Written by Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
You shouldn’t be looking for quantum leaps of productivity. Rather, it’s the little things – executed regularly – that will give you the boost in productivity you need to sell more, be more successful, and create more balance in your life.
Here are 10 habits I’ve found most valuable. All are simple in nature, yet difficult to execute regularly. Habits and discipline, man…
Wake up earlier
My alarm goes off every morning at 5:00 a.m. Some days I get up, some days I don’t. Discipline that early is difficult for me, but if I do get up my day always goes better. I’m out the door on time, I’m not nearly as rushed, and often I can get a few things done early that give me a jump start on the day.
First thing’s first (one of five)
Have your to-do list for the day, sure, but know what the #1 most important priority is for your day. Do that first. Yes, it’s likely something gnarly, intimidating, not as much fun. But it’s at the top of your list for a reason. Too often, getting #2-5 on your list done isn’t nearly as important as #1.
Idea capture & triage
Your brain works much faster than you do. It’ll have ideas all day long, but those ideas are fleeting if you don’t write them down. Get in the habit of capturing more of your ideas and inspirations, then triage them later. The minority will be “do it now” ideas, some will be “file for later”, some won’t be relevant enough to keep. Separate capture & triage optimize quantity and quality.
Keep your email offline as much as possible. Focus as little time in your inbox as possible. 90 percent of your inbox is other people’s priorities anyway. Get in, get out, get back to work.
Know your energy patterns
Everybody has different energy habits and patterns. For some, early morning is their best most productive time. For others, it’s mid to late evening. Equally important is knowing when you typically have low energy. For me, that’s early to midafternoon. I try not to schedule significant brain time work in that window, but know there’s plenty of lower low-energy tasks and projects I can use that time for.
The Daily Do
Make yourself a checklist of the things you need to do on a regular basis. Most will become muscle memory, but the checklist is a safety net. This can be everything from writing, prospecting, lead follow-up, social media activity, whatever is important to you on a regular basis. For me, the “Daily Do” list changes often but it’s a constant throughout the work week.
Two minute rule
If it’s in your inbox and takes two minutes or less to complete, do it right now. If it’s not worth doing, get rid of it. If you don’t have two minutes right now, you probably shouldn’t be checking your email anyway!
Five minute rule
Those intimidating projects usually aren’t so bad once you get started. That’s why I always give myself exactly five minutes to start something that’s hard. After five minutes, it’s typically not nearly as intimidating, plus I have a better sense for how long it’s actually going to take to complete. And oftentimes, I just get it done right there and then.
Anytime tasks available anywhere
Keep a constant list of things you can think about or brainstorm with you at all times. For me, I keep these in my Outlook Tasks (available via TaskTask on my iPhone) sorted with the @Anywhere tag. This can be anything – brainstorming blog post content, thinking through a new marketing strategy, making a weekend project list, etc. Little pockets of time throughout the day (waiting in line, for example) can become little pockets of productivity.
Take care of yourself (sleep, exercise, rest)
Get enough sleep. Exercise. Let your brain rest. Watch stupid television from time to time. Find a hobby that’s diametrically different from what you do all day. Recharging is a critical part of being more productive when you’re intently working.
Curious to hear what’s missing from this list that’s key to your own productivity…