How To Be More Productive
I hope you’re keeping well, warm and dry!
I know that the weather has been pretty nasty in different parts of the world. Here in Britain it’s been cold along with lots of rain, flooding and high winds. Some parts of England and Wales have been hit quite hard. I know that parts of the US have been hit with some severe cold and snow too. So, whatever part of the world you’re reading this from, I hope you’re doing okay!
So then, on to today’s topic – productivity. Specifically, how to be more productive. Of course, this is something that we all want, right? However, it’s something that all too often eludes us, or perhaps we don’t achieve the levels of productivity that we’d like.
So the big question is, how can we be more productive?
I’ll be open and honest with you and confess that this is something I’ve been struggling with. It’s not that I’ve not known what I should be doing, it’s just that I haven’t been doing it well enough! Sure, I’ve been getting along with stuff and have been quite successful with most of what I’ve been doing. But I have to be honest and say that I could and, indeed, should have been doing a heck of a lot more. So I decided that I really need to give myself a kick up the backside and work harder.
Now, I’ll just insert a brief disclaimer here and emphasise that this isn’t a magical solution or something that I claim to be an expert in. As I said above, I’ve been struggling a little with this, so I’m definitely not an expert! But what I’m about to share with you is a technique that’s based on something I learned from Alex Jeffreys that I’ve been implementing for the last couple of days and found to be of benefit already.
Write It Down!
This is one thing that I have actually been doing consistently. Right from the very beginning I’ve always written stuff down, whether it be ideas, tips I’ve picked up from other Marketers, helpful resources, etc. In whatever format it’s been, I’ve always noted things down – on paper, in .txt or .doc files, with browser bookmarks, using Evernote, mindmaps, jotting down something in a temporary text message on my phone and so on.
Keeping a note of things is absolutely vital and if you don’t do it already, you really need to be doing it. I wouldn’t say that there’s a right or wrong way to do it, just so long as you do it somehow. Find a way that works for you and stick with it.
This leads us on to the next point, which is the key aspect that I’ve been strictly implementing…
Have a Plan
Having a plan should form the basis for everything that you do. Without it, it’s like knowing that you want to reach a particular destination but not having a clue as to how you’ll get there or even what direction you’ll head in.
What I’m about to share with you takes this aspect a step further. What it involves is actually spending a few minutes at the end of each day to plan out what you intend to do the following day. Why is this important? Consider the following scenario (and yes, I speak from experience!):
You set your alarm clock for 8:00 A.M. It’s a little cold outside of your comfy, warm bed, so you hit snooze and tell yourself, “Just ten more minutes…” At 10:30 A.M. you decide to roll out of bed.
You wander downstairs, make yourself some breakfast and a hot drink and settle down to watch a bit of TV or listen to the radio. At around 11:15 you figure that it’s about time you switched on your computer. So you do so and first things first, you decide to check your e-mail. Ooo, a new WSO, that sounds interesting…. Off to the Warrior Forum you go….
After buying yet another product that you neither planned to buy, probably didn’t really need and certainly wouldn’t have missed if you hadn’t known anything about it, you decide to check Facebook to see if there’s anything of interest happening in the Internet marketing world. In your newsfeed you’re greeted by an image of the cutest kitten doing something funny, accompanied by a hilarious caption. You know someone who will appreciate that, so you decide that you absolutely have to share it with them. Hmm, thinking of pictures, you haven’t checked your Instagram feed yet…
At 12:15 P.M. you decide that you really should do some work. Okay, what to do? Hmm, is there a course you bought a few months ago that you haven’t gone through yet? There’s probably something that would be really useful. As you wade through the hundreds of plugins, courses, reports, videos and so on that you don’t even remember getting, let alone actually using, you get distracted by a piece of software that you really should try to learn how to use. After all, it could come in handy for when you end up doing that… what was it you were planning to do…? Oh well, you’re sure it’ll come in handy eventually…
After an hour or so of fiddling with the software you get a bit bored and feel that you need a break. So off you go to make a cup of coffee…
When you do finally sit down at your computer again to do some ‘work’ you still aren’t any the wiser as to what you’re actually meant to be doing. Actually, you’re feeling a little hungry. It’ll be time for lunch shortly….
Does this sound familiar? In the above scenario you could well have been ‘working’ for two or three hours without actually doing anything, certainly without doing anything that’s going to directly contribute towards you making any money! This is why it’s important to have a specific plan of action. Plus, writing down your intentions each day and then reviewing them at the end of each day is a great way to hold yourself accountable.
You don’t want to be wasting a full day being a ‘busy fool’, being busy doing lots of things yet accomplishing hardly anything. If you take the time out at the end of each day to plan out your activities for the following day then you’ll know exactly what you’ll be doing, when, for how long and why.
