When it comes to productivity, we all face the same challenge—there are only 24 hours in a day.
Yet some people seem to have twice the time; they have an uncanny ability to get things done. Even when juggling multiple projects, they reach their goals without fail.
“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose. –Thomas Edison”
We all want to get more out of life. There’s arguably no better way to accomplish this than by finding ways to do more with the precious time you’ve been given.
It feels incredible when you leave the office after an ultra-productive day. It’s a workplace high that’s hard to beat.
With the right approach, you can make this happen every day.
You don’t need to work longer or push yourself harder—you just need to work smarter.
Ultra-productive people know this. As they move through their days they rely on productivity hacks that make them far more efficient. They squeeze every drop out of every hour without expending any extra effort.
The best thing about these hacks is they’re easy to implement. So easy that you can begin using them today.
Give them a read, give them a whirl, and watch your productivity soar.
1. They Never Touch Things Twice
Productive people never put anything in a holding pattern, because touching things twice is a huge time-waster. Don’t save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention you should act on it, delegate it or delete it.
2. They Get Ready for Tomorrow Before They Leave the Office
Productive people end each day by preparing for the next. This practice accomplishes two things: it helps you solidify what you’ve accomplished today, and it ensures you’ll have a productive tomorrow. It only takes a few minutes and it’s a great way to end your workday.
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned. –Benjamin Franklin”
3. They Eat Frogs
“Eating a frog” is the best antidote for procrastination, and ultra-productive people start each morning with this tasty treat. In other words, they do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on their to-do list before they do anything else. After that, they’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires them.
4. They Fight The Tyranny Of The Urgent
The tyranny of the urgent refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem as urgent actions often have little impact.
If you succumb to the tyranny of the urgent, you can find yourself going days, or even weeks, without touching the important stuff. Productive people are good at spotting when putting out fires is getting in the way of their performance, and they’re willing to ignore or delegate the things that get in the way of real forward momentum.
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. –William Penn”
5. They Stick to the Schedule During Meetings
Meetings are the biggest time waster there is. Ultra-productive people know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule. This sets a limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. –Michael Altshuler”
6. They Say No
No is a powerful word that ultra-productive people are not afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, they avoid phrases such as I don’t think I can or I’m not certain. Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.
Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood, as well as your productivity.
7. They Only Check E-mail At Designated Times
Ultra-productive people don’t allow e-mail to be a constant interruption. In addition to checking e-mail on a schedule, they take advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender. They set alerts for their most important vendors and their best customers, and they save the rest until they reach a stopping point. Some people even set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when they’ll be checking their e-mail again.
8. They Don’t Multitask
Ultra-productive people know that multitasking is a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.
But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.
Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.
9. They Go off The Grid
Don’t be afraid to go off grid when you need to. Give one trusted person a number to call in case of emergency, and let that person be your filter. Everything has to go through them, and anything they don’t clear has to wait. This strategy is a bulletproof way to complete high-priority projects.
“One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week. –Charles Richards”
10. They Delegate
Ultra-productive people accept the fact that they’re not the only smart, talented person in their organization. They trust people to do their jobs so that they can focus on their own.
11. They Put Technology to Work for Them
Technology catches a lot of flak for being a distraction, but it can also help you focus. Ultra-productive people put technology to work for them. Beyond setting up filters in their e-mail accounts so that messages are sorted and prioritized as they come in, they use apps like IFTTT, which sets up contingencies on your smart phone and alerts you when something important happens. This way, when your stock hits a certain price or you have an email from your best customer, you’ll know it. There’s no need to be constantly checking your phone for status updates.
Bringing It All Together
We’re all searching for ways to be more efficient and productive. I hope these strategies help you to find that extra edge.
Originally posted on TalentSmart.com by Travis Bradberry, PhD
There is nothing more valuable to any team or company than people of good character. These types of people hold traits within themselves that separate them from others. When hiring, the one thing we want to look for is an idea of their character.
If we hire a person with substandard character but who can produce, we may benefit financially but will deal with a host of problems caused by their poor character that become more of a headache than it’s worth. We want to hire and work alongside people who can produce but who also demonstrate exceptional character. In my new book Success Equations: A Path to Living an Emotionally Wealthy Life, I discuss the importance of exceptional character. Here are some of the traits I define.
At the core of any person with good character is honesty. They do their work clean, according to what is right, and never cheat or lie to get ahead of the curve. People with good character are who they say they are and deliver what has been promised by them and expected of them. Honesty is what separates the activator from the procrastinator, the dreamer from the doer, and the successful from the non-successful. When it comes to character, we are not what we think, we are not what we say, we are what we do.
