January 6, 2016
There may be TONS of other productivity tips out there in the web, however, what I am going to share with you are the things that have drastically impacted me personally. These are the tips that enabled me to cut down one-third of my working hours without my output getting trimmed down – three important productivity tips from CEOs that will keep you from getting distracted.
Your back hurts. Your eyes sore. And you feel mentally and physically drained for having burned the midnight candle these past few days. As you lie on your bed thinking about the things that you’ve accomplished during the hellish hours that you’ve worked, however, you realize something disturbing: you weren’t able to accomplish anything substantial. And despite how “busy” you seemingly were, you weren’t able to complete the tasks that mattered the most. You think to yourself, “I was in front of my computer during those hours, was I not? What on earth have I been doing during those times?”
It’s baffling, I know. You’re not alone. A good number of professionals (entrepreneurs or employees alike) are on the same boat as you; I’ve been there too.
Sadly, if you haven’t installed any kind of extension to your browser that would track the pages that you have been to (and how long you’ve stayed on those pages) the chances are good that you’ll never really know what caused you to be distracted. (Spoiler: Social media sites and your email are probably on the top 5 list of what caused you to be distracted. Just saying.).
1. Focus on One Thing at a Time
“Pick one thing and do that one thing—and only that one thing—better than anyone else ever could.” – Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab.com
What I like the most about Jason’s tip is that I don’t have to switch from one state of mind to the other.
For example, if I am writing, I can write the heck out of the piece that I am working on. Switching my mind from its “writing mode”, to “chatting with someone at Skype mode”, can really cause my creative juice to halt, making it exceedingly challenging for me to continue writing.
When I get back to my write-up after having chatted with someone on Skype, I usually find myself losing all the free-flowing ideas that I once had while I was writing.
Switching from one task to another can cut whatever momentum and focus that you once had, which ultimately slows down the pace of how fast you get things done.
2. Increase the Amount of Time You Spend Thinking
“I try to think a lot and try to increase the amount of time I spend thinking about things versus on the phone or in a meeting… I see people working a lot, and I say what’s your time spent thinking versus working?” – Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot.com
What I like the most out of this productivity tip is that it helps me put things in proper perspective first, allowing me to prioritize my tasks as effectively as I can.
The idea here is we shouldn’t be so gung ho about completing one random task to the other. We are to give ourselves ample amount of time to think about the tasks that we have at hand (or even our business as a whole), then try to see things in a holistic perspective so we’ll have a solid (let alone strategic) plan of attack on whatever we are trying to accomplish. This tip will be of tremendous help in terms of us working smarter, and not just harder.
The best part about this is you can do your thinking on different times of the day. You don’t have to be in the office, or to be in front of your team. You can be alone thinking while fixing yourself a sandwich, you can be in a coffee shop sipping your favorite coffee, or you can be out fishing. It is usually during these times when you’ll come up with ideas so awesome, that it can impact your business (or your life) positively in a drastic way.
My only tip is that you bring along with you a small notepad. And no, I’m not talking about your smartphone or your laptop – just a small notepad will do. Something that’s the same size as your pocket so you can bring it with you no matter where you are. Once you’ll have one of those “Aha!” ideas, be sure to take note of the it immediately. The more you delay writing them, the higher the chances you’ll forget ‘em.
3. Add a Theme to Your Days
“Give Your Days a Theme” – CEO of both Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey
Pretty interesting tip, huh?
Instead of doing marketing, writing a content for your business blog, and coming up with a new strategy to optimize your sales process all in the same day, why not separate these tasks on different days? You can prioritize marketing on Monday, create content for your business blog on Tuesday, and focus on your sales process on Wednesday (and so on).
This strategy makes your day-to-day tasks laser focused that it becomes almost impossible for anyone that’s using it not to get “in the zone.”
When sorting out your day to day themes, don’t forget to have your reflection/assessment themed day. The reflection-themed day is important because it tells you whether or not the systems you implemented in your business process are working (or not). It gives you a bird’s eye view of your business process as a whole, which will then enable you to see which parts of your business needs to be optimized, and which ones should be left alone. It reveals to you which areas you are succeeding, and which areas are experiencing the exact opposite.
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