Entrepreneurs, and people in general, get inundated with a LOT of different choices. And in today’s day and age, I’ve noticed the world is more ‘Crazy Busy’ than it’s ever been in history. (‘Crazy Busy’ is a term coined by my good friend, and famous Harvard graduate psychiatrist, Dr. Edward (Ned) Hallowell.)
In fact, there’s more data coming at us than ever before, and it’s easy to get thrown off track. You either manage modern life… or it will manage you.
So, in order to manage modern life, we need to learn to become PRODUCTIVE. But what is “productivity?”
The definition of Productivity is this… Maximum Results, Least Amount Of Time.
The definition of Leverage is this… Maximum Results, Least Amount Of Effort.
Just understanding and identifying productivity and leverage is critical. And to get the maximum results in the least amount of time and with the least amount of effort… it’s going to require you to be willing to spend time on things that are highly productive activities based on your goals, your unique abilities, your passion, and your interests.
You might think to yourself: “So, what are some of the best way to be productive?”
Well, firstly, you need a Productive Environment. If you want to be healthy, you can’t get healthy if your environment is filled with junk food, or with people that are drinking and smoking, or if you have toxins surrounding you. You need to be in an environment that’s healthy and supports you being healthy.
Your Productive Environment is a place you can literally go and think, where you can focus, and where your attention is not being interrupted every other minute. In many cases, that means you shouldn’t be in front of a computer or on the Internet.
Now, some people ask me: “Joe, how do YOU make time to get things done? What is one of YOUR personal/business productivity secrets?”
Let me share with you a productivity secret I personally use: I get more productive work done in two hours in the library than I would get done in an entire day in my office. Now, that may not work for you, but it works for me, and I’ve given this advice to hundreds of people over the last decade. When they follow this advice, they’ve always reported back to me that just getting into the right environment usually makes them more productive.
In fact… one of the very best things for successful entrepreneurs is to NOT have an office. Why? Because an office, for many people, is a place where entrepreneurs or business owners go to pretend they’re doing work… but they’re really just getting distracted all the time. Remember: If they can’t find you, they can’t interrupt you. Instead, go to places like a public library, or a coffee shop, or some place where you’re not going to be interrupted so that you can really THINK and FOCUS.
Here’s something you can do RIGHT NOW to get rid of your office. Read the book “How The Best Get Better” by Dan Sullivan. You can find the book at www.strategiccoach.com. That book is incredible if you want more information on how to get rid of your office.
If you’re still finding yourself completely overwhelmed (which is one of the biggest problems and issues entrepreneurs face these days), here’s what you can do.
Sit down and ask yourself: “If I had to put a dollar figure on all of the things that I need to get done, which one is going to give me the highest return on money, and which one is going to have the highest likelihood that I can actually do something with it?”
In fact, if you don’t have any other criteria to decide what to spend your time on, then spend your time on the thing that is going to bring you the highest likelihood of money and that have the highest probability of working.
That reminds me something my friend Mary Ellen Tribby says. Mary Ellen Tribby is the Founder and CEO of www.workingmomsonly.com and former publisher of Early to Rise. What Mary Ellen says is this: One Thing Done Equals Money. Five Things Undone Equals No Money. So, if your goal is to make money productively, then you need to focus on getting one thing done to completion.
Also, make sure in your quest of pursuing excellence that you’re doing things that really DO matter and really DO need to be done. My favorite Peter Drucker quote is: “There’s nothing more useless than doing well that which need not be done at all.”
Constantly question what you’re spending your time on, because, frankly, a not to-do list is more important than a to-do list.
IN FACT… right now… pull out a piece of paper and write down 10 things you’re doing that you really should NOT be doing because they’re robbing you of productivity and leverage, and they’re not the highest and best use of your time.
If you do this, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more productive individual (and entrepreneur). Just remember two things: Firstly, this about developing a day to day habit that will serve you the rest of your life. And secondly, never confuse activity and accomplishment.
[Ed. Note. For one more productivity tip, watch this video by Dean Jackson, Joe’s business partner. The video is called “The 50-Minute Focus Finder” and you can watch it here. Joe Polish shares his best marketing ideas and strategies at www.iLoveMarketing.com and also has the best-selling program at Nightengale-Conant. In addition, Joe put together an uncensored sales program featuring content from the late Gary Halbert here.]