When you think of being productive, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many entrepreneurs it’s some sort of marketing activity for others it’s simply getting a little bit more done than they did yesterday. The reality is, many entrepreneurs don’t have a clear definition of what being productive really looks like and that is because they don’t truly understand what it means.
They spend so much time on social media, having analysis paralysis or being an indecisive executor that they never focus on producing the one thing needed to stay in business; money. (Sound familiar?) Let’s dig deep into why your business productivity sucks and 3 core ways to fix it. BONUS - Will also identify the top 3 time vampires you should avoid.
“Productivity is defined as the state or quality of producing something.”
Here is the truth; If you are not achieving some kind of results tied to a goal then you are not being productive. So many people spend an entire day "working" and at the end of it all can't recall exactly what they accomplished. This is what I like to call "The Abyss". This never ending hole convinces people that they are actually doing something meaningful for their business when in reality they have spent all day turning circles. Symptoms of being caught in The Abyss include:
HOW TO ESCAPE THE ABYSS
By now you are probably beating yourself up as you have identified where you fit in one of those categories. Don’t worry, every entrepreneur has been down one of these roads. While these problem(s) look concerning, they can be fixed.
Set goals tied to a deadline
A goal means nothing without a deadline. Create a sense of urgency for yourself to take action that gets you to your goals.
The Socialite: Spending all day on social media with no rhyme or reason
TIME VAMPIRE ALERT: Because of the real time connections on social media, it’s easy to spend all day on it without doing much else
The Perfectionist: Can't execute any projects because you obsess over every detail
TIME VAMPIRE ALERT: More time is wasted on trying to perfect something than executing anything. Mistakes are ok!
The Serial Goal Setter: Sets tons of goals because they sound good but has no idea on how to carry them out
Indecisive executor: Tries every tactic, platform and business model without rhyme or reason (think shiny ball syndrome)
TIME VAMPIRE ALERT: Never being clear about what you want to do and finding a new problem before you fix the old one is indecisiveness at its finest
The Intense Thinker - Spends all day thinking of every possibility and variable and never executes
Set core goal – What you aim to accomplish at the end (i.e. I want to get 5,000 subscribers on my email list)
Set a timeline – Your end goal means nothing without setting a deadline. Think of it like paying a bill that you need. Set a sense of urgency
Set what actions you need to take – Make a list of what actions you need to take to accomplish this goal. Each action should be tied back to your goal.
Set the frequency for each action – Decide how often you need to execute this action in order to achieve this goal.
Set a timer
Set a time for each activity that you need to accomplish and don't go past that allotted time. Once it buzzes, move onto the next thing. Think of this like your own little accountability manager. While frustrating in the beginning, it will help you stay focused on the most important things.
Write it all down
Ideas float around in your head all day long (this is probably how you got into The Abyss). Write down every goal, every action and how you plan to accomplish it. It will help you stay focused.
Explain your actions in detail
Each action should be themed around your goal and should easily be tied back to it.
Your daily checklist should only come from ACTIONS tied to your GOAL
• Write out what needs to be done everyday
• If it is not on the list, DON’T DO IT
• Make sure every checklist item ties back to the bigger picture (GOAL)
If you want to increase your productivity, make a decision, write it down and start executing. It will help reduce time leaks and advance you towards your goals more effectively.
Yunche Wilson is a Performance Strategist with over a decade of experience that has been featured in CNN, USA Today, PR Daily, FOX and ABC for her expertise. She focuses on buying, fixing and selling companies as well as helping businesses find their venerabilities and bring in the proper resources to mitigate risks.