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I am a productivity freak – constantly obsessed with finding new ways to systemize and refine the way I do things.

I am always wanting to figure out to make my self more efficient and effective in terms of the time I spend on things.

There are so many things want to do – I have to figure out ways of organizing and collating all the bits and pieces.

When Life Gets Crazy…

Managing every thing you need to do can be a bit insane, especially when you’ve made the decision to start up your own business.

You’ve just added an extra 100 things to do before you’ve even started!

At any given time you seem to have at least 100 things that need to be done, and it never seems to end.

Every time you cross something off  your “to-do” list, you seem to add 3 more!

There just does not seem to be enough time in the day!

Break Through The Overwhelm

I get it. I recently sat down and did a full brainstorm of every thing I needed to get done – (I do a complete reboot every couple of months)…and it seemed like it would take forever.

If you’re struggling a little with the overwhelm and not quite sure where to start or how to get through it all, I have a really simple solution for you.

Let me share with you a very simple habit that makes sure you can get the right things done every day, no matter how crazy things get.

The 3 Minute Review

This is a habit I’ve have used for years…sometimes I have been a bit slack, but when I choose to make this a daily priority, my productivity and focus goes through the roof…not to mention the level of calm and direction I feel with it.

This little ritual is something you can build into your routine every morning. It’s the first thing you do every day, and it’s about setting your intentions and the tone for the day.

Ideally, you might want to repeat the process, have a review and reset your self right at the end of the day – this way, you’re sleeping on your intention for the following day which can have amazing effects…just give it a go.

Here it goes.

Step 01: Sort Out Your Time

First of all, you want to sort out your calendar.

You want to have every thing you are already committed to blocked out.

It’s really important that this includes all your personal things like:

  • Sleep;
  • Time to stop and eat;
  • Exercise, including yoga and mediations; and
  • Hobbies and social commitments.

I’m not saying you fill your whole day with this stuff and are then left with no work space, but it’s important to get balance in your life.

If you know you have a yoga class at 6:30pm, you know you need to stop at 5:30pm to give your self time to eat and travel to the class –  if that’s what works for you.

Step 02: Identify Your Tasks

Once you’ve blocked out your day, choose the top 3 tasks that you need to get done today.

Top 3.

By the top 3, I mean the things that if they were the only things you get done today, you’d feel great about it.

Write them down and next to each one, estimate the time it’s going to take to get it done.

Here’s a side tip – If your task is going to take more than 2-3 hours, it’s too big. At this point, you need to break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

For example, “Finish monthly report” (6 hours) could be broken down into the following:

  • Make a phone-call and send follow up emails to all parties inputting information (30 mins)
  • Gather all information and follow up if required (30 mins)
  • Write draft report and collate (3 hours)
  • Present draft report to boss for review (30 mins)
  • Review final report (1 hour)
  • Present final report (30 mins)

In this instance, allotting 6 hours to this overall task is not going to work – it needs to be broken down into smaller tasks and spread out. So maybe today, you’re just getting things going with the first task (30 mins).

Step 03: Schedule Your Tasks

Once you know how long something is going to take, block that time out in your calendar.

Remember to give your self reasonable breathing space in between certain tasks. For example, if you have to travel, make sure you include that time.

Also, stuff comes up during the day that you may need to deal with. So, if you have a spare couple of half hour blocks, you’re going to be able to sort that stuff out then.

Step 04: Get Things Done

By now, you should be able to see your day blocked out at a glance.

You know exactly what needs to get done, how long it’s going to take, and when it’s going to happen.

You have a plan, and a clear focus. Ideally, you want to put this somewhere where you’re going to see it during the day and be able to remind your self what needs to happen next.

Final Tips

This process is NOT going to get rid of your overall “to-do” list.

What it will do, is help bring you into the present and give you clear focus on what has to happen to move you forward NOW.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the years with this process:

  • Include times with your tasks –This was probably one of the biggest game changers for me in terms of managing my task list. By adding a timeframe to a task, It will automatically prompt you to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. You may want to skip this. Don’t!
  • Be realistic in your times – When I started adding times, I realised how unrealistic I was being with my tasks. I was giving my self 3 x 8 hour tasks to do in a day, and then beating my self up when I “failed” to complete them. So, be really realistic in the times you are allocating. Set your self up for success.
  • Digital or analogue is fine fine – I’ve been an old school paper calendar and task-list user for 2 decades. It’s been a transition over the last couple of years into electronic tools. Even today, I still oscillate between a mix of paper and online – at the moment I’m about 90% pure digital. So play with things, check out the different tools online and figure out what works for you – whatever helps you maintain your habits.

What Next? How To Apply This Information Now

Being efficient and effective with your tasks and your time is the key to moving faster to where you want to go.

  1. Use the 3 minute trick – Just start by taking 3 minutes out of the start of your day and just start practicing the productivity tip in this post.
  2. Download this Checklist – If you’ve thought of starting up your own business, I have actually put together an “Essential Business Start Up Checklist” to save you the time and effort of figuring out what you need to do. It’s every thing you need to know all in the one place. CLICK HERE to check it out.
  3. Leave a comment below – I would love to know how you go with it, so make sure you let me know how it works out in the comments below.

xxx

Liz Watt

 

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