This post isn’t just about multitasking to cram more into your day. It’s about leveraging your resources to get more of what you WANT done. Being able to prioritize and maximize your productivity and efficiency so that you can get the result you desire (whatever they may be). These are tips I’ve pulled from how I work and I hope they might be of benefit to you as well!
Know Your Priorities – For me, watching TV at night is not a priority. I’ll watch a show here and there with my wife but mostly, after the kids are asleep and my wife is watching her shows… I use that time to get caught up on reading or writing. Imagine what you could accomplish if you gave up TV even just a few nights a week and worked on that ___ that you’ve always dreamed about. Or what if you turned off the TV, went to bed earlier, got up earlier and hit the gym or took a walk around the block? You could reach your goal much sooner than you think.
Focus – You know what kills ideas? Having too many of them and trying to chase them all at once. Ideas themselves aren’t bad but trying to implement too many of them at the same time can be (I know, I used to do it myself). You must focus on whatever it is you want most. That’s the only way you’ll give it enough attention to make it happen. I now keep an “Idea Folder” where I write down ideas as they come to me. I then look at that list regularly and prioritize based on what is a “good idea” versus what is a “great idea”… then I pursue accordingly.
Eliminate Distractions – This could fall in the focus category but it’s important enough to be on its own. We live in a world where it’s easy to fall into the trap of being reactive versus proactive, always responding to instead of creating. This is why, if you are going to do anything purposeful, you must learn how to eliminate distractions. If the phone is constantly disrupting you, turn the ringer off for a bit while you’re head down in a project… you don’t have to answer it… that’s what voice mail is for. If people keep stopping by your office and interrupting, go off-site or post a sign on your door that says “Please do not disturb unless it’s urgent as I am working hard to focus on the task at hand.”
Stop Talking, Start Doing – This may sound overly simplistic and maybe it is but one of the best ways to get more done is simply to start doing. Don’t over think it to the point of paralysis. Don’t get stuck waiting on perfection (because it’s a myth anyways). Just start. It doesn’t need to be glamorous because hard work often never is. It just needs to be effective. One foot in front of the other and sooner or later you’re walking.
Delegate – This is one of the areas I’m working to be better at myself. I like control but I’ve learned, or been forced to learn, over time that I can’t create something bigger than me by doing it solely through me. We need the help of others and we must be willing to let go and let them do it. Sure, someone else might not do it the same way but it’s the end result that matters. Delegation amplifies your ability to do and is a powerful weapon in doing more. And, by the way, for all you small biz people or entrepreneurs who don’t think you can afford to pay someone to delegate too… that type of thinking will sink your ship. You can find some to help if you look. Volunteers, interns, family, friends… there is someone there who you can delegate to if you choose to recruit them and ask them to do it. Of course, if you can pay someone then that’s even better as it create more accountability but pay, or lack thereof is not an excuse not to delegate.