Editor’s note: MFA is pleased to share this article from guest blogger, Danny Iny, CEO of Mirasee.
You’re spent; your brain has stopped dead on its tracks.
Do you look at your calendar with a sigh of accomplishment? Or regret that you haven’t done nearly as much as you wanted to?
No matter how long you’ve been an entrepreneur, chances are you’re always looking for ways to do more in less time.
I get it. Running a business is hard work. If you’re new, then you’re trying to do everything yourself. And even if you’re established and have employees, your work never ends.
It doesn’t help that there are so many distractions. There’s a new tactic, strategy, or system tempting your attention every week. Changes happen so fast, it’s impossible to keep up, but you need to keep on top of everything, right?
And so you try the latest productivity tools, from focus-enhancing music to affirmations, gadgets, and more.
The problem is, you can get so caught up with hacking your productivity that you actually become less productive.
Think about it.
Any time you start using yet another new productivity tool, app, or system, you spend valuable time researching them, reviewing your options, and then learning how to use them! Using productivity “enhancers” has become a hobby for some people.
Charles Duhigg said it well in Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business: “We’ve been staring at the tools of productivity—the gadgets and apps and complicated filing systems for keeping track of various to-do-lists—rather than the lessons those technologies are trying to teach us.”
This is why I’ve kept things simple from the beginning. I don’t use apps or follow a productivity guru’s system. Yet I’ve taken a blog from zero to 60,000+ readers, written three bestselling books, run a marathon, gotten married, and built a seven-figure business all in the last five years.
How did I do it? Simple.
1. Stop organizing and start doing stuff.
Repeat after me: “I’m too busy doing awesome stuff to care about productivity tools.”
Stop fixating on productivity hacks and focus on your business instead.
Many people think productivity means checking tasks off a list. That’s true only if you’re doing the right things. How do you know?
Start with your goals. Where do you want to be in 3 years? 5 years? What will it take for you to get there? Break down your goals into projects, projects into tasks, and put them on your daily to-do lists.
You’re never going to completely check off everything on that list. And that’s okay.
A day is a success when your to-do list is shorter than it was in the morning. If you’re closer to your goals and you’ve made a difference in the lives of people you’re trying to help, then it’s been a productive day.
So what are you going to do every day? Choose it, do it, and move on.
2. Start early.
What do CEOs Tim Cook, Richard Branson, and Indra Nooyi have in common with Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, and Isaac Asimov?
They’re all early risers and tackle the day while the rest of the world hits the snooze button.
Get up early and get a jump on your day. This helps you get ahead and stay on target even when unexpected delays and problems come up—which they always do.
Then, if necessary, you have more of the day left to work extra hours and catch up.
Sometimes you just have to put in the hours to get things done. There’s no getting around it.
Between the Internet, smartphones, and social media, we’ve all learned to have incredibly short attention spans.
But Daniel Goleman writes in Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence that, in an environment filled with distractions, the ability to focus one’s attention separates high performers from the average.
Train your brain to have a long attention span. The best way I know to do this is by reading. Pick up a book and pay attention long enough to consume and digest what you’re reading.
Whatever you’re doing, whatever interests you, give it your full attention. Stop jumping from one stimulus to another. Learn to absorb and focus on one idea for an extended period of time.
When you focus, you’re more effective at everything you do.
Productivity isn’t just about completing items on your to-do list. It’s about doing what gets you closer to your goals and making the impact you care about making.
If you want to stop spinning your wheels mastering yet another productivity system, try these productivity “non-hacks.” They’re simple, but they work.
Danny Iny is the founder and CEO of Mirasee, host of the Business Reimagined podcast, and best-selling author of multiple books, including Teach and Grow Rich: The Emerging Opportunity for Global Impact, Freedom, and Wealth.
MFA encourages you to check out Danny’s really terrific course, Course-Builder’s Laboratory. If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to creating your very own profitable online course, even if you have no idea, no audience, and no money, Danny’s is the program for you!