One of the questions I get asked most of the time is…
“How do you do it? You’ve got school, friends, (girls?) + this huge business thingy. How do you do it?”
Before I start blabbing about the “ceremonies” and “chants” that I do that help me handle all those stuff, I’d like to tell you upfront that…
I AM THE WORST TIME MANAGER EVER.
Goofyness aside, I am. I am always late at almost all stuff + I keep forgetting things (Heck, there was once a time that I asked my dad where my iPhone was and it was just in my hands!)
Here’s The Secret…
That was kinda cheesy, but here’s how I do it…
(Some are from personal experience and some are those stuff that really, has worked from the start.)
1. Get Into A “Spell”
This is probably the hardest part to do for me back then. Sounds very simple, but very hard to do.
The thing is, you should get “in” to a spell – or a “work trance”. When you’re in that spell, you can do almost anything, even if it’s the most boring task, when you’re in a spell, it’ll be hard to stop you.
Now here’s a little technique I do to get in to that spell…
What I’ll do is I’d start my day with a very easy task. A task that I like to do – say firing up Photoshop and whipping out banners or arranging computer files (hey, I like doing it. OCD?) Then progress on complicated tasks to the most boring tasks.
Now what happens is that the easy tasks will get me in the mood so as Iprogress to the most boring tasks, I’m already in that “work trance”.
I wouldn’t recommend starting your day with emails because you’ll definitely get lost with who you are talking to. Starting your day with your daily reads isn’t a good idea for me also.
2. Daily To Do List
This is probably the most overused tactic.
But hey, this is VERY crucial – without a daily to-do list, I’d be lost and probably would wander off to Youtube after 10 minutes of work.
Making a to-do list could be one of the very easy task you can do to get into that “spell” too. Takes me around 5-10 minutes.
One of the most important things you should do is to prioritize tasks, or arrange them from easy to hard if there’s no time constraint to help you get into a spell.
By the way, I use Google Tasks on gmail.
3. Cross Out Finished Tasks
I didn’t know that little things like this would matter – but when you finish tasks, it’s important that you cross them out or make a mark or something that tells that you have successfully completed it.
This will give you a sense of accomplishment, and if you’re like me, you’d feel more relaxed.
4. CLOSE Distractions
The biggest distractions that I have are Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Email and Youtube. And one of the biggest mistakes I made to avoid these distractions is to put a status message on Skype, Yahoo and Gmail…
“Message if important only”
Now what happens there is that yes, the number of people who message me reduces BUT the “temptation” (is that the right word?) to talk to someone is still there. Heck, even to look who’s online.
So here’s what I did.. I CLOSED IT.
That also applies to websites that waste your time – Youtube, Facebook, Flickr all sorts.
But there’s always a temptation to open it again right?
You can simply block a website by going to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc then opening “hosts” with notepad. (Note: to Vista users, open notepad first as an administrator then open the “hosts” file) then adding….
5. The Stop Play Music Routine
I don’t know why and how this works, but it serves me very well.
The idea is, to play 3 of my favorite songs in a row to start my day.
Although I did mention before to turn the music off, I found out something better…
When the first song starts, I’d go ahead with my first easy task to get into that “spell” then when the 3rd song is in the half way, I’d stop it and just continue working afterwards – this really gets me in the mood.
I don’t know, maybe the first 2 songs gets me to that “spell” then stopping at the 3rd song helps me concentrate to the tasks instead of the song.
6. Take Notes, Don’t Act Right Away
Yes, they say that without action, you won’t get anything.
But, with action PLUS the right timing, you’ll get everywhere.
So when you’re in the middle of a task and an idea or an additional task pops out of your brain – right it down and get to it later on after you finish what you’re currently doing.
Learn to say no.
There are stuff that won’t really benefit you that much, learn to say no to interviews, to meetups, to speaking engagements.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to say it with an all caps “NO!” but you don’t want to beat around the bush as well. Be frank, but polite.
8. Delegate & Automate
This changed my life.
And I hope this will change their life too.
The thing is, I’m not really like the master of internet marketing. There are a lot of stuff that I don’t know how to do. I can’t even code or touch a single php script.
Not to mention, how I suck at copywriting and PPC.
But here’s the secret… I let other people do these stuff for me.
Since I got my first fulltime employee working for me, the time I spent on my business is less but I’m still able to maintain the income.
These stuff are just some of my personal techniques – and I can’t even say that I’m “that” productive – I’m able to do stuff nonetheless.
So if you’ve got something that really keeps you productive, I’d love to hear it :)