All entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders I work with as their business coach want to leverage time and increase their productivity. They want to be more productive on the activities that moves their business forward quicker. Many people think of productivity as getting more things done each day. But, that’s the wrong focus. Productivity is all about identifying and getting the most important things done consistently. And no matter where you are spending your time currently, there are only a few really important activities. Being productive is about making consistent, measurable progress on a small number of things. It is about working smarter, not harder. When it comes to productivity for business owners, Jean-Baptiste Say, the French Economist, described an entrepreneur as someone who: “shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.” What is productivity? What is productivity? I want to define productivity as it relates to entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders, the people who I work with as their business coach. Productivity is about leveraging your time to deliver a result or complete a task in the most effective way possible. It is not about time and effort. It is about delivering a specific result or outcome in the most productive way possible. Productivity is not about getting more things done each day. Maximising time, and being more productive, is about getting clear on what the most important activities you can personally do to reach your goals are, and then spending your time doing only those activities on a consistent basis. 11 productivity tips to be more productive Here are 11 productivity tips you can use to be more productive and start managing your time effectively to produce bigger results in less time. These productivity tips will help you become more productive and increase your energy so you get to the end of every productive day feeling excited by what you’ve achieved. 1. Find your productivity sweet spot To become more productive, you want to get clarity on the time of the day when you’re most productive. There are lots of articles out there that extol the virtues of creating a morning routine that starts at 5am. For many entrepreneurs I know, many with a young family, that is an impossible dream. Some of us work better in the morning, whilst others are more night owls. Getting a night owl to start a morning routine is completely counterproductive. By getting up a bit earlier, I use that time to exercise and lay out my 3 Most Important Activities for the day. Many people don’t have the luxury of getting up at 5am as they have other commitments. Find your productivity style Find your own productivity style that works for you. Don’t worry about what most people think is normal. Follow your own path. You’ll know when you are most productive. 2. Be more productive by journaling A journal can be used for many things. Many entrepreneurs I know use it as a place to record gratitude; somewhere to note down thoughts and ideas while others state what they want to come into their life. Others use a journal to note down ideas or state clearly exactly what they want. Use a journal to help you be more creative and become more productive. It will help you take all of the things that are swirling around your mind and getting it down on paper. You can filter out all of the things you don’t want to pursue and identify the ideas and thoughts that you want to take further. 3. Simplify your to-do list Entrepreneurs often procrastinate and get stuck because they have too many things on their daily to do list. Too many things and not enough time is a common theme I hear all the time. Before you can become more productive you need to simplify. Strip everything back to focus on completing three or four of your most important activities every day. Three things are manageable and can be achieved. They will also, once completed, create real progress and momentum in your business. Focus on your most productive activities Completing your big three boosts confidence and ensures you move forward in your progress every day. If you’re worried about small tasks try listing out all of the small tasks and having a one day blitz to complete everything. Find people within your team or other experts who can take on these activities. When you consistently follow this process every month you will be on the fast track to being more productive and achieving your goals quicker. 4. Set better boundaries A simple way to start being more productive and get more of your crucial activities completed is to learn the art of saying no. We have so many opportunities and activities and people that consume our time. Be intentional about managing time effectively The next time you have an opportunity, ask yourself. Will this opportunity move my business forward? What difference will it make? How does it fit with my goals? What’s the best possible result if I tool action? Am I excited to spend time with this person? Do I feel like I have to do this rather than wanting to do this? Does this thing excite and motivate me? Create a scorecard for assessing the opportunities in front of you to ensure you maximise time, and say no to the things that don’t fit with your longer term vision. 5. Capture ideas I wrote an article for Lifehack on The Importance of Note Taking Writing down ideas is the lifeblood of the creative entrepreneur looking to be increase productivity and grow their business. Your notebook is the place to capture your big ideas, to note down important points, to lay down everything that’s whirling around inside your mind. Some of the most productive people in the world are avid note takers, from Richard Branson to Bill Gates, and they all credit note taking as being a key part of their success. 6. Become more effective We can get stuck and bogged down with stuff. Stuff are activities and people that have no real meaning or benefit in our business and lives but we tolerate them because they haven’t gotten so bad that they need to be eliminated. Ask yourself, how much of my time is being used up on people and activities that just suck up your time? Do your daily activities:
Bring you joy and excitement?
