TIME IS A FUNNY THING!
It can fly, run out, and be up. It can be spent, killed, and passed.
Most entrepreneurs never seem to actually have enough of it. It’s the number #1 excuse that holds them back from growing their business to the next level! We’re just launching an online course that helps personal brands make a bigger impact online, but so many people don’t want to commit the time it takes to achieve their goals.
Believe it or not, I’ve also got enough excuses for why I wouldn’t have “enough time”. I am running a video marketing agency with Natalia, my business partner, and we shoot videos for our clients every week, we help them grow their audience on YouTube and even coach them through the block that come up when they are afraid of being in camera in the first place. It’s a full-time job, but I am also part of a weekly mastermind, a breakfast referral network, going to the gym 3 times a week, joined a tennis club (where I play on a team and a ladder), taking improv classes, plus I am married and want to spend time with my wife and friends.
I’ve always lived a “busy” life, but I have come to realize that there are 2 things you have control over in your life:
IT'S WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR TIME AND ENERGY
So before the next time you say you’re too busy to take this online course, to catch up with old friends or taking that vacation with your family, check out our 7 productivity hacks that Natalia and me live by every day.
1. REMOVE “BUSY” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY
Everybody is busy! Sometimes we even pride ourselves on our “busy-ness,” as if being busy were a sign of achievement and value in and of itself, but we often feel hurried and stressed out. “Busy” almost always implies engagement in activities that are not of our choosing — it’s business (busyness), not pleasure.
Words matter — they powerfully shape how we see ourselves and how we interpret our actions. So Natalia and I personally have banned the word ‘busy’ from our vocabulary because it wasn’t serving us. We changed it to:
"I AM PRODUCTIVE"
This way, we always feel like what we’re doing is productive and it makes us feel we have everything under control. We decide what to focus on and we choose to not feel stressed about our tasks.
For some other strategies on how to ban “busy” from your language, check out Sarah Rudell Beach’s article on the Huffington Post.
2. HAVE A CLEAR VISION
This is probably the most important lesson I have learned this year when it comes to living my life with purpose – and that’s in business, but also in my personal life.
One of the first exercises we have our students do in our e-course is setting their goals, because if you don’t write them down you are just wandering around aimlessly. Imagine that your vision is the address you put into your GPS, only if you know where you want to end up you can tell if you are going into the right direction.
It hasn’t been easy for me to come up with my vision, but I was determined, so I did vision boards, vision statements, wrote down my perfect day and finally it clicked: My vision was to create a lifestyle business and empower entrepreneurs with the tools to make an impact in this world. Your vision is something that will develop over time, so to remember where I started (and can check in on my progress in a few months) I decided to record my vision in a video for my Quantum Leap Mastermind Group:
And now I can check in every week and see if I am going in the right direction by asking myself these questions:
- Did I spent my time on the right things?
- Did I take action every day to get closer to my goals?
- If not, then how can I improve the next week?
This concept becomes super powerful if you combine it with your “WHY”. Why do you want to accomplish all these things? Once you focus on how you will feel once you accomplish your goals your motivation will go through the roof!
Just remember: Your vision is an organic, breathing, living thing. It will always change and you’ll redefine it while you grow into the right direction.
3. KILL YOUR TIME SUCKERS
The easiest way to get back huge chunks of time is to eliminate pointless activities from your life. Like many of you I always would have a Facebook tab open in my browser and once I get a notification I couldn’t resist interrupting what I was doing to check what a friend posted. The worst was that then I was sucked into endless scrolling on my Facebook wall – just procrastinating and it just made me feel so guilty. I still kept doing it!
The first step is for you to find out what are your biggest time suckers. The simplest way it to keep a log and write down how much time you spend doing what, but that seemed way too labour intensive for me. Especially because I would spend most of my time on the computer I looked for an app to automate the process and came across this amazing time tracking tool called RescueTime.
You can install it in your browser, on your computer, on your mobile devices and after teaching it what you categorize as “productive” and “distracted” programs and websites it will give you all the data you need to learn where you spend most of your time.
3. AUTOMATE, DELEGATE AND OUTSOURCE
It’s important to look at everything you do on a regular basis and ask yourself if that is something that really has to be done by you – or could it be automated, delegated or outsourced?
