That’s all there is to it. Productivity goes with organization like two peas in a pod, peanut butter and jelly, love and marriage. To be more productive in life you must become more organized. You must learn how to make systems out of the things that need to get done.
Here are three main tips to be more productive today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year:
1. Use Your Calendar To Be More Productive
Put everything you need to do in your calendar, including working on tomorrow’s to-do list. Go ahead. Schedule that for 9:00pm. I’ll wait ….
When you put appointments in your calendar with an alert, like working on tomorrow’s to-do list, your appointments will get done.
Scheduling tasks with alerts is really important. Make sure you enter your to-dos in your calendar with alerts, and do it consistently. You may find alerts annoying at first, but they will serve you well! They will faithfully remind you to get that scheduled to-do done at the exact time you scheduled it for.
2. Set Up A System For Your Email Inbox To Be More Productive
If you don’t have a system set up for your email inbox, you’ve got a major time suck on your hands! (Hark! Do I hear “Ughs,” sighs and moaning?)
Here’s what you need to do. Realize that you have a problem on your hands. (Judging by all the ughs, sighs and moaning, it is safe to say that the problem has been realized by many of you.) There is a bunch of spam or sales messages inside your email inbox. They are the source of your email inbox time suck, and you need to get rid of them. You can’t get rid of all of them, but you can organize your email inbox and become more effective. (Hallelujah and happy dance!)
Steps To Organize Your Email Inbox
- Delete all of the emails you don’t need.
- File the emails you want to keep.
Avoid leaving emails in your inbox! Doing so makes it harder and harder and harder to find emails over time. Instead, create folders for everything. You can create as many as you want. Move each email that is needed from your inbox and save it into the folder you have created so that you are able to access it later.
For example, create a project folder for every project you are working on or a client folder for every client you have. When email comes in, leave it there if it needs to be worked on immediately. If it’s something that you need to access later, move it to its folder. This creates a complete chronological order of the things that you need to get done for that project or client.
Now you can take it a step farther. Break down each project or client folder into as many other folders as necessary. You could have one folder for financials and others for tasks that must be done for that specific project or client. All subjects have their own separate folders. (Business growth tip: Create folders for your own projects and marketing, too. You are your client and your business needs systems and consistent attention, too).
Create folders for completed tasks. For example, when you finish a project, file it in a folder marked “Completed Projects for (20–). You should have one for each year, 2015, 2016, 2017, etc. As soon as a task is completed, it should no longer be in the main area of your email inbox. Now you’re only focusing on the things that are urgent that must be done now.
This is the cornerstone of your system to make sure you stay organized.
- Set aside a time to clean out your email inbox. Whether you choose to do clean out your inbox every day or once a week, put it in your calendar and do it consistently. Sunday nights are perfect for this to-do, because there isn’t a lot happening. Just sayin’.
Go through your inbox and delete, delete, delete, file, file, file or leave the tasks that have to get done the next day there in the inbox. When you’re done deleting, filing or leaving tasks in your inbox, your inbox will have less than 20 items in it. Can you get it down to five or three? That’s even better!
When you get your email inbox down to no more than 20 emails for the next day, you’ll see clearly what must be worked on immediately.
Now you can scroll to the bottom of your list of emails and know what must get done first for the day. As new emails pop into your inbox, leave them alone until the time you have scheduled for cleaning out your email arrives.
(Are you overwhelmed with all of this? Just start somewhere. Making a little bit of progress at a time will eventually get your email to the point where you can do exactly what has been laid out for you above).
3. Organize Your Tasks
Start organizing the projects you need to get done. Strive to get the five most important projects done each day.
- Break down each project into tasks inside the project.
- Add them to today’s to-do list and organize them by priority.
- Now go back and prioritize your tasks. Number them one through five, number one being the hardest and most time-consuming task that needs to get done.
- Start working down that list until all five things are done.
Once you complete the five most important to-dos on your list, start working on your money-making activities (MMAs), business-making activities (BMAs) and customer-maintenance activities (CMAs).
As you finish each to-do, check it off your to-do list as complete.
Now you’ve got a complete, organized system that will help stay on top of every task that needs to get done each day, and you’re ready for tomorrow’s to-dos. How To Market Your Services talks a lot about productivity, consistency and systems.
Remember These Two Important Things About Being More Productive
- You cannot manage time. Time manages you. You can manage your tasks, but not your time. Managing your tasks is the answer to maximizing the time you have each day.
- What gets measured gets done. Putting each task into your calendar with an alert and putting each task onto a to-do list is measuring your day. This will keep you from falling prey to social media rabbit holes and other time sucks.
Always start with today’s top five tasks. They are the most important tasks to do. They are the to-dos that will propel your business forward.
Organize your time and your tasks to be more productive in life and in your business.
If you need help with content marketing for your business, contact Rockin’ Robin Virtual Assistance at (307) 631-1867 today. Schedule a 15-minute consultation and find out how Rockin’ Robin can manage your blogging and social media tasks for you every week.
Also, check out Brian Basilico’s Productivity Bundle here: theproductivitybundle.com. He offers the fantastic system to help you be more productive as described above.