We all have the same 24 hours daily, yet some entrepreneurs seem to get more done and achieve better business results than others. If you feel like you’re stuck in a productivity rut, there’s one thing you can do to change: stop doing the things holding you back! Sounds simple, right? It’s often easier said than done, but not impossible, especially when the “pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change,” says well-known author and speaker Tony Robbins.
Here are 5 of the most common result killers—and how to avoid them.
#1: Not Having a Plan
Lewis Carroll, the author of the beloved children’s book, Alice in Wonderland, was a modern-day entrepreneur when he penned, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Isn’t that the truth? But, unfortunately, regardless of longevity in business or the size of our organization, as true innovators and entrepreneurs, we still become captivated – and utterly distracted and pulled off course – by “shiny objects.”
Using a growth plan is the first step to being focused and achieving better business results. What do you want to achieve in the next 3-5 years of your business? What actions are needed to achieve those goals? Then, knowing several approaches are available, you can select the most precise course to achieve your vision.
Break down your big-picture goals into small, actionable steps — micro-movements, if you will — that are easily completed daily or weekly. Then, calendar your tasks into your schedule and stick to it! (BTW, adding days and times for task implementation into your calendar is a game changer if you want to avoid over-commitment.)
And stay focused on the next 12 – 18 months! With a tighter time frame, you’ll find it much easier to stay on track.
#2: Doing Too Much at Once
Remember when multitasking was a “thing?” Remember how excited we were to find that sought-after skill on a resume? Well, as my young godchildren remind me, ‘that was soooooo yesterday.’
At the time, and even in some minds of today’s entrepreneurs, multitasking still seems like an efficient way to get things done, but the opposite is true. A recent study at the University of Southern California (USC) illuminated many pitfalls stemming from multitasking, such as reduced IQ, low information retention, more mistakes, and brain drain.
Instead of trying to do ten things at once, focus on one thing at a time and give it your full attention for a designated period. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive you are—and how much better the business results you’ll achieve.
Easier said than done but not impossible, especially when you want to feel more energized, be more productive, and achieve better results.
#3: Digital Distractions
My husband is a user of multiple digital devices — all simultaneously! For example, he watches TV in front of his iPad while responding to texts on his phone. Sound familiar? (Don’t get me started on his digital footprint during football season!)
In our hyper-connected world, it’s easy to get distracted by technology. Every time a new email pops into our inbox or a notification pings on our phone, it’s tempting to stop what we’re doing and check it out—but resist the urge! Instead, turn off notifications. Put your phone away so you can focus on the task at hand. You’ll be able to get more done in less time and without distractions. Trust me! I’m living proof it works.
Neuroscience is studying the impact of digital distractions on the brain. Besides interrupting the current task flow, digital distractions elevate one’s anxiety level. Plus, it comes with a high price tag.
The Information Overload Research Group, a nonprofit consortium of business professionals, researchers, and consultants, reports that knowledge workers in the United States waste 25% of their time dealing with their huge and growing data streams, costing the economy $997 billion annually. Conquering Digital Distraction
The solution? Give yourself a pre-set amount of time to indulge in emails, text messages, social media, or whatever you decide, then turn off notifications and close programs for a focused amount of time (Nathaniel Kleitman recommends 90 minutes of focused time.)
We all dread specific tasks, but putting them off makes them worse.
Some experts recommend asking yourself “why” if you’re putting off a difficult or unpleasant task, but I find that approach is like a dog chasing its tail. Asking “why” pulls us into a never-ending circle from which there is no escape.
A better starter word is “what.” For example, you can ask yourself, “what part of this project do I want to tackle first? What makes the most sense to address? What time frame am I willing to dedicate to it today?”
‘What’ questions move you to action. And once you finally tackle that arduous task, you’ll feel incredible relief and accomplishment and can move on to achieving results!
Egads! Perfectionism is a major productivity killer – not to mention a source of burnout and overwhelm. Focusing on making everything perfect makes it easy to lose sight of the big picture.
Instead of striving for perfection, aim for progress. Again, think micro-movement. What matters most is that you’re progressing toward your goal.
Perfectionism is often about the expectations we set for ourselves and others — or the expectations we think others have of us, like our clients. If your perfectionism arises from what you think your clients expect from you, ask them. Like me, you may be shocked and surprised by what you hear.
The Last Word
If you want to secure better results, stop doing the things that interrupt your performance.
However, recognizing that these five common results killers decelerate your business growth, you’ll find the inspiration and motivation to move past the productivity slayers to get more done and be on the path to better results.