Three quarters of 2017 has passed. So now is a good time to take stock of how the year is going.
Are you on track to hit your goals?
If you are – great!
Keep up the good work.
If not, then don’t worry, you still have time to hit those goals.
To help you do this I have outlined some ways for you to increase your personal productivity.
How you use them is up to you.
You can cherry-pick your favorites.
You can try one every day. Just don't worry that you won't have time--when you're more productive, you actually, create time ☺
Let’s dive in!
1. Decide to create systems, not goals. Commit to a process, not a goal. Don't just set a goal of creating better client relationships; commit to calling at least two a day to ask how you can better serve them. Commit to a process that leads to a goal, and you're much more likely to achieve that goal. Focus on what you will do, not on what you hope will happen.
2. Stop blaming others. People make mistakes. Staff don't meet your expectations. So you blame them for your problems. But you're also to blame. Maybe you didn't provide enough training. Maybe you asked too much, too soon. Taking responsibility when things go wrong instead of blaming others is empowering.
3. Only touch things once. How often do you read an email, and then close it and leave it in your inbox to deal with later? Highly successful people try to "touch it once." If it takes less than five or 10 minutes to complete a task, deal with it immediately.
4. Turn off alerts. Your phone buzzes. Your email dings. Chat windows pop up. Every alert sucks away your attention. Turn them off! Go alert-free, and once every hour or so take a few minutes to see what you might have missed. Chances are you'll find out you missed nothing, but in the meantime you will have been much more focused.
5. Fire one customer. You know the one: the high maintenance, low revenue, non-commitment one. Start charging more or providing less. If that's not possible, fire them!
6. Cut one expense. Right now, you're spending money on something you don't use, don't need, or don't want. But since you buy it, you feel you have to use it. Often the biggest savings in cutting an expense isn't the actual cost; it's the time involved in doing or maintaining or consuming whatever the expense represents. Pick one expense you can eliminate that will also free up time and effort: Your bottom line and your workday will thank you for it.
7. Add times to your to-do list. Create to-do lists and don't assign times to each task and what happens? You always have more items on your to-do list than you can accomplish, and that also turns it into a wishlist, not a to-do list. If you have six hours of client sessions scheduled today and eight hours worth of tasks, then those tasks won't get done.
8. Cancel a meeting. Meetings are notorious time killers. They start late, have the wrong people in them, meander from topic to topic, and always run long. Get out of meetings whenever you can, hold fewer of them, and if you do run a meeting, keep it short.
9. Default to 30-minute meetings. Whoever invented the one-hour meeting default wasted millions of people-hours. Most subjects can be handled in 30 minutes. Only schedule an hour if you absolutely know you'll need it.
10. Stop controlling. Yes, you're the boss. But the only thing you really control is you. If you find yourself trying hard to control other people, you've decided that you, your goals, your dreams, or even just your opinions are more important than theirs. Allow them to grow.
11. Eliminate one stupid thing. Every business has a number of once meaningful but now worthless tasks. Think about all the "that's how we've always done things" stuff. If a task doesn't directly impact sales, quality, productivity, or safety, get rid of it and free up that time.
12. Eliminate every "ego" commitment. We all do things that have more to do with ego than results. Maybe you serve on a committee because you like how it looks on your CV. Anything you do solely for ego is a waste of time. Think about things you do mainly because they make you look important, smart, or cool. If it provides no other "value," drop it.
13. Outsource the right tasks. I was raised to think that any job I could do myself was a job I should do myself. Here's an even better approach: Write down the two or three things you do that generate the most tangible return. Maybe it's selling. Maybe it's developing your employees. Maybe it's building long-term client relationships. Figure out the two or three things that you do best, and that generate the best return on your time. Then strip away all the other "stuff" by outsourcing those tasks. (Or, oftentimes, by simply eliminating those tasks.)
14. Fix what you often break. You probably have at least one thing you tend to mess up. Maybe you don't record your client sessions properly. Maybe you put off looking at your numbers. Whatever your "things" are, fix them. You'll save time and aggravation.
15. Do the opposite of what you normally do. If you haven't reached a goal, then what you're currently doing isn't working. Instead of tweaking your approach, change it. Pick one goal you're struggling to achieve and take a different tack. Sometimes small adjustments eventually pay off, but occasionally you just need to blow things up and start over.
16. Teach another person something you want to do better. When you mentor another person, you accomplish more than just helping someone else. You learn a few things about yourself--and hopefully find new inspiration and motivation in the process.
17. Ignore your emails. Ultra-productive people don't check email throughout the day. They don't respond to each vibration or ding to see who has intruded their inbox. Instead, like everything else, they schedule time to process their email quickly and efficiently.
18. Do one thing you've been afraid to do. We're all afraid: of what might or might not happen, of what we can't change, of what we won't be able to do, or of how other people might perceive us. So it's easier to hesitate, to wait for the right moment, to decide we need to think a little longer or do some more research or explore a few more alternatives.
Meanwhile days, weeks, months, and even years pass us by. And so do our dreams. Don't let your fears hold you back. Whatever you've been planning, whatever you've imagined, whatever you've dreamed of, get started on it today.
Put your fears aside and get started.
Otherwise, today is gone.
Once tomorrow comes, today is lost forever. Today is the most precious asset you own--and is the one thing you should truly fear wasting.
Andrew Wallis is a business consultant whose primary focus is helping fitness business owners see the wood for the trees. He is LifeStyle180’s marketing expert specialising in building, creating and integrating solid marketing strategies and tactics into his client businesses. He loves to stick his head under the bonnet of their business to make sure it runs efficiently and effectively. Prior to running his own PT business in the UK and Australia, he spent 20 years in the offshore finance industry managing property and investment portfolios of the rich and famous. When he’s not at work, he enjoys traveling the globe.