Character is largely developed from suffering the trials and errors of life. Survivors stick, they don’t quit. People of exceptional character do not quit when times get tough, nor do they treat others terribly when things don’t go their way. People who possess exceptional character have the faith and tough-mindedness to stay in the grind and get things accomplished regardless of the odds. There is a lot to be said about staying power. The more others quit under the same stressors, the more opportunity and grit the person of good character has to make sure to secure what they set out to achieve.
People of good character are loving people. They take the time to care. They understand that when people feel cared for they will do almost anything for them. In reality, there is no way to fake genuine caring. It has a completely different vibe than “selling” or “convincing.” People of good character impact others as deeply as they do and people want to work along side them because of their loving and genuine nature. When we work around, for or with people who are caring there is less absenteeism, fewer missed or canceled meetings and higher rates of productivity because people enjoy working around those who raise their morale.
When people possess good character, leadership is the natural side effect. People want to follow those who have suffered, those who possess self-awareness, patience and the ability to rise above. No matter their title in the business world, people of exceptional character draw a following with word of mouth supporting and promoting their reputation as someone others should invest in learning from and working with. When a person’s character is authentic, they live with a quiet resolve about them that others feel compelled to trust, emulate and follow.
Self-control is one the most powerful traits of people who possess exceptional character. They have a calm demeaner as demonstrated in their ability to be patient and listen to others. It takes a certain amount of self-control to listen rather than talk. It is this elegant nature of those with good character that not only makes them a bit mysterious but also so interesting to others. People of good character recognize that gentleness is their greatest strength. They are above the pettiness of right and wrong when in conflict or facing challenge. They are more interested in finding the path to the solution that involves inclusion and innovation; ideas given by everyone.
6. Hard worker
Good character and hard work go hand in hand. None of us are born with good character. Good character is developed over time and through the virtues of hard work and commitment. We cannot develop our character without having to work hard and to suffer through times of conflict and challenge. The reason hard work develops character is because it is the only thing that can outdo and outlast both genius and talent.
More than anything, people of good character are deeply driven to help others. They do not view success and selfishness as being at all compatible. Once person’s success is also another’s. The greatest thing people of good character believe in and do is help others succeed. These types of people will jump in and help in any way they can, especially when it is good for the team. Success is never viewed as a one-man position. Success is always a team effort.
Perhaps the greatest standout quality of people with exceptional character is how they inspire others nearly effortlessly. They don’t often need to be center stage or the person who’s getting all the attention; rather, they are the calm force who people listen to when they talk. Everything about these types of people make them stand out from the rest. Their most notable traits being great composure and smart decision-making.
Possessing exceptional character is more than being praised for our talent or intellect. Those are things common to all. We each have our intellectual gifts and unique talents. Those who possess good character stand out from the rest in the honing of their skills and intellect, making sure to use it for good rather than self-promotion. Good character is not given to us, like talents and IQ. It is something people have to cultivate though thought, choice, courage, commitment and dogged determination.
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Sherrie Campbell
When former First Lady Barbara Bush penned her autobiography, her editor placed limits on the frequency with which she could use the words “close friend,” “wonderful” (once per page) and “precious” (once per chapter). She was widely known for her loving nature, her positive outlook on life and her sharp wit. “Not bad to have had a life that was filled with wonderful people and happenings, precious family, and many close friends,” she pointedly wrote on the first page of her memoir.
In honor of Bush’s passing on Tuesday at age 92, here are some of her most enduring pieces of wisdom — and a few trademark zingers — about literacy, love and life.
“Love brings a tear. Friends bring a tear. A smile, sweetness, even a kind word brings a tear. In a life of privilege there are lots of tears.” (From her autobiography, 1994)
“Whether you are talking about education, career or service, you are talking about life … and life really must have joy. It’s supposed to be fun!” (From her Wellesley College commencement address, 1990)
“You have two choices in life: You can like what you do, or you can dislike it. I have chosen to like it.” (From the Barbara Pierce Bush online memorial)
“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” (From the George H.W. Bush Library Center)
“Believe in something larger than yourself… Get involved in some of the big ideas of our time. I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society.” (From her Wellesley College commencement address, 1990)
“The home is the child’s first school, the parent is the child’s first teacher, and reading is the child’s first subject.” (From the Barbara Pierce Bush online memorial)
“One of the many things we have learned in all our travels is that it’s the people who count… Most people everywhere are interesting, and if you can’t find a friend, then maybe there is something wrong with you.” (From her autobiography, 1994)
On George H.W. Bush:
“I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell this to my children, they just about throw up.” (From the Barbara Pierce Bush online memorial)
“One of the reasons I made the most important decision of my life … to marry George Bush … is because he made me laugh. It’s true, sometimes we’ve laughed through our tears … but that shared laughter has been one of our strongest bonds.” (From her Wellesley College commencement address, 1990)
“Once, when George and I were visiting after we were married, Mother asked him not to go to the bathroom at night because he woke her up when he flushed the toilet. George, already inventive at 21 years of age, went out the window!” (From her autobiography, 1994)
“He is my hero.” (From her autobiography, 1994)
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Hayden Field
I sat down with entrepreneur David Schloss to learn just that. David Schloss’ expertise is Facebook advertising. But in 2014, at age 25, he nearly became completely irrelevant. It had been a tough year. Things weren’t clicking. On Halloween that year, David had zero dollars in his bank account. He was only 72 hours away from either coming up with his rent payment or getting kicked out. His car was two weeks away from getting impounded. It felt like walls were closing in. His business was crumbling. In this period of confusion, anxiety, self-doubt, and worry, David was a single decision away from committing “career suicide,” and going back to a 9-to-5 day job.
