This is not going to be one of those posts where I tell you to eat healthily and get up super, super early before the sun rises and just eat nuts and fruit.
We all know that cultivating a healthy body, and mind is a good thing at many levels and undoubtedly helps us feel good that leads to productivity.
So today I want to share with you a number of practical productivity ideas that any business owner can implement consistently. Though it is great to follow what Sir Richard Branson or Tony Robbins do it might not be totally practical unless you have a wave pool or live on the beach!
Today I am going to share some of the things that work for me when it comes to productivity that I have been implementing for many year.
In our Superfast Circle, we share different strategies like this on our Mindset Monday live call that sets everyone up for the week.
I have got around 14/15 to share that you can consider, so let’s get started.
Number one, the most important thing that helps me be productive is my mindset. I focus on my mindset because, when I am feeling confident and upbeat, I achieve more.
Have you noticed how when you are upbeat you get more done? Think about it the week before you go on holiday, you have this massive to-do list, and somehow, you manage to get through it all because you are upbeat, you are ready for it, you know you’re going away, you know you’ve got a finite time to get things done.
Imagine if you could create that on a more consistent and regular basis. I always focus on is my mind and keeping it on the things that I want to happen, rather than the things that I do not want to happen.
The mind: It is an incredibly powerful too.
Number two is rituals. Sharon talked about this with our group this week and routines/rituals will be a real help to your productivity.
Some of you that have children, I am sure will know the power of creating rituals.
So how can you build rituals into your life?
Journaling is one ritual to consider; it’s a definite winner for me.
I journal every day.
I also get up at early in the morning. I always got up early when I had a corporate role. I was head of a business unit as a Marketing and sales director. I was all over the country and we lived in the Lake District and still do. I would get up at some bonkers time like half past three in the morning to drive to Manchester to catch a flight for a 8.30am in London.
However, I like getting up early. It makes me feel good.
I also exercise by walking the dog. It’s like a bit of a meditation. It helps things get really clear in my head. Sometimes it’s pouring down rain and sometimes it’s absolutely freezing and sometimes, it’s fantastic sunshine.
It clears my mind and enables me to focus. and it’s a ritual that I have.
The other thing that I do is, I have a gratitude journal.
It sounds a bit woo-woo but it works for me because I always think about; if you focus on what’s good in your life, more good will come into your life. I’ll take that one. I’ll give that one a go because it seems to work for me so that’s something that I do.
It’s thinking about, what rituals might you want to build into your life that will support you when it comes to productivity. When I start my day; I’ve done some journaling, I’ve probably taken the dog for a walk and I’ve done other things.
For me then in my mind, I fell like I have accomplished several tasks already!
Focus On The Goal And….. Measure It!
Now, the other thing I do to keep my mind focused and aligned with my goals is I have a cash flow spreadsheet.
Now, for many recruiters listening to this, you’ll have your whiteboards and you’ll have your ideas on when different things are going to land and everything else, but I like to look at my cashflow spreadsheet because it galvanises me into action and there’s a funny story about this.
We had a very good year last year, the end of last year however in November, the roof started leaking quite badly and it was a case of, “Oh **”!!, we’re going to have to get that done.” At the same time of year, everything happens from a tax point of view as well, so it was one of those things that we had a conversation and some fun with it and decided to run a campaign.
What I like about that is that it galvanises me into action. When I say, “Okay, I’ve got this in here but, what if we could add another 30 grand on here? What if we could add another 20 grand on here. What if this quarter…. and the list goes on. Expectation aligns well with productivity.
Accountability Helps You Get ‘Stuff’ Done!
The next thing, in at four, is accountability. I use something called an accountability form. I’m not quite sure where I originally heard about this. I think somebody shared it with me and I’m sure it’s Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach.
On my accountability form, basically, I write about; what were the positive things that happened last week, which is good, and I’ll come onto that and explain why that’s important. What I’m grateful for. Some of my ah-ha moments. What were my learnings that week? Things I’m committing to.
Specific things that I want to do next week because it’s very easy to think we can achieve more than we can. That’s why I like to narrow it down to three things. I remember on holiday in Turkey last year, listening to a podcast of Dan Sullivan where he’s talking about, “You know, if you actually commit to do those three things and then you look back, you’ll see how far forward you’ve gone.”
Log You Time To See Where It’s Going
I keep a time log. Makes it sound a bit anal but if I want to be really productive, I like to know what I’m doing and when and I write everything down because then, it’s very easy when you’re a high achiever to, at the end of the day to say, “Ugh, I’ve done nothing. I’ve not achieved anything.”
