Get your most important tasks done first thing in the morning- Do this before you check email or voicemail or anything like that. When you start getting sidetracked with other stuff ten minutes can turn into two hours and before you know it it’s time for your lunch break. Get the important stuff done first.
Don’t answer every phone call or text you receive- You are not required by some odd law to do so. You are not required to be at the beck and call of everyone you know. Many friends and acquaintances get upset if you don’t immediately pick up or text them back.
“That bastard! I know he has his phone with him right now!”
But these people fail to realize that a cell phone is a luxury that you have for your convenience and it is meant to make your life easier; not more difficult and more stressful. It is not meant to keep you on a leash and accountable to everyone in your life at all times.
Turn off your cell phone- Not too long ago we were somehow able to survive without cell phones. Now people can’t even turn theirs off. I was guilty of this for a while. But turning off your cell phone and unplugging completely, once in a while is a very liberating feeling. And when you do so you won’t even be tempted to answer every call or text, because you won’t even know they are coming through. When I want to be productive the first thing I do is turn off my cell phone. I also leave it off for extended periods when I’m at home which helps me to relax and just be in my own world for a while.
Check email less often- People are increasingly guilty of checking their email too often. This is an addictive trap which leads to zero productivity. Most smart productivity and business experts recommend cutting this down to twice per day, at most. Something like 10am and 4pm. Condition people to know that you only check email twice per day and that they shouldn’t expect an immediate response from you.
Get a phone that doesn’t have email or disconnect your automatic email- I had that on my phone a few years ago when it first became available because I though it was a good idea. All it did was ruin my life so I got it disconnected. You want to check email less, not every thirty seconds when it vibrates its way into your pocket. Talk about a miserable idea. There is no way you can ever unplug and live in the real world with this going on. Get rid of it and thank me later.
Don’t respond to every email you get- This is hard at first because you want to be a nice guy. But when the numbers start piling up you simply can’t answer all of them and expect to also make money and have a life. On a daily basis I now receive more emails than I could possibly answer in a month. I used to try and answer all of these personally. Then it started to make me miserable because I was getting nothing done and letting other aspects of my life suffer. So I had to start cutting it off. Answer only the most important emails and limit most of your responses to a few lines.
Delegate- With my personality this was very hard to do. But it can pay huge dividends if you are willing to turn the reigns over to others on certain aspects of your business or life. For example, I have very little artistic ability. So I don’t even try to come up with logo’s, t-shirt designs, slogans, etc. I leave that to my good friend, Mark Crook. I tell him what I need images or designs for and he goes to work on it. He is far more talented than I am and whatever he comes up with will be better than anything I could ever do on my own. Put your trust in someone else to do the things you aren’t good at or the things you don’t like doing. I also have someone else do all my web stuff because it’s not my field of expertise. I also have people answer emails for me for many of the reasons listed above. You have to do what you’re good at and let others help you with stuff you aren’t good at. I’m good at designing programs and training people. So I focus on that and let others do the stuff I don’t want to do or don’t know how to do. I highly recommend giving this a shot.
To read more about this I recommend the following books: