7 Productivity Tips to Accomplish More in Your Blog and Online Business
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Productivity tips we’ve all read and heard plenty of them, right?
If you’re like me, maybe you’ve even spent countless hours combing the web for the best productivity tips only to realize that two hours have passed and you’re still at square one. Seems a bit counter-intuitive.
Why, in a world where we have more resources and strategies to accomplish what we want, do we still feel just as busy if not busier than we did a few years ago?
When I ask myself this question, the first thing that comes to mind is good ole work. But, unfortunately, within the United States, there’s almost an obsession with both working and being busy all the time. And, with a culture that awards busyness rather than productivity, it’s hard not to fall into the trap of patting ourselves on the back for being busy, spending endless amounts of time on tasks that don’t count for anything in the end.
All of this is even more important if you’re a solopreneur, blogger, or online business owner. Your time is the most valuable thing you have, which is why you must use it wisely and protect it from the all too common “busy” work.
How Did We Get So Busy?
Now, let me take a step back and say that I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of running around like a maniac, scurrying to and fro with to-do’s that could easily take up the next 5 years then some.
This brings me to the point of this article. As a solopreneur, being productive is one of the best strategies for improving your business success, achieving more personally and professionally, and just feeling better.
And, who doesn’t want to feel good after accomplishing a day’s worth of work?
So, to help you accomplish more in your business, we’ll be exploring some practical productivity strategies to get more done and feel better about what you’re doing and have more time for you to bask in the beauty bounties of life and avoid feeling burned out.
Busy vs. Productive
We live in a society where being busy is often rewarded. This is especially true within the corporate environment where we sit through endless meetings that could’ve been emails, all because spending 8-9-10 hours at work equates to being productive.
Rather than measuring the actual goals met, there’s more emphasis on the time employees spend at work.
It’s almost comical that we spend more time trying to look busy than we do working, all because the average American job is based on a 40-hour workweek. When I worked in-office, I always found ways to do my job in about 1/3 of the time, which left a whole lotta time for me to look busy.
According to multiple studies completed over the last decade, the average human being is productive about 3 hours a day! A whopping three hours! That means the rest of the time is spent being busy.
So, what's the difference between being busy and being productive?
Being productive requires your full attention. Think of quality over quantity. In addition, productivity is often linked to a singular focus on a particular task or goal. For example, being hyper-focused on reaching a goal or achieving a specific result.
Being busy, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. Busyness is easily recognizable. Think about being pulled in five different directions in your job. Between the meetings, constant email, multiple priorities, and interruptions, you rarely accomplish much. Instead, you spend your time operating in chaos and sometimes even persuading yourself that you’re doing a good job balancing all your responsibilities.
For more differences between the two, check out this article.
So with a better understanding of the difference between productivity and busyness, let’s look at some ways to boost your output so you can achieve more with your online business and blog.
Drum roll, please….7 Top Tips to Boost your Productivity
Productivity Tips to Help You Do More
A To-Do List is Essential
Who doesn’t love ye old to-do list?
The simple joy of marking something off a to-do list, there’s nothing like it!
But,, these precious lists can spiral out of control pretty quickly. We’ve all had them before. To-do lists that continually grow from 3 or 4 things to 10, 20, and maybe more! And, while the never-ending to-do list is a little overwhelming for those of us who feel we absolutely must complete everything on the list, it does have a necessary place when it comes to productivity.
A to-do list provides us with a visual and blueprint of what we hold most important to us. In some ways, it is a simple organizational tool that adds structure to an otherwise chaotic day. Que herding cats….
A to-do list, however, comes with a few stipulations, which I talk about below.
Establish Your Priority (ies)
I noticed that my own to-do list only every seemed to grow with items. For every item I completed, I added three more. So, I decided to monitor how much I was actually accomplishing each day.
Throughout the week, I rarely completed more than three of the tasks on the lists. Keep in mind these three tasks were my most important, and each took a significant amount of time.
I had far more to-do items than I could ever complete. This rocked my world because, in my mind, I was a productivity ninja. So, I got to thinking, if I’m not getting shit done and all this is an act, how can I approach work in a way that will yield some results?
After learning that I rarely completed more than 40% of the items on my to-do list each day, I decided to regroup. Since this seemed to be the norm, I decided to pare my list down to three main items each day.
Rather than take the militant approach, e.g., forcing myself to do this even if it was sucking the life out of me, I wanted to implement a system that would allow me to consistently complete tasks without feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.
In doing so, I not only improved the amount of work I accomplished each day, I saw a drastic improvement in my overall mood and wellbeing. Rather than constantly feeling behind, I was able to keep my pace up and achieve greater balance in my personal and professional life.
This was a game-changer for me. First, pare your to-do list down to three items. Then, I can almost promise you’ll be able to focus better and feel less overwhelmed.
Manage Your Time
We’ve all heard of time management, but what exactly does that mean? For me, it meant pre-planning the amount of time I would spend on each of the tasks on my to-do list.
In my curiosity/research, I came across the name British fella named C Norcote Parkinson. He proposed that a project’s going to take as long as the time allotted to complete. If you have 4 months to pack a house, it’ll probably take 4 months. If you have a day to pack a house, chances are you can pack that shit up and hit the road in a day! Simple as that.
