clock with man

There’s a mystical magical top secret tactic NO ONE tells you about getting more done.

(I’m not done selling you yet…)

I’m pulling back the curtain, opening up the black book, deconstructing the flibberty gibbet from the gibberty flibbet.

This is a time sensitive offer, I will only tell everyone who comes to the site in the next few days. After that, only everyone will have access to this incredible, change-your-life information.

Are you ready?

Here it is: Stop.

Yes, that’s it, it isn’t a typo.

Why Stop???

One of the biggest mistakes we make as business owners, entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs, freelancers, etc is this… we think we need to do everything. And, because we can’t possibly get everything done, we assume that there’s something wrong with us.

Not so.

The reality is this… you have to stop trying to do everything. More importantly you need to stop worrying about getting everything done.

There are so many things you really shouldn’t be doing, along with a whole bucket of things that don’t really need doing, you could probably add an entire day to your schedule. Really!

There are countless books on being more productive, but the most productive things you can do, the things I found gave me the most balance, are these six tactics. These should help you get started on stopping:

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

So many tasks, so little time.

The thing is, you lose a tremendous amount of time worrying about what isn’t getting done, especially if you are spending cognitive energy trying to figure out how you are going to get it all done. Some things don’t need doing. Some things work themselves out without you.

Learn to give up control of every thing on the list, then find ways to delegate.

2. Stop wasting time.

Create small systems and processes for the items that have to be done regularly to make them more efficient and to make them easier to hand off.

Things like social media can be automated with tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Buffer, and Tweetadder. Create set times for email, 10:am and 3:pm and don’t deal with it outside of those times unless your job is to answer email.

Let people know how you work best by giving time frames for responses, i.e., all email responded to in 24 hours. If you prefer email or texting over phone calls, then tell people the best way to communicate with you.

3. Stop being available live.

Don’t answer the phone live, let it go to voicemail. Don’t answer chat windows immediately, in fact, make sure you show offline or busy on gChat, Skype, or Facebook.

Everything you can do to get people to send you an email or voicemail, will save you countless hours.

I stopped answering the phone live years ago and the act had no adverse affect on my business at all. None. Everyone got used to it. People are adaptable.

4. Prioritize your list, regularly.

I use a method of putting down 3-4 high priority action items on my task list every day. Then, I add in a few medium priority items. No more than 10 items on the list every day. That’s it.

The most important part of having a task list is learning what’s important. What constitutes a high priority task? That part needs to be decided in advance… once.

My high priority items are always related to money, then deadlines, then comfort. Your prioritizing method or list may be different, but you need to have one, it is the only way to get more productive. Money tasks are related to making money, getting money, billing, or invoicing money, etc. Deadlines are related to those things that will have a consequence if missed and the consequence is generally lost business. Finally, comfort, anything that is going to unbalance me needs to be high priority, and that could be just making sure I have dog food.

The most demanding, deadline-oriented items are high priority, after that they go to medium. Everything else is considered low priority and I don’t even think about it until it hits the medium mark; some of those things may resolve without me, long before they get to the medium mark.

Dog food starts out as low, but when I notice I’m running low I add it to the medium priority list. Sometimes I realize I’ve missed the mark and I don’t have enough for the next day, that’s when it hits the high priority list. Get it? Got it!

5. “No” is the magic number.

Ah, if only “No” were a number, it would be infinity. “No” is the single most powerful tool in your arsenal for upping the ante on your productivity.

“No” should be a default answer to everything until further notice. If after a day you find that you should have said “yes”, then you can change your response.

Here’s the thing to remember… when you say “yes” immediately, and then realize later that you can’t or don’t want to, you cause imbalance. You start to feel bad, you start to stew on how you can say “no”, you begin to figure someone is going to be mad or disappointed.

HOWEVER, when you say “no” first, you create an opportunity. You can have more time for something else or you can realize that you really want to do the thing, whatever it is. At that point, you can say “yes” and guess what… you get what you want, no unhappy feelings, no worrying, no stewing. And chances are the other party will be happy you said “yes”.

Much more balanced.

6. Know the end game.

Before you decide what is and isn’t working, before you decide to prioritize, before you stop sweating the small stuff, you must first decide your end game.

What are you trying to achieve? Where are you going? What direction are you taking? What is the most important thing? In order to know which actions to take and which to let go of you need to understand your path.

You need to have well-defined goals and tactics. Without them you are picking and choosing randomly and random won’t get you anyplace fast.

Stop to Start Being More Productive

So stop doing everything and focus on what’s important. Not everything is important so learn to prioritize.

The most important part of this process is letting go. It can be hard to let things drop off your task list. Clearly, there are things that should never drop off but we all know, upon review, that some of those tasks are things that we “wish” we could get to rather than “need” to get to.

So maybe you don’t Stop everything immediately, baby steps, once you realize how effective it can be, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t started stopping sooner!

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MattysFlicks via photopin cc

yolanda
Long-time business owner and entrepreneur, Yolanda brings a unique perspective to building and growing small businesses. Find out more here!
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