Productivity! Time Management! And Energy! Oh My!

Productivity! Time Management! And Energy! Oh My!

Time management and productivity are two of the top challenges entrepreneurs face today.  We live in a technological world where we are constantly bombarded by emails, texts, notifications, news alerts, and even the occasional actual phone call! Ask 99% of entrepreneurs how they are and the response will be “Busy!”  

Managing your time and being productive aren’t the same thing. Consider a meeting in which nothing gets accomplished. You “managed” your time by being present as your calendar required, but was it productive? The answer is no. Not only did the meeting not accomplish anything, you have now drained the energy of each attendee present.  Everyone is disheartened and disillusioned with how and when projects will move forward.  Can you relate?

When discussing Productivity and Energy, look at your energy when you wake up, when you are working on projects,  and where you are when you are done working.  

See if this sounds like you.…  You start the day ready to take on your projects and  implementing your ideas.  Energy is at a 10!  You fire up your computer and do a quick check of your email – energy starts to wain a bit as you realize you have new emails on top of the ones you didn’t’ get around to responding to yesterday. Energy fizzles to an 8 as you realize that some of these are now urgent and you will have to deal with them first.  Spending the next 45 minutes responding to one email, you have had to track down a document, which lead you to recreating a folder on your main drive, then when you went to find some supporting information on social media or a website, you get sucked into the vortex of interesting links and maybe a video or two related to the subject.  You look up and realize the you have spent over an hour and have only replied to one email!  

Ok – back to your project!  You close your email, get started on your project and you are in the zone!  Energy is high, you are making progress, when your phone buzzes with a text message – from an important client who needs to reschedule a meeting.  You open up your calendar, check the proposed times for the new meeting, they don’t work – you look to see if you can move things around -no.  Texting back some additional options, you think you can go back to your project -however, your brain is still on hold waiting for the text reply to see if you can indeed move the meeting to one of your suggested times.  You decide to plug in the 3 potential meetings times in your calendar so that you don’t book over them and then get back to your project.

Energy is at about a 7 now and it takes another 20 minutes until you are fully back into the creative zone where you were before that text message.  And then your calendar dings that you have a meeting in 15 minutes.   ARGGGHHH  Your entire day can be hijacked by the pros and cons of modern technology – instant access to calendars, documents and information. By the time you shut down your laptop for the day, your energy is at a 1-2 you have made very little progress on your project..  You want to go home, turn on the TV and zone out – you have no energy to think let alone be creative!

Here are a few tips to manage your productivity and energy levels.

  • Energy Up or Down?  Time management is actually energy management. When are your most productive times, early morning or late in the afternoon? When do you feel the most energy combined with when you will be the least likely to have to deal with interruptions?
  • Top 3: Write down the top three most important tasks that must get done that day. Those tasks should be ones that forward your business or self improvement in some way. They are the ones you want to tackle first, if possible. Make sure you only write the things that are in your control. Attending a meeting isn’t always in your control, but prepping for a meeting is. Keep your tasks actionable, not passive.
  • Spend 10 minutes on the last day of your work week planning the upcoming week. Make sure you block in breaks, email/voicemail checks, and leave a few gaps for unforeseen circumstances that may pop up. You want to time block like tasks so you can save on brain power. The schedule isn’t set in stone, but it does give you a great starting point for the next work day. It also lets your off time remain off-the-clock.
  • Schedule personal time for self-improvement and refilling of the creative well. If you spend all of your time in hyperfocus, it gives you no room for growth. That growth is necessary to prevent stagnation in life and business.
  • Track your progress. This is more than a timesheet. You need to know where you hit snags and why. Did you expect Tuesday morning to be productive, but faced fourteen interruptions? Tracking that can show patterns. What if every Tuesday morning is filled with those interruptions? Are they the same type? Can you avoid them in the future, or should you be prepared for them ahead of time? It’s better to see the patterns of behavior in yourself and others and prepare for it, than to let yourself get swept away in someone else’s momentum.

What actionable step will you take to change the course of your productivity cycle? If you’re not sure, we can help. Our next Pinnacle Productivity™ course is Friday, June 23rd. This course will transform your understanding of time, productivity, and what is possible for your future.
Register Now and find your pinnacle of productivity for success!

Mary Gaul