Thankfully, for David, he turned things around. He didn’t go back to being an employee. Instead, he navigated through the tough time and today is the proud owner of a successful and thriving company. What changed? How did this one entrepreneur break through? How did he get up from his rock bottom? Here are four keys entrepreneurs can use to make it through the tough time, get on track, and rise up in business and life.
1. Let yourself be vulnerable.
Sometimes we hit walls. We struggle. Sometimes we lose. Too often as entrepreneurs, we hide those struggles. The problem is, if you don’t let yourself be real and vulnerable when you’re struggling, you will actually hold yourself back from progressing through the tough time.
In David’s period of uncertainty, being vulnerable proved to be a powerful key in his turnaround. David had hundreds of business friends on Facebook. Realizing he needed help, David reached out to every last one of them for advice and guidance. Two things happened. First, he discovered that he wasn’t alone — many other entrepreneurs had gone through similar things. That helped him develop confidence that he could get through it too. Second, they gave him actionable advice to get on the right track.
Had David stayed “closed up,” he wouldn’t have had the support he needed from others to help him move forward. When you’re in a tough spot, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sharing the struggle is the bravest thing you can do. Being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.
2. Develop a vision.
Ask yourself, “What do I want to create?”
It’s difficult to know if you’re progressing when you don’t know where you’re going. Stephen Covey in Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, writes about beginning with the end in mind. Know where you want to end up at the beginning of the trip. Reverse engineer what you want to do and where you want to go. That will become your North Star guiding your direction.
David developed a vision for the future he wanted to create. He used the advice from his colleagues to help him get super clear on his vision and direction. It’s that vision got him get out of bed in the morning and motivated his work.
Vision is critical. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
3. Create an action plan.
Vision is where you’re going, action is what gets you there. You’ve heard “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While that’s true, there’s an important distinction to be made — your plan must be based on “action” instead of based on “results.”
In my first book, Fish Out of Water, I explain how successful “sharks” focus on what’s inside their control, vs. outside their control. While the result is not always directly within your control, action is.
David got clear on where he wanted to go, then made a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly plan of action of how he was going to get there. To him, success wasn’t based on the amount of money he made; it was based on the actions he took to make that money. He believed that if he took the right actions, results would come as a byproduct of those actions — and they did.
Decide what you want, then focus on the thing you can control to get there. Focus on action.
It’s no surprise that things don’t always go the way we planned. Persistence is a decision to keep moving towards the vision no matter the hiccups along the way. It’s not just doing “what it takes.” It’s doing “whatever it takes.” It’s falling down, and getting up again anyway. Life is like a chess game. You create a plan and a strategy, but how you win will not be the exact way you planned. Why? There are many unknown variables. It’s continuing to take the action, and not turning back.
Things didn’t abruptly become sunshine and roses while David was in the day-to-day grind, but he persisted no matter what. That’s why he is where he is today. Planning is what gets you moving, persistence is what keeps you going.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting adventure and a fulfilling journey, not just a satisfying destination. It’s not just about where we are going, but who we become throughout the process. David began to realize he wasn’t even the same person anymore. He was changing. It was like he was a butterfly now and, while he didn’t know it at the time, the low point was his metamorphosis.
As I talked about in a recent podcast interview, often times it’s the struggle that turns us into a great entrepreneur. So just remember, when you’re in a tough spot as an entrepreneur, it only means you’re being reborn into the new you. The exciting question is, what will your metamorphosis look like?
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Calvin Wayman
No matter who you are, life changes — whether it be a new city or job, marriage, a child — can be seriously overwhelming. When Michelle Kennedy had her son Finn, she found her world transformed. Kennedy shared her insights about why you need failure to get clarity and how channeling your passion helps you build up an inner resolve to go to bat for your business when it truly counts.
