I’ve been tracking my time for 18 months, and here’s what I learned
1. To me personally (social) media is poison
I am sure some businesses thrive and get most of their clients through social media, bud when I spend time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ my productivity plummets. Social media often leads to a media site which covers “news” or news, which basically leads to some sort of fear, uncertainty, rumor or top 5 tips you’ve read over and over again about “resolve”, “perseverance”, “motivation”, “inspiration”. It’s all nice and entertaining, but now I have numbers that prove this doesn’t move the needle for my company. Not only am I not getting more signups or clients when I spend time here, I also sometimes feel depressed. If this shocked you, you can read this Forbes article, this clinical report, or this simple “how stuff works” post. I read somewhere that our brain was designed to avoid immediate threats (like the lion jumping us), and so our brain isn’t great at coping with all that’s thrown at him. Our brain thinks that a flood 1500 miles away from us is important, but it’s not.
Solution: Use a browser plugin (I use “StayFocused” on Chrome, and donated some money to them, but it’s a free app) and block websites that you feel don’t add to the bottom line. I am not saying you should only work, and never have fun, I am saying work when you are working, and use the spare time for your most important people and most important tasks. I would rather spend 15 minutes at the beach, than reading 30 minutes local newspapers.
2. Email comes as a close second to being the worst thing you can spend time on
Don’t get me wrong, using email as a lead generation, and planing a meeting or a Skype call is crucial, but how often do you catch yourself opening the same email three times? Or how about writing an email the size of a small novel when you should have just picked up the phone, and execute the thing in 5 minutes or less. How many newsletters are you subscribed to? Most of us can’t type 40 words in a minute or more, so why spend majority of your time in your inbox? Are you using 10 fingers to type? I used type to shoot game and a typing course to start using all fingers and to improve the speed of my typing. This definitely helps with email.
Solution: Improve your typing skills (speed up), and keep your messages short. I use to spend 25% of my time on my email, and now this is closer to 5%. Surprise, surprise, my business is doing even better, I am feeling better, and I have almost 20 hours more at my disposal every month. Do you know what you can do in 20 hours every month? Or 240 hours every year? That’s longer than someone’s vacation! Again, I am not saying email is your problem, I am saying, find out what is and eliminate it. Then again, if email is your problem, you probably need to dig deeper besides these few sentences.
Check this out: Productivity tip: How I beat email and got my life back #inboxzero
3. Spend less time working, but spend more time on what moves the needle
Sometimes you just need to sit on the balcony, look at the sea, drink some coffee and let subconscious do the work. I don’t want to go all “self-help” on you, but think about this. Did you ever get a great idea while you were nervous during commute? Or do great ideas come more often while you shower, read a book or relaxing in a hammock under a tree? You must be saying something like “motion creates emotion” and there are definitely times when this is necessary, however, your brain also has this other side when you have to relax, meditate, calm and let it come up with that spark of brilliance.
Solution: Measure your key performance indicators, and compare those with how you spend time (which apps you use). A great app to track which software and websites you use is WorkPuls I bought a yearly subscription, and have been using it for a few months, I love it! During your downtime, don’t forget to unplug, meditate for at least 10 minutes per day. Gandhi once told his advisors he will meditate for 15 minutes every day. To which they replied he has so much to do, and that he is way too busy. Gandhi then said that then it would probably be wise that he meditates 30 minutes every day or even an hour. Then again, you can also work more and work only on tasks that move the needle. Like Gary Vaynerchuk. Yeah, he is crazy, if you can be like him, good for you.
4. I am not spending enough time on things where the needle moves
This one probably won’t be too helpful for you, but yeah, I think I have to admit this to myself. It’s hard moving the needle. I read that you just have to grind it out. Easier said than done, but I am positive that I will get myself to grind it out. I have to, for my parents, for my investors, for my fiancee, for myself.
Solution: Spend more time on client acquisition tools for drip campaigns, newsletters and direct email, or delegate. Also, spend more time on content creation and distribution of this content (ebooks, whitepapers, blog posts), including landing pages. Spend more time on lead generation tools or delegate. Spend more time working with the team on improving the products and services that we built or will build.
So, that’s it from me. Please share any productivity tips or tools. Did you learn something that helped you in the past? Are you tracking your key performance indicators? Are you tracking how you are spending your time at work?