If you’re a small business owner your livelihood depends on your ability to make business happen. Personal productivity for entrepreneurs is top on the list of skills you MUST MASTER.
If you’ve ever gotten to the office early determined to make headway on an important project but instead got caught up in the daily tasks of the office you know the frustration of being constantly busy without feeling productive.
Lots of people are busy all day but they don’t make any progress on their long term goals.
Returning calls and emails, attending to meetings that further the goals of other people–these may be things you have to do–at least some of the time–but if you’re not clear on your long term goals, you aren’t moving forward in your business.
If you ever feel like you’re stuck or spinning your wheels, take a look at your schedule. How many activities are geared towards you reaching your long term goals and how many are putting out fires and attending to others’ needs?
Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, breaks down schedules into four distinct components.
Important and urgent
Important but not urgent
Urgent but not important
Not urgent not important
Personal Productivity Tip #1:
When you make your to do list, highlight the ones that are Important but Not Urgent–whether it’s furthering your professional education or getting published regularly in a trade journal you have to take steps to make your goals happen.
Personal Productivity Tip #2:
Look at your schedule–what can you delegate or delete in your life to make time for the things that matter to you? If you had a boss, and that boss required you to prune back 20% of your weekly activities, which tasks would you rank as your lowest producing time investment?
No matter what your situation you have some options. You could get up an hour earlier to spend 60 minutes a day paving the way to your success. If an hour seems difficult, find 15 minutes a day to move yourself forward in your goals. 15 minutes a day over a 5 day work week adds up to 75 minutes. Those 75 minutes add up to 5 hours over a month. Now, what can you accomplish in 5 hours? Break it down into 15 minute chunks and put it on your calendar.
Personal Productivity Tip #3:
Identify which routine tasks could you delegate to another to free up more time.
Or, maybe, you don’t need to do it at all. Depending on your business, there may be aspects you just don’t need to do anymore, or you shouldn’t be doing right now. Take for instance one of my startup clients. This NYC businesswoman was launching her second company. When she finally asked me to coach her she was pretty exhausted burning the candle at both ends. What we found out was that she was spending a huge amount of time designing her website herself (when she never did this before) and applying for patents. She was frustrated that business wasn’t happening soon enough. During our coaching sessions, she quickly became aware that she was focusing her time on all the wrong areas. She was working feverishly on stage 7 while skipping right over stages 1-6. She realized that if she would first lay the foundation in the sequential order that her time is then truly productive and results begin to happen much quicker and easier.
Personal Productivity Tip #4:
Regularly review your long term goals. Keeping your eye on the prize requires reminders of where you want to go and how you need to spend your time now to make sure you get there.
My challenge question for you is — “how long have you been tolerating low personal productivity in yourself?” The trap that blinds so many entrepreneurs from losing awareness is the thinking that because you’re so busy every day you are being highly productive. If you need someone to come alongside you to help you evaluate how you can be most effective, I’m only a phone call away! (215) 292-4947
QUESTION: What is your best strategy that keeps you focused on working in your key result areas? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below:
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