Kennedy saw the online dating industry grow and change over the past few years as general counsel and then deputy CEO of Badoo and then as an advisor and member of Bumble’s board. She understood how to connect people, but throughout her pregnancy and as a new mom, she felt isolated.
Kennedy wanted to build a network of other moms, a support system who she could call for help, advice or just an afternoon out. It occurred to her that she had all the tools she needed at her disposal to do just that, not only for her, but for other women in her position.
“On those long days it felt obvious — why don’t I just use the algorithms that we use in dating to help me find that network?” Kennedy told Entrepreneur. That initial frustration turned into a promising idea and platform: Peanut.
Since it launched in September 2016, Kennedy and her team have grown the business to 170,000 users and counting, who are generating more than 100,000 swipes per day. More than 15 million profiles have been viewed and 700,000 messages have been sent.
Interview edited for brevity and clarity.
What advice do you have for someone who is going to take the leap and start their own business?
You have to have the thickest skin. Like a rhino. And even if you think these things aren’t going to knock you and hurt, they do. So you have to kind of be resilient enough to be prepared for that. That’s what I wish I would have known. I think building a business is all consuming. You are absolutely living and breathing it. You don’t sleep because you’re thinking about it. It consumes you. And that means that if someone does something that is unsupportive, that seems magnified because it’s so important. We sometimes forget that there is an emotional cost, and it’s OK to talk about that. It doesn’t make you less of an entrepreneur. It doesn’t make you softer or less effective or any of those things. It means that it is just another factor that I think perhaps we don’t talk about.
Building a successful business is hard. That’s why most people look for short-cuts and quick fixes to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, success doesn’t come from cutting corners. Indeed, in any endeavor, it’s the overcoming challenges and achieving what you set out to do that makes the success so sweet.
The truth is, there is no “secret” to building a successful home business. What it takes is:
Depending on your level of confidence, it might be better to suggest you have faith over belief.
For many home based entrepreneurs who struggle or fail, the thing that gets in their way of success is themselves. Because they don’t believe they can achieve success, they don’t do the tasks that need to be done or if they do, they don’t do them with the right attitude and amount of oomph.
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” The truth is, when you don’t believe, you don’t have the muscle to work and overcome. Instead, challenges and set-backs are used as proof that you can’t do it. On the other hand, people who have belief keep striving regardless of the obstacles and eventually reach success. Belief is fuel that will help you stay the course.
Have a Vision
Vision serves two-fold. First, it gives you a mark to strive for. It’s difficult to reach a goal if you don’t know what it is. What does success in home business look like to you? Second, it provides motivation.
Fear may be the biggest dream killer of them all. Fear keeps people in their comfort zone, where it may be safe, but it’s not where success lives.
Fear keeps you from taking action or believing your action will have results. It is scary to set a course in the unknown. Will your efforts work? What will people say? Will people like your product or service? Will you be able to make money? Because these questions can’t be answered, it’s daunting to forge forward simply with grit and belief. That’s when resistance and procrastination set in. But no one ever achieved success without courage to step into the unknown.
Success doesn’t happen without action. Winning the lottery might make you rich, but it doesn’t make you a success. And when you consider that most lottery winners blow their money and end up poor again, easy riches don’t build the skills and character needed to retain it. Action not only moves you toward your goal, but through it you learn what works and what doesn’t, you develop tenacity and persistence, and you build character.
Surround Yourself With Quality People
Just because you’re building a home business, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Starting and growing a business is hard work, and sometimes an encouraging word goes a long way to keeping you motivated. Coaches and mentors can be very helpful in giving you the skills and support you need. Mastermind groups can also provide emotional support, as well as feedback and tips to help you build your business.
Having a vision for your business is a great way to develop focus. The trick is to not get distracted by shiny object syndrome. Shiny objects appear to be helpful initially. They’re the brand new marketing system or get-rich-fast program. Ultimately, they take away your focus, and waste time and money. When you develop your vision, you also create a path to achieving it. Stay focused on your plan and don’t let yourself get sidetracked by shiny objects.
Get Back Up
More than anything, success in home business, or any goal, is the ability to keep striving for success in the face of set-backs and failure. It doesn’t matter what business you decide to start, you’ll experience problems and challenges.
Many people bump into an obstacle or don’t achieve the results they want fast enough and view these challenges as stop signs. But successful people view them as problems that need to be learned from and overcome. Study any successful person you admire and you’ll discover he or she endured obstacles and failures. Instead of giving up, they got back up, dusted themselves off, and got working again.
Originally posted on the balance by Leslie Truex