How does that relate to productivity? First, for every task you’ve established as necessary, plan the specific amount of time you will spend on the project. For example, if you need to write 4 pages, maybe you’ll set aside 1.5 hours to write.
With an actual amount of time predetermined before you start the task, you will likely become hypervigilant about the amount of time remaining to complete the job. With the self-imposed deadline looming, you’ll work harder to complete the task in the set amount of time and check off one of your to-do items for the day. This, of course, is a win-win because you’ll feel great about your accomplishment, and you’ll be well on the way to completing all of your to-do list items for the day.
Observe and Write Down How You Spend Your Time
Observe what you’re doing so that you become conscious of habits that are so deeply ingrained you don’t recognize them as actions.
After a couple weeks of observing my behaviors throughout the workday, I compared notes from each day. I found that I had a tendency to get distracted pretty easily. This was a breakthrough for me because every time I got distracted, it, on average, takes around 23-25 minutes to get your brain back on task.
Now take 25 minutes times the number of times you look at email or check your phone, and we’re talking entire hours of your day lost because of simple habits like looking at your phone.
When you’re a business owner or blogger, things come at you fast. It’s easy to get lost in all of the things you need to do, and you may even be telling yourself you don’t have the time to write down your observations. I hear ya, but if not now, when?
Taking time to observe your behaviors and change them to be more focused means you can drive your business to more tremendous success faster! Take the time now and save yourself a lot of wasted effort and energy that you’re likely losing to distractors.
Take a Break Already!
Take a break; the earth will continue to rotate even if you’re MIA for 5 minutes.
So, how often do you need to take a break? About every hour to an hour and a half. Research suggests that a 15-minute break gives our brains some pretty incredible benefits like being able to better focus on the task at hand without feeling overwhelmed, greater creativity, and better physical and emotional health.
So, in my own attempt to be more productive, what better time to give this a shot than when writing an excruciatingly painful chapter of my dissertation. So, I decided to spend an hour writing and then take a 15-minute break, then repeat.
What I found is that I was more engaged and conscious of the task at hand. I was also motivated to finish more quickly, and the motivation of the break kept me going even when I felt less motivated (about 30 minutes in).
After 2 hours of writing, the result was more pages written, less burnout and fatigue, and my happy ass got to enjoy the rest of the day knowing I got something accomplished. #productiveaf
Try it for yourself and bask in the happiness of getting more done and living a happier, more guilt-free life when you know that you’ve already knocked out your to-do’s and deserve the time that you can now enjoy because of it.
Make It a Routine
Long term, it’s crucial to establish these daily habits and turn them into a routine. With a routine, you can seamlessly navigate your day with fewer interruptions. So turn your newly developed habits into long-term behaviors in the form of a routine.
Whether at work or the weekend, having this basic framework in place will help you accomplish more so that you can enjoy your life rather than live in a state of constant chaos.
Bask in Goodness of Your Newly Found Freedom
By implementing these habits and making them a routine, you will not only be less overwhelmed by less important things, but you’ll also get more done and feel better about what you’re doing.
Just like breaks, routines have multiple benefits too. You can check them out here, but the main benefit I want to share is the extra time you’ll have to complete the things you enjoy. With a routine, you expend less energy completing tasks. Therefore, when combined with the other strategies mentioned above, you’ll feel better and have more time to enjoy what matters.
Imagine how great you’d feel spending more time with your friends or family, or being able to travel more, or spend more time enjoying the outdoors? Turning your newly developed habits into a daily routine will help you accomplish more in less time and feel better about the progress you’re making.
Routines don’t prevent you from enjoying life; they allow you to enjoy it more.
The world is a chaotic place filled with more to do than can ever be done. To avoid some of the chaos, become aware of the most practical and valuable productivity tips is always a good idea.
We may or may not make to-do lists. To-do lists make us feel good about the work we’re doing and give us a sense of greater productivity and progress.
Even with lists, we usually don’t get a lot done. Maybe 15-20% on average, though we might get squirrely and accomplish something like 40% some days. Parkinson’s law states that we will use the total amount of available time associated with a task to complete it; thus, we need to determine time limits for everything we’re doing.
So, we’ve covered the good, bad, and ugly- what’s next?
Your Assignment Should You Choose to Accept It
- For the next three days, simply observe your routine. What am I spending my time on? Am I actually accomplishing anything? Are the things I’m doing making a difference in my life?
- WRITE WHAT YOU OBSERVE DOWN EACH DAY!
- Determine a realistic number for your to-do list based on your observations
- Add said tasks to your to-do list
- Prioritize your to-do list and set specific amounts of time to complete each task
- Take a break- ain’t nobody wantin’ to work without occasional breaks
- Turn your newly developed habits into a routine
- Enjoy all of the free time your new habits provide you with
I’d love to hear what behavior or strategy you’re going to work on so that you accomplish more in your business and life? What are you tackling first, and when are you starting? Let me know in the comments below.
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Kiss that unfulfilling 9-5 goodbye!
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