Presented by Kerry Carron on 07/30/2018 2:00pm
We are in the business of people. Our online business' must meet our client's high expectations while at the same time remain productive, and continue to grow. One of the primary ways of reaching that high expectation is by practicing self-discipline – especially if we are planning to do more than survive as freelancers.
We should always be continually looking for ways to improve our businesses. Finding the ways to increase our business cash flow and refining our business productivity are two essential things that we must do in order to thrive. Though these two things can go hand-in-hand, this webinar's focus will be on practicing self-discipline to increase our business productivity.
The definition of self -discipline: Making yourself do, what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. ~ Brain Tracy
For many freelancers, self-discipline is easiest to accomplish when we condition ourselves to make the discipline a habit. Of course, turning something into a habit is always more easily said than done. Habits can be time-consuming and difficult to make. They can be created if one were to complete a task every day for at least 21 days (straight).
Keep in mind that though a habit will take time to form, thankfully, habits are also hard to break once they have become a routine. It, therefore, goes without saying that creating good habits can be life-changing events and if we create good business habits, they can become game-changing events.
That being said, let's get started learning how to get more done – faster, better and easier.
Making Progress with Productivity
We recently surveyed a number of online professional freelancers in the OwnWP Slack group - real freelancers who apply productivity skills in their daily business lives - to ask them about their personal methods for increasing their business productivity.
In the results, we recognized many of the same principles that we apply to our business routine to increase productivity. Interestingly, the survey takers revealed 18 different secrets in their answers. Though this in itself was intriguing, what we found particularly fascinating was that every one of the businessmen and women surveyed expressed the importance of four particular ways to increase business cash flow using business productivity techniques.
In this webinar, we will share 18 productivity secrets that were revealed from our survey and research, some tips to assist you in the practical application of the techniques, and the four techniques that all of our survey takers shared.
Secret Productivity Technique Countdown
18. Develop Clear and Objective Goals
- Decide what it is you want to do and accomplish.
- Write it down clearly and in detail.
- Set a deadline and sub-deadlines if needed for larger goals.
- Make a list of everything you will need to do to accomplish your goals.
- Organize your list into a plan.
- Take action on your plan.
A goal that is not in writing is not really a goal, it is just a wish that has no energy.
~ Brian Tracy
17. Prioritize Tasks – Separate Urgent from Important
There is a difference between an important task and an urgent task. Let’s face it, if it is a task, chances are it is important or it wouldn’t even be on your list, right?
- Important activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals, whether these are professional or personal.
- Urgent activities demand immediate attention. They are often the activities we concentrate on because the consequences of not dealing with them can be severe.
Taking this a step farther, tasks may also fall into important urgent tasks and unimportant urgent tasks. An unimportant urgent task is a task that is associated with achieving someone else’s goals.
As you can imagine, an unimportant urgent task is detrimental to meeting our own goals.
When we know which activities are important and which are urgent, we can overcome the natural tendency to focus on unimportant urgent activities and can clear enough time to do what’s essential for our success.
16. Apply the 80/20 rule
To continually apply the 80/20 rule, simply ask yourself what are the 20% of the activities that will account for 80% of the value?
For example, if you have 10 things to do in a day, 2 of those things on the list will be more valuable than all of the remaining 8 things put together. But, the 2 things you identified MUST be the activities that you start. The rest of the tasks on your list can be completed later – start with the 2 that make up the 20% without fail to achieve productivity success.
15. The Law of Forced Efficiency
“There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”
The core question you should be asking yourself to overcome any procrastination and being as productive as possible is simple. “What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?”
The reality – at any time, on any day, at any moment you should be able to answer the question. And whatever that answer is, you should be taking action to do that!
14. Practice Single-Handling with Key Tasks
The single-handling technique is pretty simple to grasp. Focus on a single task.
Statistics show that you can reduce the time required to complete tasks by 50% or more just by focusing on only a single task at a time, starting with your most important task.
So, once you begin a task, keep working at the task until the job is 100 percent complete. Done, done!
13. Organize Your Workspace
One aspect of improving productivity that freelancers often overlook is their work environment. Your productivity can be affected by your workplace. Simple changes and additions are effective.
How to Make a Postive Impact on Your Workspace
- Add lots of natural light.
- Add live plants
- Slightly warmer temperature vs. Cold temperatures
- Add motivation – in person in a group office environment or perhaps signage in a home office.
- Add music or instill silence. This is going to depend on the person. Music for some is distracting so if you are more productive listening to music, perhaps headphones will be less distracting for those who prefer silence.
- Color Theory. Scientists believe that the best color for making your workspace more productive is most likely yellow. Why yellow? According to the research, yellow is an energizing color which packs the same productive punch as red (the most stimulating color) without the negativity (the aggression associated with red).
- Privacy. Create privacy in shared office space and designated office space when working from home.
- Take strategic breaks
- Apply Feng shui to your desk
- Use two monitors.
12. Make Use of Travel Time
Making use of time while traveling can sometimes be a challenge. Technology has made being productive while traveling a lot easier.
Learning, educating yourself, and reading using webinars, videos, and audiobooks can be done in automobiles, trains, and airplanes. Internet access has become more accessible and allows us to easily receive and reply to an email, write and send reports, or even post articles to our websites and social media networks.
Take advantage of your time during travel and plan to use it wisely.
11. Establish Systems to Improve Key Tasks
- Do your due diligence and acquire resources.
- Draw out and map your processes.
- Analyze what works well.
- Plan and implement needed change.
- Redesign your process for efficiency.
- Review regularly.
10. Work in Real Time
Working in real time simply means whenever possible, complete your tasks as soon as they come up.
As a general rule, small tasks (less than 5 minutes) should be done immediately, as soon as they appear.