How I’ve Been Doing It
I’ve created a very simple template that contains four columns titled, “Task”, “Time”, “Accomplished” and “Notes”.
- Task – This column is where I write the task that I wish to perform.
- Time – In here I allocate my intended maximum time for the given task. For example, if I know that I have five hours that I can spend working then maybe I’ll schedule one hour to writing a blog post, one hour to blog-hopping, one hour to forum commenting, one hour to product creation and one hour to social media marketing. That’s a lot that can be accomplished in that five hour period, but without the schedule I could easily spend five hours tinkering with this and that, then checking e-mails, then checking Facebook, then getting distracted by something I see on YouTube and so on.
- Accomplished – This is a small column to indicate simply “Yes” or “No”. In other words, did I accomplish my task as planned?
- Notes – This is basically for me to write down anything of relevance to do with the task. So, if I didn’t complete a task or complete it to my satisfaction, I will write the reasons in here and anything that I feel could be of use to avoid my failing to complete it satisfactorily next time. Likewise, if I have completed a task then I can use this area to write down ways in which I could improve or further ideas I could implement
But how do I choose what specifically I am going to be working on? Well, here is where it’s important to prioritise. For example, I may have some training material that will help me in a given area. I also may be in the process of creating a product that I can give away and further build my list. Which of the two is more likely to directly relate to me making money? Yes, the training may end up being profitable, however the product creation and list building is something that I can implement now. So that will be given priority.
So, once I have established which tasks I feel are most important, these are marked with an asterisk (*) and will be tackled first. Anything else that can wait will be left til last and, if there’s time, will be tackled later on. It won’t matter if these things don’t get done on the day.
At the end of the day I go over my sheet and reflect on what I did/didn’t accomplish. If there’s anything I didn’t do then I think about what I can do the following day to ensure that it gets done.
So that’s basically it for now. I’m sure that I can improve upon this technique and I will definitely have to refresh myself as to Alex’s suggestions regarding this approach. But for now, it’s been serving me very well and I’ve certainly been getting more done and been more disciplined.
I hope that this has maybe been a little helpful to you. I’d be very interested to know of any techniques that you have for being more productive, so please feel free to share them in the comments area below.
Until next time,
Glenn “Being More Productive” Shepherd
P.S. Don’t forget to share and ‘Einstein’! 😉
12 thoughts on “How To Be More Productive”
Great ideas Glenn
I have to do more of this myself as I have to much I want to achieve in any one day.
I do tend to get the most important things done, but having a bit of a plan and also a task list is perfect.
I should also note down any ideas I see or have too. I just need to get more of a system in place
thanks for the reminder
Ashley recently posted…Social Media Platforms for Business – Choosing the Right One
I certainly get where you’re coming from. What I’ve found is that when I have a lot that I want to achieve in one day, it’s only when I don’t plan that it seems too much and I often end up getting precious little accomplished. It can be pleasantly surprising to see just how much can be accomplished with a bit of advanced planning and self discipline.
I firmly believe that a system is key for whatever we do. I think that is one of the reasons why so many fail and that if they just had a system to work with they’d get by a lot easier. Of course this isn’t always through any fault of their own and it’s down to whoever is teaching them to provide a good system to follow, but a system really is a key component to success.
Thanks for your comment, Ashley. I hope you’re well and all is going well in your biz. Hope the rest of the week is nice and productive for you. 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…One Thing You Should Know About Joint Ventures
Awesome progress Glenn. You and I are on the same page in our thinking. I too am in the development stage working with multiple programmers. It’s a lot of work and something that you must be consistent with. The biggest thing I’ve experienced so far is knowing exactly what you want and how you want it to serve your audience.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to document how things went with me and shed a little light for others who may be going down the same road. Keep pushing bro. We are getting there.
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I think that’s a great idea. People like case studies so if you’re able to present yourself as a case study then I’m sure it would be a hit.
I have a few things in the pipeline right now. I have to admit I’ve let some things slip a little over the last couple of months or so, but with my resolve to really apply Alex’s teaching and make sure I plan my work days out I’m already getting back up to speed and am certainly more focused.
You were just in time with your comment to be eligible for the competition – I’ll be announcing the winner soon 😉
Have a great week, buddy.
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Seven Silly Mistakes That Could Be Killing Your Blog
Very good points as always mate.
I’ve been using OneNote that’s free with Windows 8 (although I have the Office version as well),to file notes and ideas away.
I also carry a passport size notebook and pen with me all the time, and it’s got lots of ideas, improvements, designs etc, things I refer back to when I’m in implementation mode.
