I am my biggest distraction and I’m usually the one who slows me down when I’m trying to be productive and get things done. Can you relate to this?
With so many things at our disposal today such as the latest and greatest technology devices, social media or the internet, getting things done can be challenging, especially if you’re a busy business owner or entrepreneur.
While some things may be out of our control, there are a lot of things we can control so we can be focused when it’s time to do our highest-value work.
As busy business owners, we want to ensure we get our best work done when it’s time to work. Here are seven simple ways that have helped me stay focused, get out of my own way and finally get things done so I can add value to others and make a difference in a positive way.
- Know your one-two combination. This means you must be clear on the two most important things. First is why you’re doing what you’re doing and second is what your outcome is for doing what you’re doing. Without knowing your why and what, it’s a lot easier to get distracted, lose focus and end up wasting valuable time. Knowing these two things should be clear before we do anything.
- Stop chasing perfection. Perfection is really the enemy of good enough. So often, we avoid releasing a product or hesitate to admit we’ve completed something because we fear what we’ve done isn’t good enough or others may judge or criticise our work. The truth is perfection doesn’t really exist because anything can be made better or done better.
Perfecting is really a process, not an end state. If we’re constantly chasing perfection, we have nothing completed. It’s better to have something done, get feedback from others, then make the necessary adjustments as needed to make it better.
- Avoid the comparison bug. If you stop and think, when was the last time you compared yourself to someone else and came out exactly the same? The chances are, you thought you were either better or worse off than them. In either scenario, all you succeeded in doing is to create separation from the person you were comparing yourself to. If you want to compare yourself to anything or anyone, compare yourself to who you were or where you were.
As an example, I once had a conversation with a previous client of mine who was having challenges with setting up something he wanted to do online. He complained he was getting really frustrated with learning a particular online program and felt he had wasted up to six hours and made no progress. I asked him if he was further ahead now than he was before he had supposedly wasted six hours. He acknowledged he was even if he had only created an account with that online program.
Therefore, rather than getting frustrated and think we should be further ahead because others are, it’s a lot better to compare ourselves to where we were and continue making progress.
- Prioritise your actions. If the things we need to do aren’t prioritised, it’s highly likely we’ll be working on things that may not be the most important things we need to do. Prioritising things will help minimise distractions, allow us to focus on what’s the best use of our time at any given moment. Prioritising can simply be doing just one thing each day that will move a project forward in a big way. Another option can be to create a to-do list.
- Schedule uninterrupted focus time. It’s becoming more and more widely accepted that we’re much more efficient if we work in blocks of focus time and then have short breaks rather than trying to work for a long period without a break.
As an example, I like to work for about 50 minutes, then take a 10-minute break where I will drink water, do some stretches or visit the restroom. Taking that short break allows me to refresh, renew and refocus on what I’m trying to accomplish.
- Take care of yourself. Self-care is so important in getting things done. It means ensuring we have regular breaks, drink plenty of water throughout the day, have regular meals and reduce any build-up of stress where possible. The amount of self-care we have will influence how much we get done and how much more fuel we have left so we can repeat it all again either the next day or whenever we chose to work again.
- Tune into how you are feeling. Our emotions play a huge part in how much motivation or drive we have. If we aren’t feeling good, chances are we’ll be slow, inefficient or unproductive. If we feel good, we’re more likely to do our best work. Therefore, checking in to see how we’re feeling and being able to release any stress or negative emotions is a key step in being able to get things done.
Getting things done really comes down to how we manage ourselves, our environment and our schedule. The key thing to recognise is that it all starts internally.
Our internal mechanism will dictate how we conduct ourselves externally. These simple ideas should help you avoid slowing down and finally get those things done that are important to you.
Question: What is another idea that can help us be more productive and get things done?