Owning and running and business can be overwhelming, but with good productivity habits you can get more done in less time, helping your business to grow more quickly. Here are three habits of highly successful business owners:
Let’s take a closer look at each one…
One of the keys to success is to make it a habit to plan your daily to-do lists in advance (such as on Sunday evenings to prepare for the work week). Here are the steps:
Review your overall business goals. Your to-do lists shouldn’t be random. Instead, they should be based directly on your business goals. For example, if one of your goals is to increase your list by 25%, then you’d create a plan for doing this and build your to-do lists around achieving this goal.
Prioritize the business goals you want to achieve in the next few weeks. You probably have several goals you want to achieve, such as grow your list, get more traffic, create a product, etc. You need to prioritize your goals so that you can build to-do lists around the goals that are most important to you.
SIDE NOTE: Be sure your goals are measurable and specific. For example, don’t just say you want to “get more traffic to my website.” Instead, be specific about how much traffic you want to get and by what date you want to achieve the goal.
Create a list of tasks you need to complete in order to achieve these goals. Once you know which goals are most important, then you need to list all the tasks you need to do to achieve those goals.
For example, let’s suppose one of your top goals is to start building a list. The tasks involved in this goal include:
- Doing market research to see what people in your niche want.
- Creating a lead magnet based on this market research.
- Inserting an in-demand backend offer inside the lead magnet.
- Getting a reputable autoresponder.
- Creating a compelling lead page.
- Writing and uploading an initial autoresponder series.
- Testing your lead page and emails.
- Sending traffic to your lead page.
Break down each task into bite-size tasks (so that they’re not overwhelming). Some of the tasks on your list may be activities that take days or weeks to complete. You’ll want to break these big tasks into smaller tasks. Not only is this less overwhelming, but there’s also a sense of accomplishment when you cross an item off your list.
For example, a big task might be to “set up a website.” You can break this down into smaller tasks such as:
- Get a domain.
- Secure webhosting.
- Change the domain nameservers to point to the new host.
- Download the WP files at WordPress.org.
…And so on. Rather than a big task that may take one or more days to complete, you now have mini-steps that take as little as a few minutes.
Estimate how long it will take you to complete each step. If you’re not sure how long something will take, be generous with your estimate. It’s better to over-estimate the time than under-estimate.
Create your daily to-do lists based on these goals, tasks and related steps. Now that you know exactly what you want to accomplish, you have a plan for doing so, and you’ve estimated the time it takes to complete these steps, you can create your daily to-do lists. You can use a mobile app or traditional pen and paper, whatever works best for you.
Now the next habit of successful people…
The second habit of highly successful people is to prepare a workspace that lends itself to good productivity. Review these ideas:
Set aside specific blocks on your calendar that are designated work time. That way, you won’t schedule appointments or anything else over these daily blocks of time. Take note that these blocks of time should be treated as seriously as anything else on your calendar (like doctor’s appointments).
Get rid of physical distractions by turning off the TV, your phone, and other similar devices. Better yet, make it difficult to turn them back on. For example, put your phone in a room across the house. That way, you won’t mindlessly pick up your phone and start scrolling, as you’ll need to make a conscious effort to get up and get your phone.
Get rid of online distractions. You may use an app such as GetColdTurkey.com to avoid social media and other distractions. If these sorts of distractions still prove to be too much for you, then whenever possible you may simply disconnect yourself from the internet while you’re working.
Ask friends and family not to interrupt you during your work time (if you work from home). Ask them to treat your work time just the same as if you left for work, in which case they should only interrupt you if absolutely necessary. If you have children, you may need to ask your partner to watch the children during specific times (and return the favor later so that your partner can do what he or she loves too).
Create a comfortable workspace that you love. If you enjoy being at your desk, then you’ll find it easier to stay there and get your work done. This means you may do things like decorate your work space with things you love, such as pictures of your family.
NOTE: While it may seem like a relatively small issue, keep in mind that creating a comfortable workspace also means being sure the physical environment – such as the temperature – is comfortable for you. If you’re working in a room that’s too hot or too cold, your productivity is going to suffer. So, be sure the room is as comfortable as possible in all ways so you can focus on your work.
Here’s the next habit of highly successful people…
The third habit of successful people is to use the following steps and ideas for producing high-quality work in less time:
Do productivity “sprints” when you feel like you’re lagging. Set a timer for 20 minutes and challenge yourself to see how much you can accomplish during that time. Don’t worry about quality during the exercise – the point is to get as much done as possible. You can then go back and edit your work later to make it higher quality.
Get an accountability partner to help keep you focused and on track. Be sure this is someone who will call you out if you fail to complete your day’s to-do list.
How often you touch base with your accountability partner depends on how much you need to do and how much motivation you need to get it done. You may be fine with touching base once per week. Or you may want to touch base daily. Either way, the point is to tell your partner your goals for that time period (such as one week), and then touch base at the end of the week to report on your progress.
This works because if you don’t get your to-do list done, you’re going to be embarrassed telling your partner that. You also don’t want to lie to the person.
Delegate and outsource low-value tasks in order to free up your time to focus on high-value tasks. If you’re outsourcing, consider this an investment. That’s because a skilled professional likely can complete a task faster and better than you. In turn, this frees up your time to focus on high-value tasks that you’re good at.
For example, maybe you’re not much of a writer. Perhaps it takes you a long time to create even a simple piece like a blog post, and the end result doesn’t read nearly as smoothly as you’d like. Maybe you’ve even noticed that your content doesn’t get the engagement and results you’re seeking.
The solution: hire a skilled freelance writer to do your blogging for you. You’ll get better results (which means more money in your pocket), which makes it a great investment. But the big thing is that it frees up your time to focus on other ways to grow your business.
Gather your resources and materials ahead of time. You may set aside time at the end of each day to prepare for tomorrow’s tasks. That way, you can jump right in the next day.
For example, if you need to make phone calls tomorrow, then gather all your phone numbers tonight. In the morning you can jump right into calling people (rather than rummaging around looking for numbers).
Produce quantity first and worry about quality later during the editing phase. This applies whether you’re doing productivity sprints or not. In all cases, get the first draft done, and then later edit it.
For example, if you’re creating a blog post, then write first and edit later. This helps open up your creativity (as you’re not second-guessing and editing yourself as you go). It also makes the whole process go faster. That’s because writing and editing are two different tasks, so it goes faster if you focus on just one of those things at a time.
Developing good work habits and routines will help you stay on track with your business goals and start enjoying more success!