Using task lists, I’ve managed to get efficient, but there is that tendency still to default back to old behaviour, but I’m fighting it. 🙂
the plan is the most important part, the other things fit into the plan to get the required results.
Keep up the great work my friend. 🙂
I think carrying a notebook around like that is a good idea. If not a notebook, then it’s good to have some kind of way to take notes. I know that if I don’t do it then I’ll end up losing what ideas I’ve had because I can’t rely soley on my brain!
That’s a really good point about other things fitting into the plan. You can have all the other things and, I think, often it’s the case that people actually do! But without the plan then it ends up just being a load of overwhelming, confusing clutter.
It’s like having all the components to build a house. They’re all great and all do their job perfectly, but without a blueprint you’re going to struggle to build a house! the blueprint, or plan, has to come first.
Thanks for stopping by, matey. I hope all is well with the new addition to your family 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Make Money Online – Can You Do It?
I’m glad you mentioned using a timer, I think that’s something I forgot to include in my post. I find that actually allotting a specified time and knowing that the timer is counting down is an enormous aid in keeping me focused and on track.
It can be so easy to get distracted and sometimes things just crop up that we don’t have much control over. But if we’re at least in the habit of planning and scheduling properly then it won’t be too difficult to get back on track.
Thanks for the compliment, but the plugin that’s enabled here isn’t mine, although they do actually both do similar things. Mine can be configured a bit more though 😉
Thanks for your visit and comment. Have a great week. 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Ten Must-Visit Bloggers
When I quit work at night I write down 3 tasks that I want to accomplish for the next day.As I finish each task, I put a line through it. I also work with a timer.
Sometimes, I’ll give myself an hour to work on my blog or maybe an hour and 15 minutes for social media.
Some days are better than others. Some days I’m easily distracted.
It’s always a struggle but, I just keep working on it. Love your plug in by the way and good work.
Geri Richmond recently posted…Bewildered By Affiliate Marketing?
Like Sue, I was shocked to see the popup – thought I was on Facebook!
Anyways, how did the development go? (I am planning to develop some plugins in the future; I already have a bunch of ideas. Of course, getting the idea isn’t too hard…implementing it is).
Productivity. I love experimenting with productivity. My schedule is kind of fixed right now, since I am in college, but I do have enough time to experiment around 😀
Right now, I am following the pattern from last year – dividing time up and dedicating to each task – sort of. At least, that was my plan. These days, I just finish (or try to – some tasks can be moved for a later date) each task, and move to the next one.
Writing it down and planning – both are equally important! I would suggest that everyone start doing this, especially writing it down. Our working memory is limited, so holding everything in our brain isn’t a good idea.
Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Glenn 🙂 It was certainly rough here in South US (I really shouldn’t complain. The folks in the north had a tough time. Then again, they are used to snow. We aren’t, not like them).
But, it’s certainly looking better….the sun is back (hopefully it will stay that way!).
Great! As I said to Sue above, that’s exactly the reaction that the plugin is designed to get.
With regards to development, the only things I’ve had to do are the design, branding and marketing. I’d like to get into coding but for now I’m happy to leave that to someone else 😉
Writing things down is a big must. I find that whenever I try to just hold it in my head it eventually gets lost.
I hope it stays sunny for you! This horrible weather is beyond the joke now, I’m almost starting to forget what the sun even looks like! I hope you have a nice, sunny and maybe even warm week! 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…DON’T Try to Succeed at All Costs!
Am I correct in thinking the little pop up that looked like Facebook chat is the one in the video? I actually got a little shocked and my first thought was “oh I somehow am on Facebook” .
To the weather chat I am hot! Where I live in Australia it is hot and humid so I feel for all you guys in the freezing conditions.
Ah productivity. It is a big topic for sure. I used to be so productive when I was in accounting and filled in time sheets like the one you show here.
None of this is rocket science of course but it is amazing how easy it is not to do what we know we should.
I just completed my plan for the week and I intend to stick to it.
Thanks for some great advice Glenn.
Actually, no. They both do a similar thing but the one you saw on my page is something different. Mine can actually do a bit more than that one. Your reaction, though, is exactly what that type of thing is designed to do – cause a pattern interrupt. So long as they’re used in the right way they can be an effective way of drawing attention to what you want people to notice.
Yes I must admit that I’m somewhat envious of your Australian weather right now! While I recognise that hot and humid weather can also be annoying or uncomfortable, for me it’s definitely the lesser of the two evils!
You’re right, it can be so easy to not do what we know we should. I am definitely guilty of this and I know that I would be much further along if I had been doing what I ought to have been. Not to worry – I’m working on it!
Thanks for your visit, Sue. I hope you have a great and productive week.
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