If you want to get more done in less time then you must optimize your productivity. When you balance productivity with being a real person (remember, you’re not a robot) then you can build your business faster while still enjoying your life.
I’ve tried lots of tips and tricks to make my life more productive, and many of them have failed miserably. However, there are 5 productivity tips I now swear by. They’ve been super helpful in helping me grow my business while cultivating an overall happier life.
Keep reading this article to learn my 5 productivity hacks for a healthier business and a happier life.
Does Productivity Really Matter That Much?
There are two ways to get through life, like John or like Jan. Let me explain.
John wakes up every day and wonders what he feels like doing that day. John knows something needs to get done, but isn’t intentional about what he should prioritize. He just does what’s in front of him in the moment, but he gets distracted easily. People text or email John throughout the day, which constantly sucks his attention and turns him into more of a “fire-fighter” than a hustler. He’s constantly putting out the small fires that pop up and rarely feels like he accomplished anything of value at the end of the day.
John tends to feel overwhelmed, not in control, and anxiously busy. He sees other people living out their dreams and while John says he wants to build his dreams, he never does because he’s constantly “on call” to everyone else.
Then there’s Jan. She wakes up every day and makes a plan (or she made one the night before). From start to finish she knows exactly what she needs to do. Jan’s day is very intentional and on mission. While no day is perfect, Jan cuts out as many distractions as she can so that her attention is focused. In fact, with focused attention Jan gets her planned work done in half the time.
Jan is able to spend time becoming a healthier Jan. She goes to yoga in the afternoons, and catches up with friends at coffee shops. Jan schedules just 30 minutes each evening to respond to any text messages or emails that may have come in. However, since people know she’s not a constantly on-call “firefighter” she actually receives less of those distracting messages to begin with.
People respect Jan and her time. Jan often feels confident, in control of her life, and relaxed about what needs to happen. While she works hard, Jan is able to bring a happier, stress-free attitude to her relationships.
Who do you want to be more like? John or Jan? I don’t know about you, but I want a life like Jan’s. That sounds pretty great (and totally possible)!
Productivity Hacks To Supercharge Your Side Hustle
High-performers are always looking for ways to be more productive. The challenge is that many people just repeat things that don’t work for them. Every side hustle is different. Just because someone (including me) tells you a tip will make you more productive doesn’t mean it will. Some things that work for me might not be a good fit for you, and vice versa. And that’s okay, we can still be friends. ?
Test my productivity hacks for yourself. Give each of them a fighting chance for a consistent month or so and learn what works best for you. (If you figure out any new tips please drop them in the comments.)
1. Set Your Phone to “Do Not Disturb”
Does that sound hard? It’s not. It’s actually REALLY easy. You just press a button.
I can already hear the protests, “but Scott, what if I miss an important text or call?!” I get that completely.
On most devices you can set your phone to Do Not Disturb UNLESS the same person calls twice in a row. In that case, your phone will ring the second time so you don’t miss any emergencies (but let’s be honest, 99% of calls are not emergencies).
Your phone is the biggest distraction you have. Death by notifications is a real thing, my friend!
Dr Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, found that every time we get distracted out of focused thought it takes an average of over 23 minutes to get focused again. Multiply that by dozens of phone distractions a day and it’s no wonder you don’t get anything done.
Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” and focus all of yourself to the task at hand. Your stress will go down and productivity will go up.
2. Keep your goals front and center
Out of sight out of mind, right? If your goals are not constantly in front of you then it’s much easier to take on tasks that don’t move you forward.
When I go to Panera Bread and get a salad to help me get in shape, and then they offer me a Double Chocolate Chip Chunk Chewy Cookie for only 99 cents, EVERY part of me wants to say yes to that offer. For many years I did say yes. My goal of being physically fit never happened during that time.
Then one day I made one small change that made me very productive in this area. I pay with ApplePay on my iPhone, so every time I would pull out my phone to pay I would briefly see my lock screen wallpaper. So I made an image of my core goals and set it as my lock screen. One of those core goals- Be Physically Fit. Now when I go to Panera I’m reminded of my physical fitness goal and it’s much easier to say no the delicious ball of sugar they offer me.
Do whatever you have to do to keep your 3 core goals in your face as much as possible. Write them on a Post-It note each morning; put them as your phone’s lock screen; tattoo them on your arm (okay, maybe not). You get the idea.
Keep your goals front and center and you’ll be able to say “no” to everything that doesn’t serve those goals.
3. Use a daily planner to focus your time
Start each day by looking at your top 3 goals and writing down your next steps for each goal that you can take THAT DAY.
These steps may be scheduled ahead of time, and you may not make progress on all 3 goals every day. However, using a smart daily planner will keep you extremely focused on what matters so that distractions don’t steal your day away.
PS. I use Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner to plan my days and keep my goals moving forward.
4. Eat The Frog First
There once was a man who had a curse put on him. In this curse he had to eat a frog every day, no matter what.
The man would put off eating the frog until the end of each day, because he dreaded it so much. Over time he would hate getting up in the morning because all he thought about each day was dreading the frog. It completely brought him down.
One day the man had an idea, “what if I ate the frog first each day? Then I can enjoy the rest of the day because the hardest part is over.”
So the man woke up the next morning and immediately ate the frog. He didn’t enjoy it but it was done. Now he was free to enjoy the rest of his day without dread. He enjoyed life again.
What does all of this have to do with productivity?
Prioritize the hardest important task first. Get it out of the way. If you have to do it anyway then putting it off just drains your mental and emotional energy throughout the entire day. Instead, do the hardest important task first and your mind will be free the rest of the day and you’ll have more energy to be more productive and happier!
Eat the frog first!
5. Make it fun!
Why do we think that work only counts if it’s boring or we hate doing it? That’s completely false.
Find ways big and small to make your work more fun. Pull pranks. Be silly. Tell jokes. Dance? Creating fun with others actually helps to build trust and boost energy and creativity.
Fun is also more productive by helping your break through creative blocks.
However, the most important productivity hack that fun brings to the table is grit. Your side hustle will inevitably bring challenges along the way, and your level of grit will determine whether you push through the challenges or not. If you’re having fun then you’re more likely to stick with it when the times get tough.
The most productive thing you can do is to stay focused on your mission, and making the daily tasks fun is the best way to stick with it.
One Bite At A Time
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (But seriously, is it even legal or tasty to eat elephants?)
Don’t try to tackle all of these at once. That’s only setting yourself up for failure! Digest these productivity hacks one at a time. Add a new one to your life each week and stay consistent with the others.
You should be letting go of habits that don’t serve you anymore. Remember the only way to grow is to change. If you refuse to change your approach to life then you will not grow and you will get more frustrated with your outcome.
Take Action Now
You now have my personal secrets to productivity. Seriously, they took me years to pull of. Put these hacks into practice today so you keep growing. If you don’t do anything your business will struggle and your happiness will diminish.
Take these action steps now to get awesome results:
- Grab my free business-building resources here.
- Start with adding just 1 productivity hack per week, so you don’t take on too much at once.
- Consistency is key. Keep these in mind every day until they become habit.