It’s hard to consistently remain productive. Running a business has its peaks and troughs. You win, you lose, there are the times where things feel slow and others when it feels as though you’re moving at a million miles an hour.
Better people than me have mentioned it’s about perseverance through the dips. They also mentioned some of the ways to maintain your focus and momentum. Effectively, how to elongate the good times and navigate the down times.
One of the ways that works for me is using a Self Journal from the Best Self Co. It helps me plan out the macro-goals and break them down into achievable SMART micro-goals.
This allows me to plan each day with a focus on our wider business goals. At the end of each day, there’s a section for reflection. In this section is the opportunity to write your lessons learned.
Six months after starting the process, I flicked back through my book and thought I would share three of the best things I noted.
They’re not revolutionary. In fact, they’re just pure common sense. But every business owner will know how hard it is to action these points.
Drop your best productivity hacks in the comments and let me know!
- “Be More Militant With Your Time”
This was written after a day I spent traipsing around London from meeting to meeting. Being more militant with my time is something I’ve been working hard on.
The Self Journal is useful for showing me when I’ve planned my week/day/morning or afternoon badly. The result of this poor planning is a serious drop in productivity.
The lesson is to meticulously plan your time and stick to it. I have a default diary and this outlines when I can take meetings, when I exercise and when I have periods of deep work. I now stick rigidly to it and my productivity has shot through the roof.
I also ‘eat the frog’ first thing every morning. This means I take on the hardest task first every morning, once you’ve accomplished this you feel on top of everything for the rest of the day.
- “Allow For Downtime”
HOLD UP I hear ya shout.
You’re chatting all big about being uber productive and you’re telling us to relax?!
Running a business can be exhausting and sometimes you’re better off flicking on Netflix and recharging the batteries than staring at the laptop for hours.
Burnout’s a real danger and sometimes the drive for productivity can actually hinder your productivity.
On another day, my lesson was listed as the fact I packed too much into one day. My first meeting started at 8am, my last one ended at 7.30pm. To workaholics this might not seem like a lot but for me personally it was too many meetings in one day, having a balance is also important and I could have spread the meetings out across two days and felt more on top of my other work as a result.
- “Focus on working ON the business”
The difference between a freelancer and a business owner is vast. A freelancer is still an employee in many ways; they are measured by how many billable hours they can fit in.
A business owner can easily fall into this trap, feeling like they have to do everything themselves. The thing is, it’s important to spend time planning and working on the business.
If you spend all your time doing the actual work, you have a job not a business.
You have got to remember the high value activities that are truly going to make a difference. When you’re spending too much time on projects, it’s probably time to employ someone.
It’s a difficult thing to achieve but I now dedicate Friday’s to planning and spend much more time on High Value Activities. Got something to add? Drop me a line in the comments and let’s talk productivity and how to improve it.
With thanks to Minimography.com for the featured image.