top three productivity tips

So you run your own business and there are always a million and one things to get done, right? You make a list to keep track of it all and keep yourself accountable, but the list is so long. And when you sit down to do these things somehow you’ve gotten stuck on a 20 minute long phone call, had important emails come in that had to be dealt with right now, and gotten up for a new cup of coffee three times. Before you know it it’s lunchtime and maybe one thing is crossed off the list. If you’re lucky.

Productivity. It’s important. After all, most people start a business in order to have flexibility and live the lifestyle they want, not to actually be working 24/7 and always be drowning in pesky tasks. That’s where productivity comes in. After all, sometimes it seems like when someone is busybusybusy all the time they must be really successful and accomplishing so much– but really, maybe you can be accomplishing as much and more but in a much shorter amount of time. Would you rather be that person? The trick is being productive with the time that you are spending on work, so you get everything done in a really efficient way and really maximize your workday.

I’m sure you already know to use a planner to schedule your appointments and day, and even specific tasks. But here I have three favorite productivity tips that go beyond the basic.

1 At the beginning of the day review your overall yearly and monthly goals. Then, with these fresh in your mind, think about the main action steps needed to get there and one thing specifically you can get done today to move one step closer to accomplishing these goals. Actively focusing on the larger goals at the start of the day help motivate you to really get as much done as you possibly can because you really want to reach these goals.

2 Do just one more thing. I find myself often putting off certain things on my list because for some reason I think it’s going to require more work or thought than it actually does. If every time I want to stop for a little while (to break for lunch or check Facebook or any number of random things that make me take a break and get distracted by other things throughout the day) I just make myself pick one more thing from my list to get out of the way first, I end up working my way through it much faster. 9 times out of 10 there is actually something on the list that is a small task that only takes a minute or two but for some reason or another would have stayed on my list for days otherwise. By making myself pick one more thing to get done first, I end up getting more things done each day, and not letting little things that can quickly get crossed off linger for long.

3 Consciously make time to think. A lot of the time when I end up getting distracted at work, or frustrated for not getting enough done in a given timeframe, it’s because I didn’t have a totally clear idea of what exactly I needed to do and how I am going to do it. It’s easy to get bogged down with the brainstorming and thinking things through, and while these are so important to do, if I’m thinking the big thoughts throughout the day it can leave me feeling like I didn’t necessarily accomplish much of the real action steps that will lead me closer to my goals. If, on the other hand, I have had a chance to think through a lot of the nitty gritty prior to the workday (for me my ideal thinking time happens at the gym/on a run, or in the car ie, times when I can’t be doing much else) I can get right into work mode and start accomplishing the things I have already planned out in my mind.

So there you have it. Three of my top productivity tips that go beyond making a to do list and hyping yourself up on coffee! I think it all seems to boil down to intentionality, really. You have to know what you want to do, and really be ready to make it happen. You can make it happen! What are your other favorite productivity tricks?