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  • #990800
    SethSethSeth
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    Hi guys!

    I’d love to hear some of your opinions on different ways you struggle with productivity and time management and how you attempt to tackle these problems.

    Personally, I think one of the biggest obstacles for my own productivity has been failing to get a ‘big picture’ view of the day/week/month and prioritising tasks accordingly.

    For example, while updating my wordpress site is not necessarily a pressing issue, something like this can easily take up hours more than it is worth.

    I find that when I make a ‘budget my time’ as though it were money (and time is money isn’t it?) I will allocate only 5 hours per month to a task such as wordpress maintenance and if it appears to be something that will take up more time than that, then I outsource it or simply leave it till next month.

    Do you think treating tasks like this is an effective way of being productive?

    What other problems do you guys have when it comes to productivity and time management?

    #1178650
    Grant L
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    I’m going through this right now. As a small business run from home I work by myself and have many many different tasks to do. My biggest productivity killer is where to start first! Unless I’ve got a pressing job I know needs to be done immediately, I tend to umm and ahh about what is the most important. Having 2 young toddlers in the background also makes simple things, such as THINKING, quite a difficult task.

    I’ve chosen to try dealing with this by creating a daily and monthly list. If it’s written down properly (not on a 1000th post-it!) then I do the tasks firstly by how I feel about them and then by how much time do I need to allocate to get it done. I’ve tried budgeting my time like it’s money but find I really dread thinking about the amount of admin etc. requires doing compared with the actual completing of a paid job. This has really made me understand how much time/money you’re really spending learning something, such as SEO, graphic work etc. compared with just paying a professional to do it correctly the first time.

    #1178651
    Anonymous
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    Hi SethSethSeth, and welcome to the forum.

    What a great topic! I’m sure there’ll be more than a few people around here who have contributions to make, and will be intrigued to see what themes emerge :)

    Thanks for joining us :)
    Jayne

    #1178652
    Tracey G
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    Good question, Seth.

    I am currently working on developing a system where I divide my time up into blocks of 20 minutes or 90 minutes. If a task isn’t finished in 90 mins I take a break, get up and walk around and assess why it’s taken longer than I expected. This is still a work in progress and the time durations may change if that improves things.

    I’ll also aim for 1-2 major tasks to complete in a day, and I have a list of smaller tasks which can be achieved quickly and easily if there’s time.

    #1178653
    Tony Manto
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    You should read “eat that frog” or “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”

    Eat that frog is about doing the thing you hate most, first. That way its out the way and it can’t be worse than eating a frog. Otherwise you will keep putting it off.

    Time blocking is the best tool I have every come across. Break down your tasks into different areas and spend a bit of time on each area. This could be lead generation, systems, webpage, social media, and so on. Pay yourself first is also a great principle. Write yourself a invoice for the time you spend and charge your business for your time. Treat yourself as you where working for someone else, someone is working for you. YOU!!!

    #1178654
    MindTheDragons
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    Tony Manto, post: 208675 wrote:
    You should read “eat that frog” or “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”

    Eat that frog is about doing the thing you hate most, first. That way its out the way and it can’t be worse than eating a frog. Otherwise you will keep putting it off.

    Gosh…I really should take this approach…

    Probably my biggest strategy for improving my productivity is staying in tune with my natural biorhythms and energy levels. I know that I am always more productive in the morning, so I try to arrange my time so that I get up early, and plan work that is mentally challenging for before midday. I also try to pay attention if I am feeling especially alert and energetic at later times of the day (often late at night, and it can shift depending on whether I’ve been travelling) and take advantage of those periods rather than letting them go to waste. Similarly, if I’m tired, sick or just flat….I don’t battle on with difficult tasks (unless absolutely necessary) – I do something ‘mindless’ that just has to get done.

    My biggest productivity problem is social networking though – and specifically forums. I probably need to establish some stricter rules for myself as I waste a lot of time browsing forums (like this one!!). As much as I try to convince myself that I am working on my business (and I do think this is a legitimate rationalisation to some extent) I often spend time on forums when there are more pressing issues I should be attending to.

    #1178655
    Marek
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    Tracey G, post: 208638 wrote:
    Good question, Seth.

    I am currently working on developing a system where I divide my time up into blocks of 20 minutes or 90 minutes….

    Hey I like that system but what works for me is doing sets of 25 mins productive work, stretching my legs 5 mins and then cycle again from the start. I am also using a mobile app called “Toggl” to target and to see where my time goes and check what have I done in the end of the day. I think the main thing to get things done is to get away from the facebook, twitter etc. (if you aren’t using them to promote your business) at the time when you are focused. I try to keep my goals in mind and be determined, failures are allowed but not trying or not doing is unacceptable.

    Cheers!

    #1178656
    Tony Manto
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    Time on social media tasks can seen un-rewarding but you need to decide if you are getting anything out of them. One way is to monitor your web hits. If you increase your web visits after being active on social media, then eventually that should lead to some conversions. If you are not generating more leads or visits, then you should evaluate if the time you spend is paying dividends.

    As much as there is a lot of hype about social media, its only good if it works!!!

    #1178657
    SourceOut.net
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    I reckon this is very much into self discipline. Best way I have overcome is rewarding myself to my achievements and be a watcher towards yourself, being more self aware of what made out of “you”.

    #1178658
    My Guy
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    If something is going to take me more than 2 hours to complete and I am not familiar or trained in that area (I would be relying on Google to do most of the work) I out source the job.

