Productivity Tips to Achieve Success
By Joey Miller
Sometimes work (and life) feels like a never-ending to-do list. There are “super humans” among us that manage to wake up at 5am to work out, wake up with the kids, take them to school, take the spotlight in three morning meetings, rock out a perfect afternoon presentation, pick the kids up, make dinner, wash, rinse, repeat. If you are one of these exceptionally productive people by nature (without being 20 seconds from a mid-life crisis), I commend you. For the rest of you who, like me, may feel like your hair is on fire with your never ending to-do list from time to time, here are two tips that I have investigated and put into practice to help with my productivity while avoiding burn out.
Focus on the activities that produce the best return.
I have been using the Pareto Principle to streamline my efforts with this. In essence, The Pareto Principle says that 80% of results are produced by 20% of causes. This principle has helped me tremendously in business and in lifestyle. It is easy to understand, but sometimes difficult to put into practice because it requires some self-analyzing. It has massive applications and can be used again and again.
Application: I have been in sales for over a decade. I have done door-to-door sales, retail sales, inside sales, outside sales, B2C, C2C, and everything in between. Previously, I would send out very long emails and LinkedIn messages about my company, how I could help the prospect, and when I wanted to connect. After several hundred messages of very mediocre success, I tried a new strategy; I sent 20% of messages as a two-sentence message to prospects to the effect of, “Hi, I am looking to connect with people in my industry (IT). Can I please connect with you, treat you to virtual coffee, and learn a bit more about your role”. This message has gotten me 80%+ of my meetings for 2021. I now send out 150+ emails/messages like this every week without fail and have booked more meetings than I have in my career. Self-analyze your week. Where are you getting your success from!?
Use short (sometimes protected) time blocks.
The Pomodoro Technique is another tip I recommend for those of us who are disorganized by nature and need some help with focus. The average human attention span is getting shorter and shorter and it is seemingly harder to stay on task with all of the notifications and social media scrolling that we have access to. If you claim to be one of those people that does not answer texts or check social media at all during a given work day, I don’t believe you. For the rest of the normal people, try this, just one day a week and see if it works.
Application: For one day a week, plan out your day the night before and put your tasks into 25 minute blocks. For me, the first part of my day looks something like this (this is a Wednesday, when I try to book all my client meetings in the morning). It is still very much a work in progress.
These two productivity hacks have helped me to regain focus and make the most of my day both professionally and in my personal life. The most important thing that I have found in utilizing them is that they must be continually used over time to produce the best results. The more I utilize both of them, the more I realize how I can use them in conjunction with how I function in work and in my personal life.
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