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If you’re like most human-people these days, you feel overwhelmed by having too many things to learn, do, and create. You’re busy, but working toward your big picture goals always plays second fiddle to the day-to-day hustle.
My #1 ally in getting things done has been to cultivate my focus and get into more states of flow (working on a single task without interruption), but I’ve added a few more tricks up my sleeve along the way that I want to share.
The last thing I ever want is to be “busier” or cram more into my day–my goal is to be smart about the time I spend in front of this glowing box and maximize the time I have. Here are 3 hacks that have helped me crush my goals, feel free to steal them!
#1 Take A Problem-Solving Holiday
We all have things we need to do, create, and learn in order to build our dream business, but we find it hard to find the time.
Getting things done requires applying a simple formula:
Time x intense concentration focused a single task
When time is your issue (or excuse), the key is to increase your focus.
How do you do that? Simpler said than done, but it requires clearing all distractions. Without distraction, we can get into a state of flow and create real value–and it’s real value that leads to authority, visibility, and profits.
What’s that thing that you really need to learn and implement in order to move your business forward? Maybe it’s building your website, implementing an email marketing program, finally planning or creating your online course…
These are big things that are hard to complete if you’re “just dabbling” here and there when you have free time. (Also, who has “free time”?) The solution? Take a Problem-Solving Holiday.
Here’s how it works: Look at your calendar and block off 2-3 days (or however long you think it will take to make serious progress, and then probably add an extra day because we tend to overestimate how much we can accomplish) and focus your attention on that thing.
Treat it like you would any vacation. Let your clients know far in advance that you’ll be out of the office on those dates, work your deadlines around those days, and when the time comes, put your autoresponder on and do nothing but focus your attention on the problem you need to solve.
No social media, no multi-tasking. Get mentally prepared to be “off the grid” while you’re on your problem-solving holiday.
In 1997 I built my first website this way. I went to Barnes & Noble and bought books that promised to teach me how to go from a total beginner to launching my first website. I bought groceries, locked myself in my apartment, and dedicated 2 full days to learn how to write HTML and get online.
By the end of those two days, I had a solid understanding and had my first “Hello World!” website. And that was the beginning of my career building websites (if you’re doing the math, that 2-day investment lead me to a 20+ year career building websites.)
You can accomplish exponentially more than you think is possible when you shut everything down and focus on a single task. You can figure out how to do those BIG THINGS that you never seem to find the time to scratch off your to-do list.
#2. Leverage Your Goofing Off Time
Let’s face it: we’re human. We goof off and procrastinate and then beat ourselves up for not making progress. The reality is, we’re always going to goof off… so how can we leverage this time so we can move toward our goals rather than just mindlessly do whatever?
It starts by becoming aware of those times when you’re in “procrastination mode” and “I just need a mental break right now mode” have a list of things you can refer to and do that will contribute to achieving your long-term goals.
Mine includes things like:
- Finding people on Twitter in my target audience and industry to follow
- Looking for Pinterest groups & sending join requests
- Filling up my Tailwind Tribes queue
- Checking out my Facebook groups to find problems my target customers are discussing (so I can join in on the discussion and help and/or gather ideas for things to write about on my blog)
- Curating content for my Twitter audience
None of these things are urgent tasks that help me make money, but they do help me to stay visible and grow my audience and reach–which is a critical component of crushing my long-term goals. Watching cat videos on YouTube? Not so much. I leave that kind of thing for my personal time.
#3. Don’t Do The Urgent Things First (You Heard That Right)
This is kind of a crazy one, but it makes sense when you think about it. We all have URGENT tasks that need our attention every single day… maybe that’s working on a client project or buying groceries so we can eat that day.
Then there are IMPORTANT things: like marketing your business and creating things that will generate income.
What happens when we put the urgent things first is that our important things don’t get done. But we’re GOING TO GET OUR URGENT THINGS DONE BECAUSE THEY ARE URGENT. We’re not going to push those things to the side because we can’t. Trust yourself.
Focus your attention on the important things first, then move on to the rest.
Will you try any of these hacks in your own business?
Or do you have a hack that’s even better (that you’re willing to share)? I’d love to hear about, so leave me a comment!
Taughnee Stone is an award-winning designer, brand strategist, and location-independent business owner for over 15 years. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now lives in Croatia with her husband, energetic Samoyed, and three bossy cats.