How to be productive is just a difficult thing on a regular basis, but what happens if you are managing two or more different projects at the same time, that could be crazy, I know about it.
If you are a solopreneur, running a business on your own, you probably think days should have 30 hours at least. We are alone most of the time, especially in the early stages of a business project, which means that you are a multitasking person.
I am active right now on three different projects. There is a sort of processes, techniques, and hacks to stay productive and avoid to be a procrastinator and I want to share with you come of them.
If I can resume the three core ideas around this, it would be prioritisation, delegation, and organisation.
If I want to stay focused and productive, I need to set my priorities every day.
On my daily routine, I get ready the night before, writing down and scheduling on my calendar every important task that I should be doing do the next day. This is a part of my daily routine.
My top priority every day is create new content.
I use Asana to organise all my tasks into different projects, mainly to set up repetitive tasks I need to do every day. Like "Writing 2 hours" every weekday —this tasks will show up on my calendar automatically every weekday.
If you take a look to my Asana, you can see every single task that I have to do, and I've done, and because is synchronised with my primary calendar I can organise my days around the key tasks. By the way, you can use Asana for free
Here I put the main tasks I should do every day, whatever happens, because if don't get done this tasks I know I'm a little further from my goals. So this is serious, what you do every day will mark the direction of your life for the coming years.
How to be productive is not about simple techniques, is a daily commitment.
You will need a high dose of auto control on this because most of your tasks are urgent, but not important. Remember what Dwight Eisenhower —34th President of the United States— said about this.
You can see in the graphic below how to identify what is important to you and what is just urgent but not important so that you can delegate, postpone or ignore this last one.
Things can be urgent or not urgent so that you can take action over this. On the contrary, not important things can be urgent or not urgent.
Your most terrible enemy are urgent things that are not important, because your head will tell you: "reply this email right now, they say is urgent!". Stay strong; you have to tame your email like a cowboy would tame a wild white steed.
Let me tell you how it works the Eisenhower box from my point of view:
I have a limited time to reply my emails every day. I just focus on responding email from 10 am to 12 am, that's all —and to be honest, I am considering to move my "email time" to after lunch, because in the mornings I have my peak creative time to produce better content, which is my top priority right now.
What happens if I receive an email just after 12 am that I need to reply? The answer is simple: there is not enough important email that can not wait until tomorrow at 10 am. Trust me; there is not. Nobody is going to die for this.
Building a strong discipline is essential to follow this process, I receive emails at any time "out of my email response time", but I know there is not just one email reply. If reply one email, then I will need to search for some document on my Google Drive, then update my CRM, then maybe I remember that I need a similar client and I can respond the same... and then I stop doing the important things I was doing and start working for somebody else agenda.
Do you get the idea? Discipline. I have a plan that works for my productivity; I just need to follow it.
Like many of you, I use Gmail as a base for my email accounts —which are a few. I like to keep separate projects into separate inboxes and having my email inbox open in different tabs just stress my out.
So I recommend you to use a good email manager, what I use is Kiwi for Gmail —no product endorsement— because it is straightforward and useful.
Is a Gmail account manager, where I can check different accounts, nothing crazy so far, but I have in the same window integrated Google Drive which is awesome.
Another important habit to keep controlled my email is avoiding at all cost long emails. What it's a long email for me? There is not a rule, but I could say anything with more than 100 words.
If you can not explain an idea with 100 words or less, then you are not clear enough about the notion. Email is just about sharing information to provoke in the recipient to take action, to anything else, you can attach a document, schedule a conference, a meeting or a simple call if you need to go into something in deep.
But avoid trying to solve the world with just one interminable email makes your life and your recipient's life happier.
If you are into different projects and you don't want to get crazy, burn out and quit, you will need to delegate. Period.
It's that simple and that complicated at the same time. Entrepreneur's brain resists delegating because of the Superhero syndrome. You can do everything, and nobody can do it better than you. How can you trust in somebody else doing the same work and the same way that you do?
The answer to this question is: establishing a processes.
Every task that you do systematically every week, every month or every day, you can delegate it. When you do a repetitive task you are following a process, even if you are not conscious of it.
You need to document every task that you need to delegate, create a manual, record a screen video to show exactly how you do it if you want.
Once you have "the manual" you can delegate the task to virtually anybody.
Should you delegate everything?
In my opinion no. You should not delegate your core tasks, at least at 100%.
For example, I can delegate the proofreading for my blogs posts, the images design and topic documentation but I can not delegate 100% my content process because I do Content Marketing.
It that makes sense?
I am becoming that kind of annoying guy that write everything on his calendar. It is on my calendar or doesn't exist.
My workday looks like this:
6:25 am wake up, 7 am reading time (industry books), 8 am 2 hours content creation (usually writing), 10 am to 12 am client follow up for my second business (an International business consulting).
In the afternoons I'm more flexible and open to schedule meetings and other stuff like creating a landing page, improving an ad or any other tasks that demand the daily work.
But the important thing here is that whatever happens, every day I'll be doing all the necessary actions that I need to do to succeed with my business goals.
If you contact me at 9 am, my phone, Skype and other distractions are off, because I'm writing and doing nothing else. Even if I know in my inbox are several emails to reply, that's not the moment, I just need to wait until 10 am, and then just response all at once.
I'm sorry if this is a bit too much of reality, but there are no short cuts in doing all this. And if you are a Solopreneur running your own business, you can organise extremely well to be highly productive, but I am not going to talk you about a simple, fast and easy way to be a Solopreneur working in different projects a few hours and spending the rest of the day on holidays.
It takes time, resources, experience, years of hard work to create the business of your dreams. But first, you need to commit with your business purpose.
It's time to take some actions. Because you perfectly know if just read this and find out interesting it's not enough.
This is a place for doers!
Featured image Freepik