As an entrepreneur, you probably have a longer to-do list than most people who have straight 9-5’s. If you’re also a parent, you could probably have a to-do list long enough to wallpaper your kitchen. In this age of social networking and over-scheduling, it’s hard to complete one task efficiently, let alone get it all done.
If you’re feeling a little less productive these days, don’t worry— it’s not a character flaw. You just need a great strategy to improve productivity. Here are four simple steps you can implement today that will have you blowing through that list in no time:
1. Turn Off Everything— Could a lack of productivity have something to do with all of the gadgets that are supposed to make life, well, more productive? Abso-friggin-lutely! Your PDA, your cell, your hands-free headset, they’re “gateway gear”— gateways to distraction.
So instead of suiting up before work, stow it all away and turn everything off. Unplug your wireless router and your landline, turn off your cell and put up a sign on your door that says, “Don’t enter unless someone died. And, even then, think long and hard about interrupting me.”
2. Capture the Genius— Besides outside distractions such as incoming calls, emails and other demands from people, the biggest threat to your productivity is having a thought and then trying to remember it.
We often get great ideas when we’re performing other unrelated tasks. So have a capture pad at the ready to record all of your brilliant musings and random thoughts. Using this simple inexpensive method, you’ll be able to let the thought go and get on with your work.
3. Work in Blocks— Completing a time-intensive project is a challenge for the most dedicated entrepreneur, which is why so many of us put off starting. Instead, block off 60 to 120 minutes to work on ONE project. You may not complete it in an hour, but you’ll make a huge dent, and you’ll be pumped and ready to tackle it again in the next block.
4. Commit to Others— Nothing motivates like being accountable to others. You’ll push yourself to finish a project if you have to deliver it to someone at a specific time. For example, if you’ve been putting off cleaning up your office, call a client and ask if they’ll pose with you for a brochure photo… in your office. When you know your client is coming in a few days, you’ll finally clean up that mess.
The same is true for any project. If you just can’t seem to get it done, no matter how many distractions you turn off and how many blocks of time you allocate, promise you’ll deliver it to another person and sure enough you’ll get shit done.
So, what’s on your monster to-do list? It can be done—and it can be done faster. Onward!