It doesn’t matter what business you run – everyone is looking to learn how to be more productive at work.
Time is a great leveller. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so every small business owner wants to be more productive.
The reason? Some people achieve peak productivity and get so much more done in a typical day, whilst others struggle to achieve anything apart from a feeling of being time crunched and overwhelmed.
How to be more productive
Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do less, to do fewer things.
How we manage time effectively and how we actually work in our business, can make a huge difference to our productivity and the success we achieve in our workday.
When we are productive, we are more focused and confident.
Make room for increased productivity by putting these 7 habits in play. You’ll learn how to be more productive at work and life.
1. Set exciting goals
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?
When you’re clear on your goals you’re instantly more productive.
You get more focused and productive on your high value activities.
If you want to be more productive create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.
What does this future look like?
How will I feel when I get there?
The vision must be emotionally and intellectually engaging for you to take action on achieving the goals.
How to create bigger and better goals
Creating a new vision, especially one where your goals are a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion and sparking your productivity.
It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.
Commitment to this vision, and being more productive every day, depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, and see something bigger ahead.
When you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.
If you want to be more productive, make a vision map to get you started.
Ask yourself “what has to happen in the next years so that I feel happy with my progress?”
2. Have a clear strategic plan
Less is more when it comes to being more productive to achieve your goals.
Once you have your future vision mapped out, build a strategic plan to get you there.
Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame.
You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.
90 day goal setting increases productivity
To be more productive in achieving your bigger vision, set specific goals for the 90 days.
Make the goals measurable and achievable.
The magic number for me and my clients is to create and stick to five goals for the next 90 days.
3. Set specific productivity goals
Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: Column A, Column B, and Column C and Column D.
Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now?
Write these things down in Column A. The number is up to you.
Then ask yourself: What activities am I currently doing that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.
This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working.
Now let’s look at your personal and business strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.
These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.
Finally let’s move to Column D.
This column is for your biggest opportunities.
Could your marketing be better?
Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers?
Is there a new innovation you could bring to market?
Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.
Once you’ve analysed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.
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4. Set small goals to be more productive
You now have your goals and you’ll feel confident and raring to go.
They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel confident and motivated.
But how do you ensure you stay productive to achieve these goals?
How can you continue to be more productive while managing and juggling day to day projects can get in the way?
Dealing with problems can get in the way.
You want to learn how to be more productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day to day runs smoothly.
How to achieve smaller goals
One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.
Let’s say you want to get 10 more clients in the next 90 days and you know that you typically ‘convert’ 50% of opportunities.
Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new clients.
You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.
It’s smart to overshoot so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear productive plan to work through because with every ‘win’ your confidence will grow.
5. Completely commit to increased productivity
If you are not truly committed to being more productive and achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.
Motivation can only take you so far.
It is the intentional commitment and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.
Being intentional increases productivity
Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something.
Were you fully invested?
Why did it matter?
Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?
How did it feel when you achieved it?
What difference did it make?
If your motivation begins to drop when you’re working towards less important goals, you won’t be productive.
Think back to a time when you were really committed.
When you are committed to something, then you are–in a way–forced into action. Your mind-set is focused and your body follows; you want to get it done.
And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.
6. Spend more time on the things you’re great at
Confidence plays a vital role when you are looking at how to be more productive.
To increase confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals we need to focus on our strengths.
This is key when learning how to be more productive.
What are you best at? Have you identified your unique strengths?
You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.
How can you multiply your strengths?
Focus on value creation
Think of the areas of the business and life when you are doing work you love, that you are great at with your best clients and customers.
These areas are where you add the biggest value.
They are when you are most productive,.
Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services.
But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!
To be more productive spend more time adding value in the areas where you excel.
7. Embrace the present moment
Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment.
Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect productive day looks like?
If you want to know how to be more productive, focus on creating not reacting.
We all have the opportunity to create rather than react–to decide what we do with our day.
All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.
Confidence is key to be more productive
If you want to learn how to be more productive, the key is confidence.
Confidence is built up when you are clear on your goals and you make progress towards them every day.
This, coupled with doing more of the work you love to do and less that you don’t gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and do more of the work that really matters to you.
The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money.
By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will be more productive, have increased focus and feel a lot more confidence.
This article originally appeared on the Lucemi Consulting blog.
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