If you thought you sucked at prioritisation and time management think again. If there was a most wanted list for procrastinating on tasks, two years ago I would've been in the top three.
It was by force of effort and working insane hours that I got things done. It wasn't sustainable, effective or the highest possible value it should've been. Despite that I pushed anyway and was the top sales and account manager for 6 years running. But every week I was exhausted.
It wasn't until 2 years ago that enough was enough and I decided there be to be a better way. I began to study productivity and looked more closely at my daily decisions and commitments.
I was not evaluating the cost of the decisions made and not made. I was over-committing and taking on too much too quickly.
It wasn't until this year that all I was learning started to make sense in my daily and weekly routines and activity. Being a dad of 5 it was about time.
· Instead of being exhausted I had more energy.
· Instead of stressing out on unfinished tasks I got the right stuff done and everything else could wait.
· Instead of just saying yes or no to requests or tasks I had a specific set of criteria that would inform my decisions (no matter how good it might sound). This lead to better and profitable opportunities and relationships.
I want these same results for you. I've shared the top eight most powerful productivity hacks from three experts I admire Rory Vaden, Kevin Kruse and Greg McKeown. All eight of these tips have helped transform my productivity and get the right stuff done.
1. Be a time multiplier. Spend time today so you multiply time tomorrow. Eliminate all unnecessary tasks that do not add to accomplishing higher level goals, automate repetitive tasks, delegate and procrastinate (for the most optimal time to do that task).
2. Significance over urgency. Do things by design rather than default. You can choose what you focus on instead of reacting to other people’s agendas. Get clear on what you want and don't be afraid to communicate that with others including your customers.
3. Avoid to do lists. Research has shown to do lists can actually increase, not reduce, stress and is known as the Zeigarnik effect. Unfinished tasks contribute to intrusive, uncontrolled thoughts. To do lists do not account for time taken to accomplish it so you can find yourself constantly in a not being done list. Is it helpful to write things down? Absolutely! But make lists to determine what is most important. Then schedule in the time to your calendar based on the realistic time you need to get that important task done.
4. Be a time traveller. Look at your whole week and think about the people or things coming up that may get in the way of you achieving your goal. Make room for those potential disruptions. Better yet, address them in advance. For example, have you been invited to a number of meetings that you really don't need to attend? It's time to have a helpful and proactive conversation with the organiser and excuse yourself where possible.
5. Stay hydrated. Sounds simple but it can be easily missed. Poor hydration has been proven to reduce the quality of your thinking, your resilience and emotional control. Researchers from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found that even mild dehydration alters a person’s mood, energy levels and mental function. Don't be Mr Jackal when you can be Mr Hyde by having a bottle of water near to you.
6. Have a cut-off point. Know yourself and take the pressure off. We can sometimes feel pressured to get a task done even when we know we're not at our best. As much as I believe in grinding things out, sometimes it’s best to restart the next day. You can arrive with more confidence and clarity to get things done because you've rested.
7. Make relationships part of your weekly schedule. This is something I've come to realise. Productivity is actually fuelled through relationships. The right relationships can energise you, help to clarify and problem solve for you. They can help you get the right work done faster. For example, include someone from the finance department in preparing a financial analysis document that helps fast track a proposal.
8. Say no to most and yes to what matters. I probably struggle with this the most. Like you I love to help. I can be a sucker for a quick catch up or pick-your-brains meeting. It’s important to be focused but friendly. Here is a simple model to saying no for those who may find it challenging. Show you care about their request, e.g. “I appreciate you thinking of me but I'm committed to getting this specific task done which needs my full attention for the next 24 hours” or “Have you tried X? Or if it can wait I can spare 10 min to brainstorm at 4pm” or “I wish you all the best with the task/meeting. Come back to me on Friday at 4pm if you do need anything else. I won’t be free until then”.
All these are a discipline but if implemented can truly transform your daily and weekly success. I've picked on a few ideas here from three great authors. I'd encourage you to pick up the books (I get no fee for these recommendations). Their work has been very helpful to my continued success and is what I teach in my key account 90 day programmes.
If you want to talk key account growth programmes, coaching and accelerating your sales and customer relationship success, get in touch HERE
Key Account Growth Guide - New Key Account Thinking for Greater Sales Results