There are only 24 hours in a day. It’s the same for everyone. But how is it that certain people achieve much more in their 24 hours than others? I believe the answer is because those more productive people manage their time differently. They know that every second counts.
Working more productively isn’t rocket science, but you need to be more deliberate with your time and how you spend it if you hope to improve. Here are six tips I live by that can help boost your productivity instantly, if applied correctly:
1. Do less and focus.
Let’s start by clarifying one thing: Multitasking is a myth. If you truly believe you work more efficiently while doing multiple things at once, I hate to break to you, but you’re probably lying to yourself.
Instead, focus on the most important task at hand, and work on it until it’s done. I recommend you write down your most important “to-do” for the day, every day, that will bring you closer to your long- or short-term goals than any other task. Think about the Pareto principle: 80% of your results are generated from 20% of your actions. Find the most important task, focus on it until it’s done and move on to the next one. It’s simple.
2. Outsource everything you can.
Running a business will be very time consuming if you insist on handling every matter yourself. But I know how hard it can be to give tasks away.
However, you can only put your valuable time into a certain number of tasks if you want to be productive and excel in your field. This means it you’ll eventually have to start outsourcing little tasks. Start by taking small steps and outsourcing time-consuming tasks you don’t enjoy doing, such as accounting, responding to e-mails, etc. I know it can be challenging at first, but I’ve found that outside help makes a big difference.
3. Do it now.
We’ve all suffered from procrastination at some point in our life. “I’ll do it later” and “I’ll do it tomorrow” are phrases you’ve probably said or thought in the past. And for some people, procrastination is a big hurdle and a big problem keeping them away from achieving their goal within a specific timeframe — or even at all.
The “big monster” that is procrastination isn’t as hard to conquer as one might think. Of course, it’s always easier said than done, but my biggest tip when conquering tasks that seem too big or too far away is to just start it. Do it now. You’ll likely be surprised by how focused and determined you’ll become in order to finish the task. You can reap an enormous productivity boost and efficient output rate just by following this rule alone.
4. Eliminate distractions.
“Someone liked your picture.” It’s a message we all love to see. However, it’s also a massive distraction from the actual task at hand. With technology always evolving, new apps and social media enabling you to communicate with anyone on the planet at any given time, it’s hard to stay focused if you allow these things to distract you easily.
As a social entrepreneur, I can’t entirely delete and neglect all social media channels, as they have been a vital element to my success so far. But if that doesn’t impact or change your business/productivity for the better, delete them all. If social media is important, use automation software to schedule your posts in advance and limit your overall screen time to move away from these productivity killers.
5. Be proactive, not reactive.
Incoming phone calls and e-mails are my No. 1 enemy. There’s always someone who needs help fixing a problem, wanting an opinion on a specific topic or asking for advice regarding an approach. They dictated my life for way too long and drifted me away from deeply focused work.
My good friend and business partner once shared his approach to managing all kinds of incoming requests: “Just create yourself a specific timeslot to handle all emails and phone calls.” Ever since, I have dedicated 45 minutes each evening to work through unanswered e-mails, phone calls and other messages, which my assistant has filtered beforehand.
I’m not a machine, nor are other successful entrepreneurs machines. In the end, we’re all just humans. However, we can always strive to improve our efficiency and productivity to guarantee maximum success in a naturally given 24 hours. These methods work for me, and they can work for you. Just give them a shot.