If you like having some sort of order or organization in what you do, then you have maybe made that to-do list that seems to have from three tasks in the morning but somehow thirty by noon having done barely anything.
A lot of people think they are at their utmost productive when they slowly check various items off their to-do lists, but those lists are not what really make people more productive. Most people actually experience difficulties figuring out how much time they take to complete a task. Elon Musk often underestimated the time so many times he constantly missed deadlines.
I speak about to-do lists almost as if I did not have one myself a few years ago. It was a 5 to 7-page word document because I was a control freak and perfectionist. It felt good to go through the list and cross things out. At the time, I was making decent money; around six figures a year. Sounds admirable but that was where the problem lay. As I grew into my own element, I soon learned that I did not just want to have a to-do list but someone else’s to-do list.
I started to create that list, and as that document became thicker, my own list got shorter as I assigned more and more tasks to other people. As time passed, I came to the realization that creating a list of tasks and delegating was not what propelled the company to further growth. I spent most of my time on these minute details and long lists but what I really needed was to take a look at the bigger picture.Here’s what you can do to make that list spare your productivity levels.
List the Five Most Productive Tasks
On the wall of my home office, I have what I refer to as a list of the big five. They are five things I want to accomplish on that day. When I get up, I have to complete a task such as contact a partner or draw a strategy for my business. I try my best to see to it that I do not leave work until I have finished those 5 things I’d put myself to the task to.
What is most intriguing perhaps is that sometimes it can take me hours or even the whole day to complete the list. Sometimes, it will only take me as little as only one hour. The only issue is if I have a list of 5 things and I’m done by mid-morning, what will I with the rest of my day?
I could celebrate. I could schedule the following day’s to-do list which will take about 5 minutes off my day. I could dance. I could learn. I could proceed working having finished my work earlier in the day. Unfortunately, that’s not an ideal solution. Just because you are busy or occupied doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive.
Set Aside Thinking Time To Strategize
Instead of occupying myself with work, I take the time to reflect. Most business owners do not take adequate time to do any self-reflection because they are not able to think when they’re panting about on the hamster wheel. If you were to observe me, you’ll find that it’s like I’m daydreaming while I strategize.
Rather than thinking in the morning, I do my Attitude of Gratitude Meditation for about a quarter of an hour. It serves me well as compared to simple meditation. Meditation and thinking are not the same. It is important that you use this time to think about your company and then allow your mind to blank completely. At that period is when a brilliant idea is likely to come to you; probably the one that will transform your business. After my mediation is when I proceed to have my breakfast.
I pace back and forth while talking to myself as I think about my companies while I am in my office. I also take notes and write on my whiteboard. I dedicate about an hour of my day for this meditation so I can strategize. You’ll find that many business owners have not sat down to reflect upon their business for the longest time. It is easier for them to be occupied.
According to Henry Ford, “Thinking is the hardest work there is. That’s why so few people engage in it.” Thinking is hard work. It is easy to just waste time on social media. The exception is if managing your Facebook page is part of your work. I spend about 10 minutes a day browsing through Facebook alone and I think even that is a lot of time.
Strategize for What You Cannot See
I’m not the sort of person who has faith in positive thinking. Motivation is an admirable trait, but for most business owners, desperation is even better. I would not suggest this to anyone but at times I enclose myself in a corner and make myself uncomfortable enough to make something happen. That’s the crazy way of how I challenge myself.
I don’t shed too much attention to mistakes. I spend the time reflecting on why one of my businesses is struggling and what the solution is so I can turn it around. I come up with about ten potential solutions that could help me solve the issue before implementation.
My Strategy for Staying Productive
I do not keep long to-do lists and then check off the items individually. It might award you a certain level of satisfaction to see a cluster of items crossed off your list but that’s just a way to keep you busy. This is the strategy I use to stay productive:
1) Create a list of 5 things you intend to complete by the end of day.
If you are done in good time …
2) Set time aside to reflect upon your company, especially if it’s not working as you would like, and make a plan to turn it around.
Two things can really terminate the productivity of your business. Making unnecessarily long lists of tasks that you are unable to complete, and keeping busy always. Focus solely on a few tasks, and spare some time to reflect. That’s the solution.
What is the one thing you intend to change to enhance your productivity?