By Ryan Taft
The older I get, the more I realize how important time is. Specifically, I am more aware of what I am, and am not, accomplishing. If you ask my wife she would tell you that I am always planning, scheduling and attempting to figure out how to maximize every moment to be my most productive self.
Of course, I fail at this fairly often. And…there are a few things I have figured out that have yielded fantastic results.
Here are five easy strategies you can implement immediately to become your most productive self.
1. Eliminate “Stinkin’ Thinkin’”
The way you think about productivity sets the tone for your level of accomplishment. I used to say the following statements a lot:
- “I don’t have time”
- “I am so busy!”
- “I can’t handle this”
- “I have too much to do”
- “I am overwhelmed”
The problem with these statements is I would cut off any ability to improve my production. Do you see how final each of them are? Instead, change negative thinking into growth creation questions:
- “How can I leverage time?”
- “How can I structure my calendar better?”
- “What skills can I develop to handle more with less effort?”
- “What would help me to manage my stress level better (other than drinking more)?
Can you see how the first list stops you from growing while the second helps you to get more creative?
2. Learn How To Say “No”
Working with high production people has taught me the power of setting boundaries. If you don’t set healthy boundaries, you will burn out. Here are some indicators you may need to say “No” more often:
- You find yourself over committing regularly
- You are a people pleaser
- You set false expectations (Agreeing to an unrealistic time line is the most common form of this)
- You have a lot of drama in your life
If you identify with this list, start saying “No” immediately. You are no good to anyone (including yourself) if you are a basket case. And being a “Yes” person will turn you into one.
3. Cut Out Distractions
I am working on this one as I type this. I constantly find myself looking at Facebook or watching an unimportant YouTube video instead of writing content or returning a call. Maybe you can identify. I saw a recent study that showed the following statistics:
- The average person is on social media for 1.72 hours per day
- The typical American spends four hours and fifty-one minutes watching television every day
- In contrast, people only spend 19 minutes per day reading!
If you aren’t producing at the level you think you should, you will want to audit your level of distraction. What are a couple of things you could cut out to get more done?
To be clear, I am not suggesting the nuclear option of deleting all of you social media accounts and living as though it was 1985. But could you only scroll social media for 20 minutes instead of 45? Could you set Netflix binge hours on the weekend instead of getting caught in a series on a Wednesday night?
Imagine what you could get done!
4. Live and Die By Your Calendar
High production people are fanatics about their calendar. Everything is scheduled. I had a mentor that used to say, “I can predict your income by looking at how detailed your calendar is.”
When you look at your calendar, is it wide open? Or do you have things scheduled? For example:
- Business appointments
- Time blocks for email catch-up
- Creative time scheduled
- Family time blocked out
- Sales calls
Get fanatical about your calendar and watch your production skyrocket.
5. Implement The “Sunday Night Ritual”
Every Sunday night before you go to bed, have the following items completed:
- Write down the most impactful activities you need to accomplish in the upcoming week
- Prioritize them
- Populate your calendar with those items first
- Schedule everything else around those activities
The Sunday Night Ritual causes you to prioritize actions that are production oriented rather than reactive or maintenance tasks.
There are tons more strategies out there to help with productivity. I would love to hear what you do to accomplish your level of productivity. Please share your thoughts on my Facebook Page or on my twitter page @RGTaft.
“If you are doing one thing, you are choosing not to do another.”