    ^ This works great for me as it allows me to focus on moving the business forward.

    I also do what Tony does and charge yourself out to your own business (but I do not do it to the potential extent he said).

    I know how much I charge out in an hourly rate and I usually get a quote from someone and work out how much it’s going to cost, then work out how long it’s going to take me to do the job and then I just out source it if it’s going cost me more of my time.

    Things come down to Time & Money we all know that. But we have to remember each business is different.

    I come from the service industry, the more hours I work for a client the more money I get paid.

    In this industry time is important and it’s sometimes easier to out source everything.. so when you finish a 10 – 12 hour day your not at home trying to make stuff.

    If there is one thing I know about a successful business and that’s SWITCHING OFF / TAKING A BREAK!

    Find hours that suit your business… when are you most needed in your role to make the business move forward. find the times when the business least needs you and put in your calendar that you are NEVER TO WORK THESE HOURS.

    You must take time out to read a book, go for a walk, stretch your legs, go see a friend catch up on old times, go to the movies, go see a family member, or better still go on a holiday.

    Too many people don’t do this and get sick and tired of their lifes owning a business and it makes them drained, when they get drained they run the business to the ground.

    Grant L, post: 208139 wrote:
    Having 2 young toddlers in the background also makes simple things, such as THINKING, quite a difficult task.

    Hey Grant,

    I hate to say this, but not sure on where your pointing your business but this is really bad for your mindset and moving the business forward.

    You need to come up with an alternative solution to stop this distraction, because it can lead to stress and anger.



    I work from home (for now)

    I have two giant hyperactive dogs who love to play 24/7, they play fight in the house & seek my attention while I am working.

    I am also renovating a house, so I have the wife and others whinging to get stuff done.

    FYI, I leave my home office to go work from somewhere else for the day, I usually go to my parents home, I try to book in 1 meeting or appointment EVERYDAY to get me out of the house and away from the everyday mundane stuff that angers me when I am there 24/7

    Try and do the best you can to get the bad energy out of your office.

    #1178659
    michaelxah
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    ^ When it comes to the toddler situation, handling distraction and frustration can often come down to your mindset. A distraction becomes much worse when you start to blame your other frustrations on it — all of a sudden when your work isn’t going well, the small (or big: toddlers, for instance) distractions can seem ENTIRELY to blame. And all the more distracting.

    #1178660
    Concept
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    There are some excellent points made here for productivity. Here is a list of how I tackle productivity. Some points are already covered, some aren’t:

    Before taking action:

    • Set your long term goal – monthly, yearly, life
    • Set your short term goal – daily, weekly
    • Dedicating a workspace – I have an office at home. When I’m working I’m in there and I close the door. If I’m not working I’m not in there
    • Planning your time – In the evening I tend to sit down and plan the following day. I look at my long term goals, and my short term goals and look at what actions will bring me closer to achieving those goals
    • Drink a litre of water – I can’t think when I’m dehydrated.
    • Anticipate and Eliminate Possible Distractions – I know that there are things that when I’m working I will usually get distracted by. (eg Facebook, people, dogs etc). I eliminate these by removing the issue before I start (Website blockers, letting people know that I’m working, turning off the phone, putting the dogs outside, putting on headphones)
    • Getting Yourself in the Right Headspace – I have a short routine that I do before I start work. Mine goes something like food, 10 minute meditation, brew tea/coffee, walk into office and review my action list I wrote last night. Pick one and start.

    Whilst you’re taking action:

    • Set a time limit – I always set a time in which I will work and take breaks. I stick to these. As people mentioend you can do 90minutes on and 30 minutes off. I find after 2 x 90 minute work periods, I go down to 45 minute on, 15 minute off. After 2pm I can’t think straight so I usually have a long break, or do simple things like reading.
    • Break your short-term objective into chunks. – Get specific, and even set time limits for each. When I break down tasks I always set a limit to what I want to do. Usually estimate a limit them times it by 1.3. Eg if I think it will take an hour I will times it by 1.3 so I actually put aside 1hr 20 minutes. I usually overestimate myself, so that why I times by 1.3, however by setting a time limit it also means I stick to the task at hand and don’t get bogged down on minor details that eat up time. It helps me keep focussed on the task at hand.
    • Choose a Chunk – pretty self explainetory. Like some others mentioned, usually pick the hardest or the highest payoff activity first. Play with what works for you.
    • Take breaks. Ever heard of the axement analogy. Taking breaks helps in the long run.
    • Increasing focus – find things that help you focus. I find listening to certain types of music helps, others it’s different. Find your focus.

    After you’ve finished taking action:

    • Don’t think about work
    • Fulfil your non-work related desires – sitting on Facebook isn’t fullfilling and you can other do things rather than watch TV that can be more enjoyable. If you work at home go out and connect with family and friends. If you are stuck inside the wholw day, get outside – I like going for walks in my local national park, or going to martial arts practice.
    • Eliminate distracting substances – shitty food, alcohol, smoking, ands drugs can impact general health and wellbeing which in turn affects productivity
    • Get away from your dedicated workspace – for me it’s closing the door to the office if I’m not working. If I’m still in work mode, I get out of the house entirely.
    • Exercise – general health and wellbeing affects productivity also exercise gives you a lot more energy long term.
    • Sleep – I cannot stress how important this is.

    99% of my clients who are struggling with productivity are missing at least one of these. That should give you a good start. Let me know if you have any specific questions around each.

    Nathan

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