Always looking for what you’ve not done rather than what you have done, rather than you start to map all this out and write down, what you have achieved that day.
I’ll never forget, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years and I was pretty on it because we used to have a contact rate and I was/am quite target driven, so I used to try and see as many doctors as I could both in hospitals and GP.
There would be some days, if I didn’t write it down, I could not remember how many Doctors, or Pharmacists I’d seen. I had to go back and see who I saw, “Dr. Patel, Dr. Smith, Dr. Jones, Dr. Seal, Dr. Whatever.” Because I couldn’t remember.
Outsourcing Versus Your Cost Per Hour
Which brings me to where you are spending your valuable time and outsourcing. If there are tasks in your business that you do not like, admittedly, we all must put the VAT return in and that’s just a fact that as business owners we must do.
However, if there are specific tasks that A, you think someone else is better suited to doing, B; the cost per hour is a lot lower than your cost per hour, then it’s important that you outsource it.
It’s interesting because we were talking about designing e-books the other day. There’s a great chap that we found that will do an e-book for just shy of 100 pounds or something like that, which in the bigger scheme of things, is something you want to brand your organisation, is not a lot and yet, some people that we know, are fiddling about, going back and forth to different people on Fiverr and if they actually factored in their time, what their cost per hour would be, they’d realise it’s much easier to give it to somebody that’s an expert.
Right, okay, that’s the fee. I want it done like this, this and this. Bring it back when it’s done right. It’s thinking about outsourcing. Makes you more productive because then, you are not spending your time, when you’re not in your zone of genius.
There’s a guy called Taki Moor online, and he talks about the zone of genius. It’s like being in your zone of genius so I know if I am writing a campaign or writing an email and I can get totally lost and absorbed because that’s what I love doing and that is a much better use of my time than fiddling around trying to mend websites and various other things that I have done in the past.
What about you what is your zone of genius?
Easy to get misguided on this one and it’s multi-tasking. Do not multi-task. You think it’s going to make you more productive and it doesn’t at all because your brain can’t process all those different things and you can’t do any of it well and you find things get half left or you’ve not quite finished this or you’ve not quite finished that.
Fact: Multi-tasking is a huge distraction. Therefore, switch off Facebook, switch off email, switch off your mobile phone. Depending on what you’re doing, if you’re doing something creative, I switch off the work phone. It patches through to somebody else but let’s be frank about it, nobody can’t wait an hour to speak to you, at all. That’s something else to consider.
The other things that I do to be more productive is I batch. Many of us batch cook. I’m a great batch cooker. I have a few signature dishes which include cottage pie and apple crumble and chilli; the list goes on……
I also batch work tasks and projects.
I look at my batching depending on what I have to do, and what time of the day it is. At the end of the day, like now, I’m recording this, believe it or not, at half past eight in the evening in an office we have at home and that’s because I’ve wanted to do this. It’s been on my list and I know that I need to. There’s one of our team who uploads and edits all our podcasts, is going on holiday next week so I know I need to get this to her to be handled before she goes away.
This is a great time for me. I feel relaxed and quiet in the office, so I can do that. It’s thinking about when I’m batching, when am I going to batch?
The other week, for any of you who saw Sharon’s educational videos on LinkedIn (if you’re not connected with us on LinkedIn, come over and connect. It’s Denise Oyston and it’s Sharon Newey and Sharon’s been recording a number of videos and uploading them to LinkedIn and a couple of we did a batch run recording a number of different videos. We recorded six or seven in a couple of hours, quite quickly and those of course, can be used because once you get into a flow, it’s amazing what happens.
Fill Your Calendar
My other favourite productivity hack is I fill my calendar.
I choose to use Outlook 365 and I make sure that everything’s in my calendar and Julie our PA, she puts things in my calendar, so I know that “Okay, I’m writing these articles here. I’m doing this here. I’m recording this podcast. I’ve got a coaching session with somebody here.
It’s all in my diary so I know what to do and I know when I must do it. Having a list of tasks, I can tick off gives me another boost of energy when I end the day and I’m like, “Wow, I’ve done all that.” What, is also important that I do, in filling out my calendar, I put ‘me’ time in. I put the time in my calendar for me.
The first thing in the year that goes on the calendar, our holidays and days off! I like to have my beauty treatments so that’s all mapped in, if we’re going away to the theatre or something like that so I put that in because it is critical when it comes to productivity, to focus on you because if you want to turn up the best that you can be, it’s important that you take time for you.
