It almost goes without saying that this is a trait which all successful business people possess, whether they are working in the online or offline world.
However, getting things done and being productive is easier said than done! We all suffer from motivational problems, poor time management and occasionally watching amusing YouTube clips when we are supposed to be working (or is that just me?!).
If this sounds familiar then you’re not alone. In fact, you are in very good company because many successful business people have admitted to suffering exactly as you and I do.
However, help is at hand because being productive is a skill, and a skill that you can learn…
There are literally dozens of specific techniques for improving your day-to-day productivity. However, in this post I would like to share with you just 3 of them.
These are the ones that I have found most effective myself in improving my focus, motivation and overall productivity.
1. Eliminate Online Distractions
There are lots of amazing advantages to starting and growing an online business: low start up costs, vast earning potential and of course, my pet favourite, freedom of lifestyle. However, as with all good things, there are some drawbacks.
One of these are all the potential distractions. I’m talking here about Email, Facebook, Twitter, incoming Skype calls, and so on. Notice I said potential distractions as there is a rather straightforward method for eliminating these problems:
Turn these services OFF!
Or at least turn them off whilst you are focusing on a specific task in hand, such as tweaking your blog, creating a web opt-in form or writing a blog post (before you ask, yes, I have mine turned off as I type this post!).
I believe a great approach is to actually limit your usage of all these potential distractions to around 2-3 times per day. This is an idea I picked up from Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week. This can be tough though and I certainly find that it’s pretty hard to resist the temptation sometimes.
Nevertheless, merely trying your best to do this can lead to a dramatic boost in your productivity. This is exactly what has happened to me!
2. Goal Setting
It is crucial to not only set goals for yourself but to make them specific and realistic. To illustrate this point, here are some examples of a bad goal and a good goal:
Bad Goal: I want to get as much traffic as I can to my new niche website on fly fishing.
Good Goal: In 12 weeks time, I want to get 100 visitors per day to my new niche website on fly fishing.
The second goal is “good” because it is:
Specific: You have defined the number of visitors to your website as a specific target for your goal. So you can accurately measure your ongoing progress against this.
Realistic: You have worked out that it should be entirely possible to achieve 100 visitors per day by working consistently for the next 3 months on – for example – link building to improve the search engine rankings for your niche site.
I find a great way of determining whether a goal is realistic is to work backwards from that goal and figure out how much work I will need to put in on a daily basis to achieve it. In doing this I have sometimes found that I need to adjust the specific target of the goal downwards to a more attainable level.
In summary, do set ambitious goals for yourself but check and double-check that you haven’t created a goal that is simply unattainable.
This is really important because an unattainable goal leads to failure to achieve it, disappointment and ultimately a big negative effect on your motivation (and therefore your business).
Now here’s the important bit…
Each and every morning, before starting work, I read through the list of tasks and decide which one will have the biggest positive impact on achieving my goals.
Then I shut down all online distractions (as described above) and simply do that task!
Once it is done, I then go back to TODO.txt, update the list and choose the next most important task.
I have found this method to be extremely effective for me. If you’re not using this little work “hack” already then try it out today because I’m sure you’ll see some great improvements too.
It is interesting to note that before I started to do this I found that the task that I would pick to do next was often the easiest task on the list. More worryingly, I would repeatedly put off the harder (and probably more important) jobs. Needless to say, this is not good for business and it is no accident that I began to see much better results and outcomes after implementing this prioritisation trick.
As I mentioned previously there are many more techniques out there to boost motivation and productivity. But to be honest with you these 3 tips are pretty much all that I use. If I find any more useful ones I will definitely let you know 🙂
So go and try these out today, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!
Have you got any extra tips for getting things done? Did you enjoy this post? Leave a quick comment below and let me know…