What does "being productive" as a business owner ACTUALLY mean? In my view it means maximizing the income producing activities (IPA) and minimizing the paper pushing and wheel spinning. It also means shorter "to-do" lists and more actual DOING.
If you really want to be more productive, you need to focus on completing fewer tasks, learning how to work without distraction for a block period and taking much needed breaks.
See your productivity skyrocket when you put these seven habits into play.
Your daily work routine sets things in motion and signals that it's time to WORK. For me, my work routine looks like this: going in my office, lighting a candle, telling Alexa to play Baroque (music for better concentration) and sitting down on my couch with my plan and my computer. The great thing about a routine is that, unlike a schedule, it doesn't have to happen at a SET time. Its purpose is to set the tone and signal it's time to get to business.
Here's a novel thought: your brain was NOT meant to be the place where you keep all the thoughts, ideas, to do lists and reminders. Productive people know that trying to keep everything in their head just leads to frustration, overwhelm and a lack of creativity. Take 3 minutes a day to write down everything you have swirling around in that beautiful noggin of yours! You'll soon realize that this seemingly dumb activity will free up brain space and allow you to get more done than you ever imagined.
Unlike a routine, schedules depend on dates and times. You absolutely need to schedule your work time on to your calendar along with appointments, kids extracurricular activities, events and even errands. I do suggest keeping a combined calendar that shows both work and family schedules so you can be your most productive self. Ever schedule yourself a business related activity right smack in the middle of a doctor's appointment or parent/teacher conferences? (I have!) Nothing puts a damper on productivity more than not being able to work when you thought you could.
Using a timer is one of the simplest things you can do to get started on a task, and also keep your focus and your distraction to a minimum. I suggest setting the timer on your microwave or telling Alexa. Yes, you can use your phone only IF you have all notifications, calls and texts silenced. If your focus needs some work, try starting with 15-25 minutes with the goal to work up to a 50 minute stretch. You are to work on one task or a group of similar tasks. (More on this below) If you have little kids, check out How to Get Sh*t Done When You Have Small Children.
Planning is different than scheduling. Planning is where you take that brain dump and your organize it into "like" categories. You might have calls/emails you have to do, errands you need to run, social media posts you need to create and blog posts you need to write. Let's be honest here and admit that many times your brain dump is going to include personal, household AND business related items. AS IT SHOULD! Part of being productive as a business owner is also being organized with your home and personal agendas. Ever try to write a blog post about being productive when there is a kitchen full of dirty dishes... or is that just me?
Now that you have things in categories and you have a calendar with times marked off for working and errands, you now are going to begin planning out how long each of these activities are going to take you. You are going to schedule them into your calendar keeping the like activities together in the same time block or back to back time blocks. For instance, if you need to create social media posts you are going to create all the images in Canva at the same time, then in another block you will write the post or captions. More on this in the next tip.
Batching is the idea of dedicating blocks of time to similar tasks in order to decrease distraction and increase productivity. Gone are the days of multitasking. Science has proven that our brains lag under that method and that it actually lowers our IQ! Did you know that every time we get distracted it can take up to 15 minutes to get back to complete focus? When batching you will devote a block of time to one task or a group of similar tasks.
There are tasks you do again and again in your business that would be well served if you systemize them. Do you create social media content? Of COURSE you do! Create a system for gathering ideas, creating images and writing posts that you do the same way time after time. Not only will you get faster, but when the time comes to outsource you will have an easy time of if by handing over the system. You can systemize replying to email, writing blog posts, editing video, creating content, following up, team trainings, meetings, etc. Think of anything you do again and again that has more than one step and create a system for it.
Work at least 3 of these tips into your day and you are guaranteed to increase your productivity.