I’ll get off my soapbox now…. Make sure in your calendar, you take time for you.
When you think of allocating time be aware of when you perform at your best.
Often on a Friday afternoon, I’ll do certain tasks because, by that time of the week, I’m a little bit depleted when it comes to creativity so there might be other administration tasks or phone calls that I do at the end of the week to finish off.
Which leads me to something else and it’s called off-ramping and on ramping. Before I start work, again, this falls under the ritual side is that I clean my desk.
Off Ramping and On Ramping
Might be whacky and I like a really, really, really like a clean space so every morning I polish and clean the desk. I also have a candle that I like. I know that sounds weird, but I just like candles and so, I feel like it clears space and gives me focus so I do that.
What I’ll often do, interestingly, is I reboot the computer. These may sound like all sorts of wacky things, but these probably relate back to my personal rituals.
Was it Johnny Wilkinson, that used to turn the ball a certain way when he kicked it? Probably not a good thing to talk about Rugby Union in England as we’ve had a disastrous six nations on the England front!! ☹
We both have specific on ramping and off-ramping techniques. Here is the thing, we run events for our Superfast circle members and something I do when I come back from there is, put everything away because otherwise what happens is, you have things cluttered in your office; don’t you?
Strange yet true that a cluttered external environment can and does screw up your mental processing because you have so many open loops going on in there rather than completing something and moving on, completing something and moving on.
We are designed to work in this way as human beings so it’s so much better. Then, you’ve got all these incomplete’s going on and you go, “Oh yeah, I forgot to put all those away. Oh God yeah, all those envelopes are still there from the event. We haven’t put them away yet.
This is a well-documented phenomenon that helps to free up your energy and really does help you become more productive.
Beat The Clock
Something else is, I call it beat the clock. I was listening to a podcast, it was early this morning. There’s this guy called entrepreneur on fire, John Lee Dumas. He was talking to a chap because he was in the Army and this guy was in the Air Force and they were talking about being entrepreneurs … Basically, his podcast gives you lots of tips and strategies and this chap was talking about failing fast and how it’s important to just act on things.
It’s something I’d like to do as well is that, when you know you’re moving in the right direction, it’s a case of really implementing fast.
We’ve got some great clients that do this. We’ve got one client in Dubai and he’s part of our circle membership and he’s a VIP member as well and we provide monthly templates as part of the Superfast Circle membership. What’s fabulous to see is every time a template comes out, that bad boy is implemented!! It’s out and it’s being used and surprise surprise what happens? He gets amazing results.
The other day, I had a couple of ideas for campaigns we wanted to run around March and I thought, “Okay, let’s do this one first.”
I took the time to write the sales letter, and all the email campaign is mapped out, and I thought, “Okay, I’m going to do this one as well before the end of March because it’s just a reminder for people.
That’s fast implementation because I had those ideas. I’ve been thinking about it and I was like, “All right, it needs to get done.” This year, within 48 hours, the campaigns were written and they’re ready to go. That really is possible when you get into that productivity mode and you know it’s about, just move fast because it’s amazing how many things you can get done.
The other is I journal. I have notebooks everywhere. Even though we live in an online world and we are both tech savvy, I love to write. In fact, I have a really nice pen. I should take a picture of this and put it on the blog post that I was bought.
It hit the microphone there. It was bought as a present. It’s a fountain pen because I love to write with a fountain pen.
When I went to university, some boring information for you, I wrote all my notes when I was at university, with a fountain pen. I’m old school.
Back to journaling. I get these notebooks and I write everything down because I am a great believer that writing is the learning form of doing.
As I’m writing, I’m remembering, I’m having to process, I’m having to formulate words so as I’m writing them down it’s making me think.
Those are some of my productivity suggestions that I think anyone could focus on, use and experience results.
Some of them are little techniques to help you speed up things.
Important: The key is to focus on your mindset and how that can work for you. If you can flick your mind at a certain time of day or as you start, or you keep checking in that, “Okay, what am I grateful for? What’s the positive of that?” We can all have terrible days in business, can’t we? Those days when you think; “I’m glad that one’s over. Can I open the Chardonnay?”
However, I always look for, what’s the positive? Friends always laugh at me. They call me Pollyanna For those of you that don’t know, there is a book written in 1913 by Eleanor Porter; it’s a classic. Pollyanna always looked on the bright side of life.
A positive outlook works wonders for our energy and alignment.
I hope you find these ideas useful; you will if you act on them
Take action. If you are wondering how to get more ‘done’ with your marketing then get in touch. Call us on 01539 898 698.