This is a guest post by Tor Refsland.
Have you ever experienced this?
You are laying awake late at night not being able to sleep. Heck, just thinking of your never-ending growing to do list makes it hard for you to breath.
No matter what you are doing, you just CAN`T seem to keep up with your busy schedule. And your business is suffering from it - BIG time.
And the worst thing?
While the procrastination monster is laughing at your feeble attempts to become more productive, it grows bigger for every time you FAIL.
It`s just a matter of time before the procrastination monster...
...KILLS your business.
1. Plan ahead
Not following a plan is a surefire way to procrastinate. If you don`t plan your day, you are basically just sitting there waiting to respond to other peoples` requests. In other words; you are helping them to complete tasks on THEIR to do list, while you are neglecting your own. Good for them and bad for your.
So what to do? A great way is to plan your week one week ahead. You might be thinking, "Tor, whaaaat did you say?"
Okay, I get it. If that is a bit too hardcore for you, at least start planning your next day the night before.
How can this be done? You could use a master to do list. This means that you will only have ONE to do list that includes all your tasks. The tasks that are NOT on your master to do list won`t get done.
You can use an excel spread sheet as your master to list and store it in Dropbox (so you can access it from anywhere).
Then you can use the ABCDE method to prioritize your tasks.
- A tasks: tasks you must do - serious consequences if they don`t get done
- B tasks: tasks you should do - mild consequences if they don`t get done
- C tasks: tasks you could do - no consequences if they don`t get done
- D tasks: tasks you delegate
- E tasks: tasks you never do
Here is the real kicker: you never do a B task before you have done all the A tasks, and you never do a C task before you have done all the B tasks.
Apply the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, when categorizing your tasks. You need to identify which 20 % of the tasks on your to do list that will give you 80 % of the total result. How does this apply to your schedule and business? If you have 10 tasks on your to do list for the day, and you only complete the two most important tasks, it will give you 80% of the total production value. So just by focusing on doing your most important tasks every single day, you can dramatically improve your productivity. Cool, right?
2. Work on your most important tasks
Research have shown that the majority of people are the most productive the first two hours after they wake up. Some people are the most productive during the evenings, while others are night owls. The point is that you need to identify WHEN you are the most productive, and then BLOCK OUT that period of time in your schedule every single day. And what will you be working on in those two golden hours? If you answered your most important tasks, you get a high five *SLAP*
If you are able to constantly work on your most important tasks for your business every single day, you will become successful. It will not be a question of IF you are going to become successful. It will be a question of WHEN.
The first question you have to ask yourself is "what are the most income generating tasks in your business?"
If you don`t already know that, you are in BIG TROUBLE. Then you have a choice. You could either admit that running your own business isn`t for you and get back into the 9-5 rat race...or you could hire a business coach NOW. Which one would you choose? The latter one, right? Awesome.
In your business you are most likely selling a product or service. So your most important tasks will be activities that directly or indirectly help you make sales. Once you get sales, you need to focus on deliver great value (the product / service) and have great customer service, and obviously you need to get paid.
Regardless of which stage your business is in, your most important task for your business will be:
- 1. Make sales
- 2. Deliver great value (product / service) with the goal to over-deliver and make the customer become a raving fan
- 3. Give great customer service
- 4. Collect payment
You should get your payment collected as soon as possible. If you are running an online business, you should collect the money (through PayPal or Stripe) when the customer buys your product. Only when the customer has paid will he/she get the product or service. In brick and mortar businesses you are most likely not able to do this, since the game of cash flow is to get the cash in as soon as you can, and wait as long as you can to pay the expenses. In those cases you have to send an invoice while you deliver your product / service to the customer.
Once you get a sale the job isn`t done. Hey, the real job hasn`t even started. Now you have to over-deliver like crazy and make the customer happy. That is the best way to build your brand and business. Happy customers can turn into raving fans, which will become brand advocates; spreading the words about your brand and refer customers to you.
3. Set goals
The best way to roundhouse kick the procrastination monster to the curb is setting goals. I have created a system that I call the DUMB SMART system. It`s where you take a big hairy goal and systematically break it down into smaller manageable goals.
Example of a big hairy goal: earn $60 000 MORE per year with your business.
We can all agree that it`s a big hairy goal, right? The first thing we need to do is to take the big hairy goal and break it down into smaller manageable goals. $60 000 more per year equals an additional $5000 per month. In order to make $60 000 more per year you have to make $5000 more per month for 12 months.
The next question would be one that you`re already familiar with "What are the most income generating tasks in your business?"
Let`s say that you are selling products. Your goal is to sell $5000 per month of your new product A.
Example one - your monthly goals would look like this:
- Month 1: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 2: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 3: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 4: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 5: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 6: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 7: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 8: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 9: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 10: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 11: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 12: Sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
This will result in $60 000 per year.
Most likely you would need to call to book a meeting, give a presentation and then close the sale.
Let`s say that you were a good sales person, so you are able to book meetings with one out of ten of every call (this includes prospects who don`t answer the phone). When you attend the meeting you have done good research and the potential clients are highly targeted leads, so you are able to close 50%.
This means that you need 2 meetings to close 1 sale, and 20 calls to book 2 meetings. In other words: you will sell 1 product à $500 for every 20th call.
How many calls would you need to perform each month in order to hit your monthly target of $5000? 200.
Example two - your monthly goals would look like this:
- Month 1: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 2: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 3: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 4: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 5: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 6: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 7: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 8: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 9: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 10: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 11: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
- Month 12: 200 calls = sell 10 products à $500 = $5000
Here is an example of income generating activities that would help you hit $60 000 per year.
Let`s do it easy and say that it`s 4 weeks in a month. This means that you have to make 50 calls each week.
Then over the the most important thing.
Which specific income generating activities will help you make those sales?
Example three - your weekly activities would look like this:
- Activity 1: Get leads
- Activity 2: Research leads
- Activity 3: Call to book meeting
- Activity 4: Attend meeting to close sale
- Activity 5: Networking with potential customers and people you can cooperate with
If you only were to do the activities above every single week, and you actually knew what you were doing, you would have a chance to reach your goal. If you don`t know what you are doing, I suggest that you hire a coach.
They say that the person who is able to focus on one single thought for 2 minutes straight is able to accomplish anything. Studies have shown that multitasking is a myth, and you are able to accomplish way more by focusing on doing one single task at a time.
Have you ever tried to have a meaningful conversation (yes, I said meaningful) with another person on the phone, while you are creating a report AND trying to order a plane ticket at the same time? Trust me, it doesn`t work.
By focusing on just working on one single task at a time you will become much more efficient. The task will not only get done FASTER, but you will complete your tasks with a HIGHER QUALITY. How are you really measured in your career? By the QUALITY of RESULTS you are generating in a certain period of TIME.
If you increase the quality of your work, but don`t use more time, you will have become more productive. If you get the same amount of quality work done in a short period of time, you will have become more productive.
And then, if you want to really SKYROCKET your productivity, focus on INCREASING your RESULTS by working LESS amount of HOURS.
When I was working in one of the biggest companies in Norway I was able to increase my productivity with 200%. That means that I was able to complete in 2 hours what I normally spent 2 hours on doing.
If I can improve my productivity, then so can you.
What To Do Next...
It`s time for you to make stand against the procrastination monster.
It`s time for you pull your act together and save your business.
You have the recipe.
That being said, regardless how good the recipe is, it`s WORTHLESS unless you APPLY it.
Pull up your sleeves and get to work.
You have a procrastination monster to fight!
What is your experience with procrastinating? How did procrastination affect your business, and what did you do to fix it?