strikes a chord.
It is scientifically proven that writing triggers a reaction in the brain that helps it register the message you are writing. I used to think that I was spoiling my memory by not forcing it to remember things. However, writing exercises have only improved my memory and capacity to hold more information in my brain and has therefore led to more productivity.
Writing helps me get tasks on the list. Prioritization helps me ensure that I get the right things done first. I tend to focus on a handful of tasks to cover daily (I try not to have more than 3). Anything more can be overwhelming and as a result nothing gets done. The key is to tackle your TO DO list in manageable bite size pieces.
I try to make a small list of tasks to do the night before. When I start my day in the morning, I have a list and I can structure my schedule to ensure they get done as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Establish a handful of metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that mean most to you and that can give you a good overview of where you stand personally or professionally, or both. Whatever it is that you are striving for, make sure you have a means to measure your success.
Metrics, or quantitative data will tell you where you are doing well and where you need to spend more time and effort. It is a great prioritization tool. For example, if you just launched a website, your goal might be to measure the number of visitors to your site. As your website matures and gains more traction, a more relevant metric might become your conversion rate (how many of those visitors are converting into customers).
Have you heard of the saying “you get what you measure, so start measuring what you want to get”? It is true. Just don’t forget to revise the metrics to measure the right things each time your goal or focus changes to ensure you have your hand on the right pulse.
This one is easily overlooked and underestimated by busy individuals, especially striving part time entrepreneurs who have full time jobs. When you are already busy as it is, it is easy to spend each free minute of your time on your side business.
Human beings are social beings however, and we all crave live human interaction no matter what we may want to think. That is simply how we are conditioned. I am not advocating that you spend every bit of your spare time socializing and hanging out with your buddies or girlfriends, but do give yourself some time to get out and meet people, change your environment and reward yourself a bit for the hard work you are putting in.
I give myself a limit (i.e. X hours on Thursdays, Y Hours on Saturday and Z on Sunday). Do what works for you best and which still allows you to make headway with your side gig. Balance is what I am advocating here. At the very least, get out for lunch and meet up a friend, colleague or a stranger. At the very least, you will come back having learned a new thing or two. Read the book “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi if you haven’t yet. I absolutely love the message. Taking a break sometimes leads to more productivity.
This single change has led to tremendous boost in productivity in my routine. I used to be glued to email and the Internet (It’s common because I have ADD as most entrepreneurs do). I didn’t get anything done. I essentially gave people the power to control me and my schedule as I would read everything sent my way and respond actively and immediately!
I did this because I thought a minute spent emailing here and there is no big deal. True – but all the minutes do add up. A much bigger loss as a result however is the time lost when tasks are interrupted. Checking and responding to email takes concentration away from the task on hand. When we return back to the task, it takes some time (whether we realize it or not) to get back into the “groove” per se.
We sometimes really do not realize how much productivity email eats up. I have since then limited email to twice per day. The earth hasn’t fallen off orbit, the sky is still blue, trees are still growing and I am getting much more done. My life is much better as a result.
I do the same with web browsing. Unless I absolutely need to, I browse the web in the morning, and then once in the evening to get my news fix and do other stuff. Even that’s too much in fact. I have set up Google Alerts and RSS Blog Feeds on my Google Reader so all relevant updates, information and news that I am interested in is pushed to me rather than me spending hours scouring through garbage online. RSS technology is God sent and I love Google for being Google.
I also used to be glued to Google Adsense when I first started making money. It was exciting to keep logging back in to see how may more cents I earned since my last login. Now that I make gobs of money from Google Adsense, I check my Adsense account once, maybe twice a month at best.
So I hope you found some bit of value in the 5 habits that lead to more productivity – at least they did for me. With all that said, do not forget to set time aside for Family. It is our families that we work so hard for to begin with, so make sure you spend time with those nearest and dearest to you.
This can be challenging for an entrepreneur just starting out. It is not easy to balance a side gig with a full time job, and that is one reason why so many people are not able to pursue their passion even if it is on the side. With the right business model however, balancing time for family and “play” should get easier as your business becomes more established.
Readers: What about you? Do you have any tips that lead to more productivity? What are some things that have worked best for you in your routine?
Here are my additional thoughts on achieving more productivity by working less and getting more done.