You can read entire books on productivity, dozens of blog posts, and implement half a dozen different productivity systems. But at the end of the day, you still may not have gotten anything important done.
In theory, productivity is fairly simple. Even if you have an overwhelming amount to do, the steps to getting things aren’t hard to figure out. The challenge, of course, is when you have an overwhelming number to to-dos. Where do you start? Which should go first? In what order should they be done. Do all the to-dos actually have to be done? Here’re some tips from incredibly busy experts.
Neil Patel from NeilPatel
The best productivity tip I use in my business has to deal with emails. A lot of people spend countless hours in their inbox because they are inefficient.
To save time, don’t open up your emails unless you have time to respond. Otherwise you will end up reading the email, coming back to it later, reading it again, and then replying. By only reading emails when you have time to respond to them, you’ll save time because you won’t have to re-read the same email.
Evan Carmichael from EvanCarmichael
Chunk your time.
Things you do many times per day do once per day (email, social media, etc). Things you do multiple times per week do one day per week (meetings, writing, etc.) It will add hours to your week every week and literally saved my business and my sanity.
Yaro Starak from Entrepreneurs-Journey
My number one technique is really two concepts combined, the 80/20 Rule and the Theory of Constraints.
I use the 80/20 Rule to identify the tasks that deliver the big results, and deliberately ignore the rest. This is key because being productive is just as much about what tasks you choose NOT to do, as it is what you do.
The Theory Of Constraints shows me what I am missing in order to complete a task or meet a goal. Once I know the most important goals thanks to the 80/20 Rule, the TOC then tells me what is missing to make those goals happen.
This combination means I am always focused on the most important tasks that lead to completing the most important goals.
The challenge is knowing what your 80/20 goals are and what are the constraints that are stopping you from completing them. Once you figure that out, everything else is easy because you know exactly what you need to do.
Everything is decided before you even start work – it’s all about what you choose to do!
Joel Brown from Addicted2Success
Manage your energy! From the moment you wake up to the moment you rest your head, if you want to be productive and efficient with execution in any area of your life, you must learn to manage your energy. Exercise, drinking plenty of water, keeping your stress levels down and meditating. Meditation is a great way to rebalance the levels of energy in your body.
Jamie Tardy from EventualMillionaire.com
I think the best productivity tip is doing the RIGHT things.
Time will slip away unless you know the actions that will provide the most impact to your business. So first you need to know your goal and what you are aiming at. Once you do, I like to differentiate between active actions and passive actions. Active actions are the ones that PUSH you outside of your comfort zone towards that goal. Passive actions are all the other things. (Like email, and social media checking!) When you focus on ACTIVE actions then you’ll hit your goal faster and easier. And that’s the whole point of productivity! 😉
John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur On Fire
Schedule Once is by far the biggest time saver in my life. Being a Podcast host that interviews 8 Entrepreneurs a week, Schedule Once turns a potential scheduling nightmare into a simple email with a link, and takes care of follow up, reminders, and booking in the calendar of choice. LOVE it!
Chris Ducker from ChrisDucker
I have one very simple productivity rule that I have and it works brilliantly! It’s as simple as using your calendar properly. Bottom line, everything goes on my calendar. And I do mean everything – email time, social media time, thinking time, publishing time, everything. My rule of thumb is: If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done!
Thoughts from Leslie
Wow…you have heard some amazing advice from several of the big-wigs in online success. If you want what they’ve got, I’d encourage you to re-read their advice for getting things done!
As for me, because I juggle many projects and I’m organizationally challenged, productivity is a constant battle for me. My current strategy is to use a printed planner. I discovered a mom planner from Plan Ahead that I’ve found really helpful. It has a weekly view (I like to see my week planned out), and columns for AM, PM and names of children to put in your tasks for each day (which show up in rows). In the AM section I put in my appointments and one-off miscellaneous to-dos. Then in the PM and child columns I put my projects, such as WAHS, About.com, etc. using colored pens (WAHS is blue, About.com is red, etc). Then under each day, I put what needs to be done that day. Like Chris, if I don’t write tasks, they might not get done, so I include things like social media posts and check email. There is a far right column for grocery or notes, and under that I put projects I’m working on so they get attention as well.
I agree with everyone else’s tips as well….check email only when you plan to deal with (answer, delete, etc) at the time, organize your say in chunks, focus on what’s important and don’t waste your time on busy work, do things that stretch you to reach your goals, use tools to help you manage your tasks, and write a to-do list.
What tips do you have for getting things done efficiently?
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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