The feedback I’ve been getting heading into the New Year is that people want to be more productive. And I’ve been looking back at 2014 and also looking ahead to what I want to accomplish in 2015 and productivity is kind of a theme in what I want to accomplish.
So people are interested in productivity and I wanted to look a little deeper into how to be productive.
The basic idea with productivity is that you want to get more done or do more more things that are more valuable and money-producing in less time so one has more time for pleasurable things.
For me it’s been about getting Ghost Blog Writers running without as much of my involvement. I realize that there are limits to both my time and capabilities. So I had to figure out how to make my time more productive while also making the business more productive.
And I approached this as eliminating some things in order to pick up more time for what really matters in both professional and personal life.
Here are some things you can eliminate this year to become more productive next year.
1. Phone Calls
I’ve naturally done this one over the course of my life. I guess I’m just naturally anti-telephone. It drives some of my friends crazy. I’m bad at returning phone calls. I’m bad at returning texts.
For GBW I like working with email. It seems to get things done effectively. In some cases it’s better than phone at least for GBW. I know I probably leave some business on the table by not really taking phone calls from potential clients, but for me that’s been a red flag that the client might need more than we can provide.
Obviously if you’re in some positions you make your money on the phone, but not all businesses need it. It’s something you can eliminate or cut back on to gain some time. Or maybe you can delegate phone calls so you can work on more valuable things for your business.
2. New Sources
I don’t really watch the news or anything like that. I would say that I have 5 or so main places where I get my news. These are mostly websites that I check each morning. It probably takes me 15-30 minutes to check things. If there are some good articles maybe 45-60 minutes.
But a few years ago I cut out politics and other types of news that I just didn’t have time for. Even if you’re just watching it you’re still investing energy and I just don’t think it’s possible to commit brain energy to all the news out there if you want to focus on more important things in your business.
Identify a few key news sources and cut out the rest. Turn off the TV news. Unsubscribe from online news updates. Unfollow news people on Twitter or whatever you need to do.
3. Repeat Communication
This is one I have learned especially over the last year. So I don’t really talk on the phone and much of what I do right now is done via email. One thing I noticed is that many of the emails I write are repetitive so it’s been my goal to eliminate that repeat communication.
The first thing I try to do is look at the GBW website every 3-6 months and make changes to the content. If I find myself answering the same question over and over with new clients I’ll try to answer that question on the website so those new clients don’t have to ask that question of me – they’ll get the answer before they make first contact about becoming a client.
And if existing clients are asking the same question of me I’ll try to answer that question when I first email with a new inquiry. I don’t want to bombard a new inquiry with information, but if something keeps coming up I like to add that answer in so I can save on emails later.
You can probably do this with email, phone, text or whatever. And you can probably do it with business and personal. If you’re finding yourself saying the same thing over and over look for a way to say it once and eliminate that repetition.
4. Repetitive Tasks
And you can do the same with repetitive tasks. If the tasks are essential then you need to find someone or something else that can handle it. Maybe you can automate some of your emails if it’s the best way to answer questions. Maybe you can find someone that can be part of your team like a virtual assistant that can handle those tasks opening you up to work on something else that’s high on your priority.
That’s a funny thing with business. There are repetitive tasks that need to be done. You can first see if they can be eliminated from your process or system, but if the task needs to stay then it’s good to delegate. Most of the time if it’s repetitive it’s something that someone else can do and in my case someone else can usually do it better.
I’ve been working on that this year and continue to do that going into the next year and it’s freed up a lot of time for different business tasks and for more personal time.
5. Netflix TV Shows
Man…there are so many good shows on Netflix, but there isn’t enough time in the day. I’m making it a point right now to not watch as many this year. I’ve already started doing it. Once I made it through all the episodes of House I realized that it was time to stop. I still have a few that I’ll watch this year like House Of Cars and Longmire, but that will probably be about it.
I don’t think it was cutting into my work time, but I’ve put a higher importance on other personal things that I want to do with my time. There is only so many things you can do and I really like spending time with my wife or golfing. I can get the most out of those if I’m not doing things that aren’t as important like keeping up with shows on Netflix.
Hopefully these have helped as we head into the New Year. I tried to come up with some things that you wouldn’t like see on all the other end of the year posts around the blogosphere. So hopefully it’s been helpful and here is to a very productive New Year in 2015!