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June 27, 2020
We all wish we had more time in the day. Between our professional and personal lives, there are thousands of tasks and responsibilities required to help us achieve our goals, and being efficient with my time is something I prioritize over anything else.
Throughout my years as an entrepreneur, I’ve picked up a few hacks from people far more productive than I am, and I have used these strategies as survival skills while I grew my business, worked a 9-5 and led various non profit activities on the side.
Note: Yes I AM an overachiever, so you can be sure that these strategies will work for you!
I’ve found that the secret to being a productive entrepreneur is actually the same secret to a lot of things actually. It has to do with your vision, your goals and you intentions.
Productivity is the result of the actions you take to achieve your overarching goals. When you have a clear north star (your company’s growth goals) and create the action steps required to get there, your will start to lay out the path to being productive.
You values will inform your business goals–why did you start this business? What do you want to accomplish? Is to become a millionaire? To be your own boss? To help people solve a major problem? When you identify you values, you have an underlying motive for everything you do in your business. While that isn’t going to help you with the day to day tasks (we’ll get to that in a minute), it will form the baseline of your thinking regarding productivity. When you have to make the choice between starting on the next task on your to do list or getting distracted by social media, when the decision to fulfill a business obligation or hang out with a friend comes up, your values will keep you in check and remind you WHY you are choosing to be productive.
Keep your values close to your heart, whether on a vision board, a screen saver or on a post it. Put them somewhere you can see them every day. They will be a guiding light that help you get out of bed at 6am, stay focused on creating that purchase order or blog post, and provide an overarching direction for all of your daily, weekly and monthly activities so you can better serve your customers and yourself.
Once you know your why, then write down the weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals that will help you get there. Identify what needs to be done in order of priority to get you to where you need to be in order to achieve your north star vision. I like to put my goals in buckets so that I can better identify what I need to do for every aspect of my business.
Sample buckets + goals include:
These are just some broader goals to get you started on the path to becoming an entrepreneur. At each stage of your business, your goals will change, and as you get more comfortable running your own schedule, you will be able to identify your business needs and execute the smaller day to day tasks to achieve your goals.
I recommend starting each day by creating 3 daily goals for yourself to accomplish, and keeping them visible throughout the day. These daily goals need to fit into your broader weekly goals, and should be building blocks to help you get one step closer to your monthly and yearly goals.
Put them somewhere close to you so they will be a constant reminder of what you need to accomplish for the day and keep you on track. Visual reminders of your goals will help you prioritize your schedule and remind you why you are working so hard, which will help when the urge to doze off, kill time online or avoid working come up.
Once you’ve identified your 3 daily goals, it’s time to get down and dirty. I have a Google calendar that has a monthly tab and a daily tab so that I know what I need to accomplish this month, and the daily actions that are going to get me there.
A secret that has helped me immensely is the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule. This rule dictates that 80% of your outputs are determined by 20% of your inputs, meaning that 80% of your customers come from 20% of your sales, or 80% of your goals are accomplished by 20% of your actions.
Not all tasks are created equal.
When you understand this principle, it changes the way you look at tasks. If not all tasks are created equal, then you’d better come up with a system to prioritize your daily tasks so that you can be more effective and efficient with your time.
List all of the tasks that you do on a daily basis–and be honest! Checking email, spending time on Instagram, whatever it is you do (and what you NEED to do to run your business) needs to go on the list.
Then, identify the top 20% of tasks that are ESSENTIAL to your business’ success (checking email and Social Media won’t make the cut). When you can identify what tasks are ADDING VALUE to your business (strategic planning, meeting with clients, marketing outreach) vs draining your time (repetitive tasks, checking email, scrolling sites, busy work), you will be able to prioritize the most productive tasks that will help you achieve your goals, which will ultimately feed into your vision of success.
Then, go back to your 3 daily goals and outline which daily tasks will feed into those goals.
My ultimate vision is to grow my business into a multimillion dollar brand based on income from online trainings so that I can focus my time on speaking events and creating meaningful workshops for entrepreneurs.
My goals for this year are to create a website, blog/vlog at least 1-2 times a week, post to social media 1-2 times a day, create my first online course, land 1 speaking engagement and solidify my brand identity. So far, I’ve completed about 30% of my goals, so my monthly and weekly goals are consistently being updated to reflect my progress.
My top daily tasks that are producing the most impactful results are posting to Instagram + LinkedIn, creating a marketing calendar to stay on track, identifying my top 3 daily goals and understanding how they fit in the broader picture and researching similar business coaches in my industry to understand how they position themselves and their content so I keep learning and staying inspired.
Now it’s your turn! Write down your vision of success, the goals you need to get there, the top 3 tasks you want to achieve today, and what tasks will be most productive in helping you get those goals done.
Ultimately, being #productive means knowing what needs to get done and when. By having a roadmap in mind of where you want to go, you’ll be able to quickly identify what is serving your needs and what is hindering your progress. Keep reminding yourself of what you want, why you want it and how you can achieve it, and I promise you, you will become a more productive and efficient entrepreneur in no time!
Keep checking back in weekly to stay up to date on all the latest content, as well as to get inspired as you grow what you love. If you liked this post, please share it on your social media accounts, and leave a comment below! Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions, or are interested in working with me to help you build what you love.