Whether you’re a business owner or student, getting productive and staying productive for long periods of time is crucial for meeting your goals. Below are just a few things I do to help me stay on track and getting things done.
I’ve found that my Sunday routine sets me up for success and prevents me from getting distracted during the week. For example:
If I could only pick one productivity method, it would be the GTD Method. If you’re not familiar with this method, it’s a way of processing all emails, tasks, text messages, calls, notes, projects, etc. It gives you rules and guidelines for processing anything and everything that comes at you every day. Diving into the details of this method is a bit beyond the scope of this blog post, however, below are a few key points to get you excited about adopting this method as your own.
GTD Method Key Points:
As I read the book and listened to the audiobook, I followed along and completed the exercises as I went through it. By the time I completed the book, I felt a whole new sense of control over my life, my work, my hobbies, and much more. If you’re serious about productivity, you won’t think twice about purchasing and reading this amazing book! You can purchase it here on Amazon.com.
If you spend a lot of time on your computer, using a tool like RescueTime to monitor the websites and applications you are using is a great way to see just how productive really you are. In short, you install the program on your devices as well as your browsers, then classify how productive each program or website is for you. The program actually does a great job at classifying much of this for you. If you’d like to learn more about this program, I recently did a blog post on RescueTime here.
Getting personal text messages and calls on and off all day is a sure way to ruin your productivity and focus. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve entered a state of flow, I can make amazing progress on projects as hours tick off like minutes. To me, nothing is more frustrating than getting a bunch of personal calls or text messages when I’m in this productive state. I’m not saying you have to ignore them, but just setting aside a specific time in your day to return personal calls and text messages is ideal if you do intensive task based work. Furthermore, returning calls or text messages at a time when you can give your friends and loved ones your full attention will be much more useful than doing so when you’re frustrated or focused on other things.
I also recommend keeping personal time with friends and family for the weekends when possible. Scheduling time for dinner, movie, or whatever else during the week is most likely going to cause you to mentally check out before the day is over. Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but just be mindful of it and reduce events during weekdays.
I’m not trying to be cold hearted here, but as a business owner that works with lots of other business owners and entrepreneurs, I know the amount of intense work it takes to keep a business healthy and growing. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can work 8-hours a day while trying to start a business.
I love tools and software that help me stay organized, accountable, and keep tasks and projects on track. My favorite by a long shot is Trello. It’s so simple to use, yet so incredibly powerful. It offers what seems like endless integrations, automation, and even novelties that make it super fun.
The reason I say “use and master your favorite productivity tools” is because I think it’s too easy to start using a new tool or software at a very basic level, which can be incredibly helpful, but actually, create more work than necessary. Really taking the time to learn all that the tool or software can do can easily 10x your productivity levels and keep things on track without much thought. Furthermore, utilizing automation where possible will significantly reduce your workload. Even if the automation only saves you a few seconds per task, it all adds up.
At the end of each workday, taking the time to plan what tasks you’ll need to accomplish tomorrow will be key to hitting your deadlines. Here are a few things I do at the end of each day that help me stay on top of everything:
In actuality, I have a daily checklist that is set up through Trello to email me each day. This checklist has about 30 items on it that I try to get accomplished every day. From working out to reading, to affirmations, to project updates, etc. I recommend creating the same thing for yourself as they can help you spot inconsistencies in your daily routines. Furthermore, I also use these types of checklists for weekly tasks like bookkeeping, sprint meetings, daily planners, and even front facing Trello boards I’ve set up for clients.
These productivity habits have taken me years to refine and implement at the level that I currently do. Even the GTD Method took me at least 6 months to get quite comfortable with, however, I still drop the ball on appending the next action to items. The key is persistence and perseverance to keep your productivity levels on an upward trend.
I’ll leave you with this last thought. Think back to a day where you were incredibly productive, you went into beast mode and accomplished in one day what you thought was going to take a week. Hours ticked off like minutes, you were completely focused and produced top quality work. Where would your life be if you could maintain that kind of focused intensity day in and day out?