“I want to recognize more but…” One of the biggest barriers I hear from clients as to why they can’t recognize daily is that they feel overwhelmed. They are too busy. There is no time.
I get it. Busyness is a huge issue (which is why I did a recent VLOG on strategies to tackle it). There are so many competing priorities, how can one more thing get added to the pile?
However, what if something like recognition wasn’t another thing to do? If your busyness and lack of focus on it were actually stealing your time – think of how much time and effort it takes to hire and retrain when good people leave for greener pastures! What if there were simple strategies for redirecting your time to what matters most?
I have some efficiency tools to share with you that not only save you time, but they also help you to stop doing some of the things you don’t like doing anyway! Curious what they are? Here are six juicy productivity hacks I swear by.
- Leverage technology for efficiency whenever possible
There are several great tools for little to no fee to help with efficiency. A great example is self-scheduling apps like Calendly or group meeting selection tools like Doodle. No more back and forth emails to book a time with busy people; in just a few clicks, you can find the perfect time to meet, and stay out of email jail!
- Tackle the most important thing – first.
My wonderful virtual assistant blocks my schedule every workday I’m home until 9:30. It allows me to ensure I have enough sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, get the kids off to school, tackle one biz project at the start of every day, and then my official biz day starts. Before 9:30, I get part or even all of one important task done (versus feeling that dread all day long, “oh my gosh, what if I don’t get to it?”)
Now, you may be thinking, “Sarah, that wouldn’t work for me because I work for somebody else.”
I get it. However, is there no flexibility in blocking your time? And I don’t mean come in a half hour earlier; haven’t you found this just turns into your new start time after a while? I mean, can you block even one chunk of time at the beginning of your workday once a week to start? Ask any Executive Assistant to the CEO if they block their boss’s time (and the answer is yes, they do); so why can’t you?
- Down with (most) meetings
Do you have to go to all the appointments and meetings in your calendar? In previous leadership roles and with leaders I coach, when selection criteria is introduced (e.g., only attending if there is an agenda, cannot get the information from the minutes, an action is required), it is amazing how few meetings actually make the cut. And if you must go, do you have to physically be present or can you attend virtually? It’s amazing how freeing it is to have gaps in the schedule.
- Annual review
Review, on an annual basis, the things you are doing in your work or business and make a conscious effort to cut out 15% of tasks. If you’re in a team do this together. You will be amazed how many “nice to do” things you’re spending your time on that are actually optional. Every year, when I do my business planning, this is how I evaluate my time. I allow myself to have three core projects a year (which is tough because I love to have a variety of creative projects), and everything else is on hold. Then I look at the tasks that take up most of my time and force myself to cut 15% (either by deciding it’s worthy enough to keep so I’ll outsource it or not worthy enough for anyone to do it so it’s gone).
- Renewed approach to to-do lists
If you’re like me, you like to do lists. And no doubt you have a loooonnngggg one. Here’s an efficiency hack: have three lists versus just one.
- 5-minute or less tasks
- Today tasks
- This week tasks (anything longer than this week isn’t a priority
The genius behind the 5-minute or less list is that when you’re stuck waiting because someone’s late calling you, a videoconference hasn’t started yet, or you get done your task sooner than planned, rather than just hopping on email, social media, or snacking (or worse, wasting that 5 minutes reading over your to dos and still not getting anything done) you can quickly knock something off the list!
- Blocking time
If you have a big project that requires thinking time, focused effort and no distractions, there’s no way I know how to efficiently and effectively do it other than blocking time. It’s not easy, I know. Writing my new book, I blocked the month of July to write. Some days, I’ll admit, I didn’t feel like writing, but I knew come August my time was up so I just kept going anyway. My speaking coaching, Jane Atkinson, blocks her mornings as productivity time. Others I know block one full day a month or week. Amy Porterfield (online marketing guru) goes away for the weekend once a quarter to “fix her business” as she’s growing versus reacting to problems. Whatever your thing is, you need to carve out the time.
Don’t forget to honour blocked time for rest and recharging too. Cutting into that vacation, your weekends and even dinner time with your family will catch up with you. Research shows you’re actually more focused and productive after a rest, so consider it an investment and not negotiable!
Okay, so now you’ve found time every day, you can get back to the important stuff, like spending time out of your office, where the value is created, with your staff. You can have time to learn, mentor someone or be mentored. You have the clarity to notice the extraordinary that happens in people’s ordinary lives and recognize it in the moment. And an infinite number of other important things that aren’t yet a priority for you.
What suggestions do you have to help yourself do a little less and more efficiently? Feel free to comment below! For more tools and resources head on over to www.greatnessmagnified.com or my YouTube Channel and subscribe for weekly updates!