We all want to be more productive, but despite our best intentions, we often end up wasting valuable time. Many people fall into the trap of focusing too much on how hard they are working, rather than what they are actually accomplishing. The trick is not necessarily to work harder, but to work smarter. Here are some easy ways to harness your energy and be as productive as possible:
1. Identify what you really want. Be clear about what you really want. It could be your business or a project or your intention for the day, but be able to articulate it clearly, succinctly and in plain language. Use a “vision” to guide and inspire you to play a bigger game. You can have different visions for different parts of your life. Get a successful colleague, mentor or coach to be your sounding board and to sharpen your focus. When you are clear on what you really want, the next steps will become much more obvious and you’ll have the start of your game plan.
2. Have a “Can Do” attitude. Your mindset and attitude are great predictors of success. Everyone talks to themselves, (what a relief to find that out!) so why not tell yourself positive things. Use your “self-talk” to train yourself to be your own number one fan. When a gremlin of doubt or fear pops up, squash it with one of your cheers. You go girl!
3. Focus, focus, focus! You can have time and energy, but if you have a lack of focus then you are easily subject to distractions. Separate what you need to get done into two categories. The first category is the heavy-lifting thinking activities that require high energy, high degree of focus and dedicated time without interruptions. Items in this category include putting together your vision, game plan and presentation. The second category is for smaller and easier tasks that can be done when you might have lower energy and less focus. This would include items such as returning phone calls and sending short emails. Become aware of your energy levels and create an environment that allows you to focus on what you want to get done.
4. Be passionate and proud. If you are passionate about what you do and love doing it, you will find your day easier and a lot more fun. One added plus is that you will be better at it. Do more things that you love and fewer things you don’t. Try ditching or delegating the items that you don’t love and watch your productivity skyrocket. If you are proud of what you do and really believe in the service or product that you deliver, then you will be more bold and compelled to share your message and excitement with the world.
5. Build an inspirational environment. Determine what motivates and inspires you. Do you need a deadline? Do you need some accountability from a friend or colleague? Do you need a connection to a “mastermind” group or a one-on-one coach? Do you need to have a beautiful clutter-free space to work with an inspiring picture on the wall that makes you be, act, and do better? Surround yourself with inspiring people and things you love and you too will inspired to deliver your best.
6. Know when good enough is good enough. If you suffer from “perfection-itis”, then you may want to consider reducing your standards to get more accomplished. Trust yourself and be confident in what you know. Instead of long detailed presentations, articles and emails, try precise and concise messages delivered in plain, simple language. Sometimes “good enough” affords you time to deal with other opportunities.
7. Embrace your fear. Fear has a place in the world. It keeps us safe from potential harm. However, fear can be self-limiting. Be aware of your fears and use this knowledge to fuel you to stop procrastinating. Do the things that you are trying to avoid and you might make progress faster.
8. Be decisive. The volume and speed of available information has dramatically increased over the past ten years and without having an incoming decision filter, it is easy to get quickly overloaded. This is the time to hone your decision making skills with everything that you touch. Start listening to and using your intuition- test things out by using your senses and your heart instead of just your head. Try making decisions in a blink of an eye and see how that stacks up to a longer research-intensive decision. Break down big decisions into small mini-decisions so you can act. learn, and alter your path. Does your decision move you towards or away from your vision?
9. Flex your muscles. Flex your muscles and get fit and active. As your body gets stronger you will feel more in control, calmer and more confident. You will also boost your endorphins (who needs coffee?) to give you more energy and focus.
Never forget that your time is your most important asset and the way that you spend your time will determine the level of success that you experience with your business. You may not need to make big changes in the way that you work; sometimes even a small change in your habits can lead to extraordinary accomplishments. Consider the words of Paul Meyer, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
(Photo from: ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Article adapted from “9 Ways to Boost Your Productivity and Your Success” previously published on themompreneur.com)