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Have you ever felt exhausted at the end of the day, knowing you worked your butt off and yet wondering what the heck you actually accomplished or, worse yet, wondering why nothing has been crossed off your “to do” list? It’s frustrating, to say the least.
Here are seven easy ways to increase your productivity, and I mean it when I say easy.
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1. Most “To-Do” lists are useless.
There, I’ve said it and those time management companies who insist we make lists and put pretty-colored “A”, “B”, and “C” identifiers after tasks will have to deal with it.
The reason why, quite simply, is that those tasks have start times, but no end times. If you make just one change, do this: Put a start and an end time for everything you do and watch how much you get done!
2. The right “tools” to increase your productivity
You need to have a schedule – one where YOU purposefully script out those things that are your priorities for the day and you ensure that nothing “bumps” them. I am learning to schedule each day, week and for the year, if I can, so if I need to attend a call or make an appointment I know what I’m doing.
Your schedule should include those things that you need to do every day until you have built a routine around them. Not some days, not most days, but every day and it was only by having it on a schedule that it got done. It becomes a routine. A habit that you’ll rarely miss.
Another critical productivity tool is what I call a “Follow Up Pad.” A notebook for each client/key person that you deal with. Keep a list of what needs to be discussed with them (and the resulting actions of that discussion). This allows you to group phone calls or send one summary email rather than several throughout the day.
3. Ask this question.
What is the most effective use of your time RIGHT NOW?
For those rare times when you haven’t scheduled your time, ask yourself the above question and then follow through with working on the answer. You will dramatically increase the quality of the work you do.
4. Know your worth.
How much money do you want to make this year? If we assume that you work 8-hour workdays and you will earn $50,000 this year, then each hour is worth $25.61 and every minute is worth $0.427.
You intend on making $100,000 this year? Then double the above figures: every hour is worth $51.23 and every minute is worth $0.852.
So for every workday hour that you waste, you have lost $25.61 on a $50,000 income and $51.23 on a $100,000 income.
5. Delegate, but don’t abdicate.
As an entrepreneur (or aspiring entrepreneur) who now knows the value of his time, you recognize that it is worthwhile to delegate those activities that you either aren’t good at or dislike.
While delegating is critical for the most optimal use of your time and energies, be sure not to abdicate responsibility for those items. Keep a running list of the tasks you’ve delegated and check in with that person (remind yourself using your “Follow up Pad”).
6. Post your goals.
Having your goals posted provides consistent motivation on why you are doing the things you are doing.
Want an extra kick in the pants? Post a picture of that new car, new home, or dream vacation. Seeing the reason you are working to meet your goals will provide your subconscious with extra motivation to get the job done.
7. Keep a success journal
Success “journals” can be done several ways. You can simply keep a written record of all your successes or, you can follow Arnold Palmer’s method: he had a table wherein he inlaid his golf medals and, when he placed one medal in the table, he had a new hole routed for the next, as-yet-to-be-won medal. Always looking ahead, always anticipating the next success.
Remember this: time cannot be replaced. You can replace money; you can replace clients or projects. You can not replace time. Use it wisely.
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More tips to increase your productivity? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section.