9. Re-engineer your Work
- Consolidate tasks
- Assign several tasks to one person rather than spreading it out among too many people
- Use your strengths – delegate your weaknesses (to someone else’s strengths)
- Eliminate unnecessary tasks
- Change the order of tasks to keep the momentum
Reinvent Yourself annually.
Make halftime adjustments. Just as an NFL football coach addresses their team at halftime, freelancers should reflect on the past and adjust for the future. Your halftime break should be designed to keep yourself in the game.
8. Identify Posteriorities
What is a posteriority?
The quality or state of (something) being later or subsequent. Almost the opposite of setting a priority. The importance of posteriority is to recognize when the task you are working on should not be a priority and needs to be discontinued.
Before you start a new task, you must discontinue an old task. You can only be productive when you stop doing the thing that is no longer as valuable or as important to you as the one thing you could be doing.
7. Time Management Tips
Chunk Your Time To Be More Productive
To produce more productive work one or more of these chunking techniques.
- Get up earlier: When you get up earlier you can get the equivalent of a normal workday done before the normal workday even begins.
- Go to the office one hour earlier. Arrive before anyone else is there to interrupt your getting started. One hour of uninterrupted work will often be the equivalent of a full day’s work with a full office.
- Working during the lunch hour. Again the concept is fewer interruptions and more productive work being completed. Take your lunch earlier or later when there are also no lunch hour crowds or delays. You’ll be able to eat more quickly and have a shorter downtime.
- Work an extra hour after everyone else goes home. During that time, clear up all your responsibilities, wrote reports and most importantly plan for the next day.
Productive Time is Uninterrupted
The key to time management is to take the 60-90 minute chunks of time and work without interruption.
- Close your door
- Turn off your cell phone
- Turn off computer alerts (email and chat)
- focus on the objective
6. Zero-based Thinking
On a regular basis, ask yourself the following question, “Is there anything that you are doing today, knowing what you now know, that you would not get into today if you had to do it over?”
If the answer is yes then the only thing left to do is find your way out of it.
It will be impossible for you to be successful, much less productive, trying to continue in an area that is not best for you.
Find your way out of areas that are not best for you as fast as you can. Guaranteed you’ll be wondering why it took you so long to get make the decision to get out when you did.
5. Keep Your Balance
One of the most important questions to answer as a freelancer will be how to balance your freelance business (professional) life and your personal life. Even when you know the answer to that question, does your family? Either way, you will need to make that distinction crystal clear.
It is likely that the way your family sees things is much different than the way you are seeing things. It is very easy for family members to believe because you work from home, your home will be immaculate, you’ll have time to make phone calls, and run errands for them all day, any day.
At the same time understand that focusing too much on your business will eventually weaken ties with family and friends. To ensure close relationships remain strong even when your time is scarce, schedule regular days off from your work, even when there is still business work needing to be done. The fact of the matter is that there will always be business work that needs to be done.
Finding the right balance of personal and professional needs can be an ongoing struggle for freelancers. Being mindful of the time, setting limits, and coordinating scheduled family events on a regular basis can keep things in balance.
Top 4 Productivity Techniques
4. Make Decisions Quickly!
Freelancers are notorious for over-evaluating what goals are really on the table. Many entrepreneurs will get stuck and not be able to get anywhere because they get caught in analysis paralysis. Remeber to try to apply the KISS method (Keep It Super Simple).
You must speed up your decision making (which will ultimately increase your production) despite how uncomfortable you may feel about it.
Slow decision making people and businesses will be overlooked and become obsolete. Faster response times will create new industry standards and attract more business for you.
3. Plan Every Day
A common thread with all of the businessmen and women regarding planning their daily work was that they applied a system to their “to do” list. Productive freelancers are able to discern differences between “urgent” and “important” as well as the varying levels of priority.
Planning ahead can illuminate the sometimes subtle differences between task priorities. And knowing what to expect makes it easier to remain focused on individual tasks.
2. Eat That Frog
Eating the frog, the frog in the blender, the elephant in the room, and knowing how to eat an elephant (one bite at a time), are similar analogies for this concept. In other words, don’t put off the task that is the most difficult or the most dreaded.
Start with the most dreaded event and get it over with. Once it is out of the way, the rest will seem easy – resulting in you getting more done in a shorter amount of time.
1. Be Intensely Action-Oriented
The most significant technique to be productive is to take action – any action! Here on OwnWP, we provide our monthly “actionable attitude” quotes as our way to help remind us to take action intentionally.
Nike says, “Just Do It.”
Wayne Gretzky (the famous high scoring ice hockey player) was quoted,
“You will miss 100% of the shots you never take.” ~Wayne Gretzky
It is better to make a mistake and learn from it then to never have tried.
Similarly, Thomas Edison claims to have discovered over 20,000 ways that did not produce electricity before finding just the right combination which resulted in successfully creating electricity.
How to Be the Most Productive
Evaluate and develop how you can increase your business cash flow and apply business productivity techniques based on your own circumstances.
Only you can be accountable for your choices so be sure to educate yourself and learn everything you can to increase the odds of the success of your own business. This includes ensuring that you remain proactive in increasing business cash flow and business productivity.
To yield your best results, learn to be productive using these techniques and focus on the important tasks at hand. Tak action on the tasks and activities that are best suited for you and your business.
Presenter Bio: Kerry Carron
Kerry Carron is a loving wife and mother of three grown boys. As a freelancer, Kerry has built hundreds of WordPress websites and assisted other freelancers and small agencies with WordPress support and business development. She is the founder of OwnWP, a production of Ultimate Solution, LLC.
Kerry specializes in processes and creating systems. She is passionate about helping others find their path to success and her aspiration with OwnWP is to encourage other freelancers in finding and using the right combination of tools and skills they need to do more than merely survive!