Motivate and inspire you?
Utilise your unique strengths?
Move the needle on your business forward?
Explore outsourcing or delegating activities that don’t fit the above criteria. According to the Pareto Principle 20% of our activities are responsible for 80% of our results. When things that suck up your time don’t make up that 20%, look for ways to stop doing them personally. This will help you become more productive and focused on what matters most to you. 7. Take more time out of your business We all want more time freedom. How much time freedom do you actually have currently? Chances are that it’s probably not that much. Freeing up entrepreneurs time so they can do more of what they love to do and are best is the core principle of my business coaching. A simple strategy I use is the art of taking more time out of the business for rest and rejuvenation. This is not a holiday. It is about taking one day per month (or more, if you can) to take yourself completely out of the business. That means no phone, no email. Focus on recharging and boosting energy. When you come back you will become more productive and focused. 8. Focus on your strengths to become more productive We all have the same 24 hours in the day. Some people manage to achieve exactly what they want, whilst others struggle and end up with a number of unfinished projects and a feeling of not moving forward. There is a huge difference between busyness and just checking things off a to-do list V being effective and working on your biggest money making opportunities. The first step to being more productive is to be get crystal clear on the ideal future you want for yourself, your vision. Once you have clarity on that vision, come back to the present day and set five 90 day outcome goals to help you move towards that bigger vision. When you are clear on the results you want to achieve in the next 90 Days, lay out monthly, weekly and daily plans. This will help you get super focused on where to spend your time and to protect the time that you actually have. 9. Just take action The key to building confidence, achieving results and building momentum is to simply start. This excitement of starting creates a charge. Getting into action ensures that you’re moving forward. That you’re making progress towards your goals. Some of us are so worried about making everything perfect that we don’t start. We procrastinate. We get trapped and stuck. By being clear on your three or four most important tasks every day and taking action on them, you have the ability to 10x your productivity. 10. Multiply your progress Compounding daily success can have a big impact on your productivity and results. We’ve talked about identifying your three or four most important activities each day. At the end of the day, write down three things that you achieved that day. They can be big or small, but they will show you are making progress. To multiply that feeling of confidence, write down the three things you want to achieve tomorrow. Celebrate your productive achievements To become more productive, each week, lay out a weekly achievement tracker. Write down the five things you’ve made productive progress on. This gives you clarity on how far forward you’ve moved on your most important tasks. If you’ve achieved what you want – great, continue in that vein. When you haven’t, see what you can learn and adjust accordingly. 11. Use time blocking to maximise productivity In the busy day to day of running your business it’s easy to forget business basis – finance, operations, systems, relationships. Unless you invest time in these areas of your business, you miss out on ways of exploring how you can streamline the business and improve systems. Explore how to leverage time, how you can grow your team, or how to improve your marketing. Take one day per month out of your business and look at everything in the ‘back of house’ of your business. Look for productivity improvements If you want to increase your productivity ask yourself the following questions: What can be improved? Are there things that should be invested in? Which things could be outsourced or delegated? How can you free up more of your time? Without the operational efficiency and system improvements required in any business all of your growth focus could come to nothing. What could you accomplish if you were performing at your peak productivity level? Over to you. Which productivity tip most resonates with you? Let me know in the comments. More Productivity Ideas Many productivity tips and time management tips focus on tactical shifts which can help you make short-term gains relating to your to-do list, creating a better morning routine or being more efficient. These are fine but don’t create the long-term impact that people are really looking for. People want to maximise their productivity and leverage their time so they can have more time freedom to do more of what they love to do, are best at and creates the biggest results they want. In some of my most popular articles I break down tools, tips and strategies that can help you double your productivity and expand your time freedom.