There are so many innovative apps out there that focus on saving time for entrepreneurs, so start by looking at tasks you do more than 3 times and then find a solution to automate them. One of our favourite scheduling apps is calendly and let’s our clients schedule meetings and phone calls automagically by it being synced with our Google calendars.
This should be a no-brainer, but I know how hard it can be as an business owner to let go of control for some other tasks. The first time we considered to hire video editors I didn’t want to give it away. I thought nobody other than me will be able to deliver the quality that we promised our clients. When I calculated how much time it took to edit our videos, especially once we had to edit over 10 videos a month, there was no other way. So I let it go.
It was the best decision ever! Now I can actually use that time I previously spent editing to grow our business and keep our clients and students happy.
Our next step is now outsourcing even more tasks and looking at hiring a virtual assistant. Some of our entrepreneurial friends even outsource things like cooking their meals, doing their laundry and even sending birthday cards.
If you’re not sure what to outsource I always refer back to President Eisenhower who said: “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important”.
You can use the following graphic to decide where to put your TIME and ENERGY:
5. CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE
The way you start your day is the most important and simple change you can do to up your productivity! I’ve been experimenting with different morning routines over the last 7 months and want to share my biggest take-aways. If you take care of yourself first, before you give your time away to others, you’ll never feel like you wasted your time anymore. Even if for the rest of the day you’ll procrastinate.
There are 3 types of activities you should focus on every morning:
- Mental: Do something for your mind, like meditation, prayer, journaling, reading, learning. If you want to learn something new, it’s good practice to do these kind of things at the beginning of your day before your willpower depletes.
- Physical: Do some exercise, yoga, stretching, going for a walk in the park or simple breathing exercises to wake up your body. I usually start with this because my mind can snooze a bit longer while my body wakes up.
- Fun: This is probably the most important, especially if you’re not a natural morning person, like me. Schedule something fun for the morning, something that gets you excited and jumping out of bed. This could be a dance party, making your morning coffee or sending some gratitude emails to friends and family. The important part is to be really present when you do it, don’t rush it. Take in all in and enjoy every moment of it.
6. STAY FOCUSED
Technology has given us many innovations, but also a lot of new ways to get out attention. It is almost impossible these days to talk to a friend without either of our phones buzzing at least once. The odds are really high that your phone has probably sent you a couple of notifications just in the time it takes you to read this article.
“I’m just gonna multitask and get twice the work done!”
Well, not really. Multi-tasking doesn’t actually exist. It most situations when a person is juggling e-mail, Facebook notifications and a meeting, what they’re really doing is “rapid toggling between tasks”.
And anytime you get distracted from the task in front of you it takes energy and commitment to come back to your original task. So instead let’s try the Pomodoro Technique.
This is based on studies that show that humans can only fully focus on one task for up to 25 minutes, so splitting your tasks into 25 minute block and then taking a break will make you more productive than trying to resist distractions for longer.
To try the pomodoro technique head to Tomato-Timer.com and follow the instructions:
- Decide on the task at hand
- Set the Pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the timer expires; Record with an X
- Take a Short Break (5 minutes)
- Every four “pomodoros“, take a Long Break (10 minutes)
7. SET INTENTIONS
So now that you have a couple of great tips and hacks to become more productive and get your time back, what are you going to do with it? Well, this goes back to your vision.
One of my reasons of creating a lifestyle business is so I can spend more time with my family and friends, so now I will make sure I clear my schedule every Sunday to spend time with my wife. We love going on adventures, bike trips or sometimes just stay home and watch movies (especially during Canadian winters).
TAKE THE COMPLETE BEGINNER'S GUIDE
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We created this online course because we believe in impact! If we can empower the changemakers, the personal brands and driven entrepreneurs to share their message, we succeeded. Online video is the most powerful tool to share ideas, share your true personality and connect with a global audience.
We structured the course as a step-by-step guide, so you won’t get overwhelmed with too much information at once. Every week you’ll get access to a new chapter teaching you the skills to create professional videos for your business and having fun in the process!
To get the most out of the course we suggest you put away about an 1 hour per week to work on the course. This could be 10 minutes a day or 1 hour every Monday morning, either which way fits best into your schedule.