How do I become more productive?

We’ve all been there, you’ve had a very busy day but got absolutely nothing done.  No matter how many hours you work, the to-do list always gets longer not shorter.  AAARGH!!

One of the questions I get asked by clients is “How do you get through so much work whilst running three growing businesses?”.

For most small business owners, the reality is that you are getting dragged into everything that comes with running a business – the hiring and firing, bookkeeping and accounting, prospecting and proposals etc.  You are spending less time than you would like doing the stuff that puts the fire in your belly.  The activity that you are trained in and you set your business up to do – photography, accounting, contracting, marketing etc.

So you work longer hours to catch up but never do. AAARGH… again!!

The average small business owner spends 60% of their time, or three days a week, on non-value adding tasks that they’d prefer not to be doing.

I was sat with my step-son Corey the other day chatting school and caught a glimpse of his planner.  Facing me was his school timetable.  Each day broken down into a number of lessons with a strict start and finish time.

And there’s your answer!

You see, we are trained in school to segment our activity to give us focus.  We rarely chat marketing in the science lesson and rarely discuss English in PE.  The timetable is designed to get all activities completed in the correct quantity across the week and allow time for breaks and lunch.

Fast forward 10+ years and the very process that was delivering your focus and results in school, has been cast aside and you are spinning too many plates, working on the less important matters and feeling overwhelmed and out of control.

This is the methodology I use to be so productive in my business, and the methodology I teach my clients.

My days are mapped out in a template for certain activities.  Client delivery is on set days and set times.  Marketing and prospecting are in the same diary slot every week.  Calls and meetings have set lengths and very little wiggle room for over-running.  Calls with my team are often done whilst driving to maximise available time.  There are set start and finish times for those things that can imprison you – social media and email inbox activity.  Everything has an agreed time and place.

My diary runs to military precision or school timetable precision.

The best way that you can get more productive in your day and week is to time-block your diary and rigidly stick to it.  Block your days and weeks out with the high priority activity that delivers the results you need and also puts the fire in your belly.  Fit in the other, less important activities either around those or better still, outsource or delegate them to others who are often more skilled, more interested and cost less than you could earn in the time saved.

If you want to see where the time hoovers are in your week, try using my Productivity Tracker to identify what you should be doing more and less of.

Good luck, let me know how you get on.