We all want to be more productive. Since starting on my journey as a virtual assistant (I prefer Business Productivity Consultant), I’ve learned that processes and procedures can get complicated very fast. Simple is always best. Here’s how to get more done by doing less:
Take a Break
Why did this make it to the top of the list? Well, because most entrepreneurs and small business owners have a hard time doing it. It seems counterproductive but if you’re working under fatigue and overwhelm your productivity drops as outlined here in this article on Lifehacker. Also, have you ever noticed that the answer to that problem you’ve been trying to solve for days usually pops up when your mind is relaxed?
Touch something once
This is particularly helpful in your email inbox. If you know it’s a newsletter you’re not going to read, then just delete it…right now…don’t hesitate. Better yet, unsubscribe to it if you are no longer getting value from it.
Another great piece of advice is to follow David Allen’s ‘2-minute rule’ outlined in his book ‘Getting Things Done’. If you’ve determined that a task is going to take 2 minutes or less, just get it done. It’s not worth taking the time to add it to your to-do-list and come back to it later. If there’s a request for something in your inbox that is going to take time, put it in your schedule or on your to-do-list immediately, remove it from you inbox and forget about it until it comes up in your schedule.
Get everything down on paper
If you are feeling overwhelmed and there are a million thoughts flying around in your head, take 10 minutes and write everything on a piece of paper or in a journal. I mean everything. There shouldn’t be any rhyme or reason or structure. As thoughts come up, write then down. Get them out of your head. You’ll feel sooo much lighter and you’ll have a jumping off point for putting together a plan to make those thoughts become a reality.
I’ve created a FREE brain dump template.GET THE TEMPLATE NOW
Put your phone away
Dedicate a timeframe to a project or task you are working on and put your phone in another room while you’re focused on that task. Check your phone when you are doing number 1 on this list. Make sure you can’t hear it binging and chirping. Turn it to silent if you must. We all know our phones are distracting but could use a reminder now and then.
Schedule everything in your calendar
Like Marie Forleo says ‘If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real’. I even put things like meditation and walking the dog in my calendar…especially these things…as it reminds you that they are priorities too.
Do one task at a time from start to finish
There is no such thing as multitasking in my opinion. I used to list ‘multitasking’ as a skill on my resume. But when you think about it we can’t really do more than one thing at a time.
Assistants and the like may be able to do several tasks in succession in a fast and efficient way but actually doing more than one thing at once is very difficult (aside from walking and talking or driving and listening to music…). Even if you manage to do more than one thing at once, the quality goes down and the errors go up so you’ll end up reworking anyway. This article suggests multitasking may actually damage your brain.
Keep it simple stupid. Cut out the unnecessary and automate what you can.'Cut out the unnecessary and automate what you can.' Click To Tweet
If you have multiple email addresses, have them all forward to one and unsubscribe to 90% of those newsletters that clutter your inbox. With the search function in most email platforms now, you even need fewer folders. If you have 2 maybe 3 phones, cut it down to one, if you have 37 reminders and notifications coming up daily on your phone get rid of the ones that aren’t imperative.
The more things around to think about and manage, the more you are going to become overwhelmed and ignore everything. Plus it takes up extra time.
If you need a great resource to help you keep things simple in your business, check out ‘Rework’.
Plan your next day the night before
If you make a solid plan and picture how you want your day to go, it will flow much more efficiently. You’ll also sleep better.
Forget about motivation
It’s amazing what you can do once you discover you don’t need motivation to do it. This hadn’t occurred to me until recently. ‘Losers wait for motivation. Winners just get shit done’. Marie Forleo
Know when to outsource
Can someone do it faster and better? Even if it seems expensive it will most likely save money in the long run. It will definitely save you time and your sanity. I wrote more about it in my first blog post here.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope if you implement even a few of these tips, that you can get more done by doing less.
If you have any other productivity tips or if any of the tips I’ve mentioned have impacted you one way or another, please share in the comments below. I’m always looking for more efficient ways to help my clients.
P.S. If you’re really serious about learning how to get more done by doing less, sign up for my FREE eCourse How to Get More Done by Doing Less