The following post is from Celestine of The Personal Excellence Blog:
When I first started my personal development business two years ago, I would do everything myself. I read every reader email in detail and would reply to them in few days’ time. I oversaw every part of the business, from the blogging, site administration, marketing, branding, coaching, business development, negotiations, training, and more.
As my readership grew and I received more emails, more coaching clients and speaking engagements, I found it difficult to manage everything myself and still have the same peak level of output. For example, when I was writing a blog post, I couldn’t meet my clients nor be training in a workshop. I couldn’t market or promote my blog posts either. The reverse was true. Clearly, my output was tied to me.
While there are a zillion things we can do, we only have 24 hours a day to do them. Hence, it’s crucial that we’re effective so we can create the maximum output in the same time period.
Below are 5 tips on how to be more effective with your time:
1. Have a 20/80 list
You might have heard of the 80/20 rule, where 80% of results you get can be accounted by 20% of things you do. The 20/80 list refers to knowing what your 20% high-impact activities are as well as your 80% low-impact ones. Your objective for the day is to focus on the 20% high-impact activities, meaning the tasks that will usher in dramatic changes in your life. These are our Quadrant 2 tasks. When you clarify what they are, you can then focus on the right tasks.
The majority of the things that keep us busy are the low-impact, firefighting activities. I know things like site coding, replying to Facebook/Twitter messages, etc. can take me a good part of the day. Most of these tasks leave me barely fulfilled, and I’m not sure if they do anything in the long-run. However, when I work on the high-impact tasks, like conducting a full-out challenge with the readers to live a better life (which is what I’m doing for month of September, with 1,200 participants taking part), or to produce a high-value ebook that can change lives, I know these produce a lot more fruit in the long run.
2. Organize your work desk
Does your work area help you to be more effective? Can you find your materials easily? If not, perhaps it’s time to organize your desk, table or couch. Trash the things that have no use, file away documents you hardly use and keep frequently used materials easily accessible.
3. Outsource where you can
In the past I used to take on every activity in my business, including writing, coaching, speaking, administration and marketing. In a way, I still do and this isn’t going to change, especially when it comes to writing articles (since it’s my voice), doing 1-1 coaching and speaking. However, I’m starting to outsource other activities, such as marketing, paying for systems that can do the work better (for example, newsletter services, product payment systems, etc.) rather than creating these things from scratch.
I plan to do this even more as my business continues to grow; in fact, it’s necessary to move to the next level. I once read a quote by T. Harv Eker that says if you’re an essential cog in wheel, you’re also a clog in the wheel. I find that really true, both in business and life. How can you outsource activities so you can be more effective?
4. Learn to say “No”
If you have difficulty saying no to others, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. I’m that way too. However, I found that not saying no can be a very painful experience. You are busy meeting the needs of others, rather than yourself. And if you’re not meeting your needs, you can’t be doing a good job for others. Identify the non-essential tasks in your life and practice saying no. You’ll thank yourself for that.
5. Remove your productivity pitstops
Last month, Mandi asked what our biggest time wasters are, and a lot of you mentioned Facebook, blog hopping and the internet. If so, remove these productivity pitstops! Identify browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Unsubscribe from blog feeds that are not doing much for you. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Unplug your internet! Take your laptop to a quiet corner of the room and work there.
How About You?
How can you apply the tips above to become more effective? Do you have your tips to share? Feel free to share in the comments area.
|Celestine Chua writes at The Personal Excellence Blog on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her free ebook, 101 Things To Do Before You Die, now by signing up for her free newsletter. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua.|