Life is short and often times we are just working to get to the weekend. In addition, we find ourselves saying “there just is not enough time in a day.” That is just not true, it is all about how we use the time that we have and by measuring your results rather than your time.
Time management is the number one factor in successful people. They know how to work hard and often how to play hard. Time is the one resource that we can not waste. It all begins with a solid plan that includes short term plans and long term goals. These two points play in together as all your short term plans/lists should coincide with your long term goals. I have said before that when I work with businesses my number one objective is to increase a companies valuation making it more attractive for purchase. In a personal career or life, the long term goal should be retirement which is essentially the same thing for the sale of a business.
Goal setting is the first priority in working smarter. Set your end goal, say it is to retire by 40 years old with 2,000,000 in the bank. Then, as I have said before work backward from that end goal. Start with the end in mind. Then you know what you have to do to get to the goal, if you fall short one day, week, or even year, then you know exactly what you have to do to make up for the loss.
With all that said here are the top 3 ways to become more productive and to achieve your longterm goals.
- Plan your days and weeks in advance
Each day I set forth making a to do list. This to do list encapsulates everything that I would like to get done on a given day. Often times, it is a mix of both personal and professional activities. If you have a cloudy mind in your personal life your professional will suffer, so be sure to stay active and up-to-date with your personal priorities. The list starts with the most important tasks that I absolutely have to complete by days end. The list ends with tasks that are “less important” but do have to get done at some point.
As I go through my day I complete my tasks and typically start my to do list for the following day. Anything that I will not have time to get to, I move to the top of the list for the following day. Additionally, as your day progresses you get new projects that have later dates and thus you are able to start to do lists for the following days. Often times I have a to do list scheduled out for the week. I spend much time scheduling and compiling lists as it keeps me on track and organized. It is important not to take too much time that it becomes a distraction but you do have to make it a priority. Having a road map for your success is critically important to staying on track.
- Measure your results not your time
This is a tough benchmark to wrap your head around and typically requires a complete shift in mindset. This productivity tip is why it is so important to know where you are going and what your ultimate goals are. If I close or complete a large job at 10am or 11am I may call it a day or even take the next day off. I am measuring my results not the time I have into it because the week before I probably worked 80 hours. I know how much money I want to and need to make so when I hit that benchmark it is my decision if I want to keep working for the day or week. However, I am measuring my results not my time. You may not have to work 40 or 50 hours to make the amount of money that you want to make. Even with a normal 9-5 job you still have the power to measure results not time.
Measuring your results is a great way to mind your headspace. As Americans, we get very wrapped up in work, putting in 40+ hour weeks fully encompassed by our profession and often let the results fall behind. Time card punchers should never be the goal, have pride in the work you do.
- Minimize Distractions
Distractions are the root of all evil. Distractions are, where the phrase, “there is not enough time in a day” stems from. Hate to break it to you but everybody has enough time in a day to accomplish what they need to the issue is with distractions. Fortunately or unfortunately, we live in a technological world where just about everything is available at the tip of our fingers. Our two most productive tools, phones and computers, are also our two biggest distractions. It is important to silence or delete apps that cause distractions while you are trying to be productive at work. Not only does it take away precious time but it also affects your results. Distractions affect both time and results.
Bottom line is there is plenty of time in a day to achieve the results we desire. We simply have to be well organized by compiling lists and scheduling your tasks, we need to measure results not time, and strive to minimize daily distractions. When beginning this life altering shift, start with the end in mind by setting goals. If you have questions on setting goals check on our blog on “Don’t dream, set goals.”