Time is a great leveller isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
But why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, whilst others struggle to achieve anything apart from a feeling of being time crunched and overwhelmed?
Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self assured, happier, and work less–all while growing in their career.
How effectively we use our time–and how we actually work in our business–can make a huge difference to the amount of success we achieve in our workday. It can also make us more focused and more confident.
Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.
Table of Contents
- Get More Done by Gaining Confidence
- Confidence is Key to Productivity
Get More Done by Gaining Confidence
What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:
1. Create an Exciting Vision
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?
You want to be more productive. You want to spend more time getting the right stuff done. Then you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.
What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there? If in this future, you aren’t a lot better off than you are in your current situation, then why bother to change anything?
Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.
Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, and see something bigger ahead.
Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.
Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.
2. Build a Strategic Plan
Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.
Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.
You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.
The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.
The magic number for me and my clients is to create and stick to five annual goals.
These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one, little by little, will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.
3. Get on Goal Planning
Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: Column A, Column B, and Column C and Column D.
Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.
Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.
This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.
Now let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.
These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.
Finally let’s move to Column D.
This column is for your biggest opportunities. Could your marketing be better? Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.
Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.
4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence
You now have your goals and you’ll feel confident and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel confident and motivated.
But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?
Managing and juggling day to day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow and handling day to day stuff can move your ship off course.
You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day to day runs smoothly.
One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.
Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days and you know that you typically ‘convert’ 50% of opportunities.
Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.
It’s smart to overshoot so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear productive plan to work through because with every ‘win’ your confidence will grow.
5. Completely Commit to Your Success
If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.
Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.
Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?
Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?
How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?
If your motivation begins to drop when you’re working towards less important goals or those get in the way.
Think back to a time when you were really committed. When you are committed to something, then you are–in a way–forced into action. Your mind-set is focused and your body follows; you want to get it done.
And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.
6. Focus on Your Strengths
To build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals we need to focus on our strengths.
What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.
Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value.They often bring you the biggest amount of joy and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.
If you think there is a specific capability to need to learn or be better at spend more focused time in that area. To get to this point can often take a lot of courage.
Having coached many entrepreneurs, I find there is often a period of fear, worry and uncertainty when they take a step back and identity and focus on the things they do best.
Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services.
But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!
Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.
7. Embrace The Present
Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment.
Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?
We all have the opportunity to create rather than react–to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.
Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. Who do you want to have a conversation with? What new project do you want to work on?
There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them.
Take that step towards your ideal future today. Start making a difference in people’s lives today. Embrace the present and start where you are and let the idea of perfection fly out the window.
8. Calm The Whirlwind
The day to day life in business and life can be hard.
Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.
There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.
Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline.The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.
Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.
Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time out.
Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?
In the next 90 Days if you could delegate or outsource more day to day tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?
Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.
Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.
9. Take More Time Off
This may seem counterintuitive but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.
If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?
You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.
You may feel exhausted, unmotivated and overwhelmed with everything on your plate. If you feel this way you know it’s difficult to find any real thinking or creative time if you are just doing.
The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.
Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?
Just Imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.
Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.
Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.
I find that when people take time off every month, they can often achieve far more in that single day than they may in a week of actively doing. They also come back more creative and more focused.
10. Celebrate Wins
Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?
You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if at the end of each day you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?
Celebrating success keeps you motivated and builds your confidence. It is not just another day. It is a day that included things that should be celebrated.
If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.
Then do the same thing for seven days. As you continue celebrating those small wins, it will become a habit. You may then want to push yourself further and focus on achieving bigger wins.
Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.
11. Give Yourself More Space
When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?
Within the hustle and bustle of everyday it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think.
Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.
If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting on our business.
In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.
A new idea for a product could form or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.
Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and have it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.
Confidence is Key to Productivity
Ultimately, confidence is built up when you are clear of your direction.
This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.
The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.
Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com