January 1st is a great day to look back and reflect on what you’ve accomplished. As I think about my time, and how I’ve spent it, I’ve realized there’s some good habits I’ve created that have given me the most leverage. Here’s a few ideas on how you can get more time back, and keep your new years resolutions in 2011!
1. Structure Your Day
The best advice I ever received was to create positive habits. Simple, yes – but powerful. For me, that means doing certain types of work, and in a certain way, at specific times of the day. Overtime I’ve learned that starting the morning figuring out my big rocks, and moving those forward have the highest value for me. Also, paperwork and creating “work products” are best done in the morning or at night – with the afternoons spent talking and collaborating with others – its keeps the energy flowing. Having this structure means you can quickly understand where a task fits and know what you can realistically get done.
2. Ask For Help
There’s no reason to go in it alone. If you know there’s someone out there than can get you moving along faster or in a smarter way, you’re best to ask for help. Even if you have to pay them – this can provide huge leverage and accountability. I’ve had a virtual assistant for 5+ years now and have hired many consultants, trainers and specialist for various projects – if chosen correctly, it can be money well spent.
3. Have Them Follow Up
When people send an email or call and say, “hey, I’ll be in town next month – we should connect”, the best way to respond is to ask them to follow up a couple days beforehand. This keeps your calendar clean and puts the follow up action on their plate, not yours. It’s only fair.
4. Politely Say No
The great part about being in a startup and having some many great people in the community as supporters is that you’ll frequently get asked to participate in something; conference, demo, business development deal, etc. however, these can be a huge time commitment. The best way to approach something is to say no by default, until otherwise given reasons where the alignment with your new years resolutions make sense. Yes, I know, sometimes you’re doing someone a favor, and you should help out – but I’m taling in general. Respect your time – it’s easier to say no to something up front, then commit and back out at the last minute cause you’re getting pulled from your team. (I’ve had to do this, it sucks).
5. Share With Others
The best way to hold yourself accountable is to tell the world what you’re planning to accomplish. This way, you’ll have positive peer pressure implemented and it will certainly help you keep that commitment with yourself and others.
6. Leverage Your Health
If you’re trying to implement a time management process and you eat like crap, then I think you’ve got it backwards. Most tasks or projects require energy, not time management – and if you’re not healthy, especially eating really bad lunches – only to go into a comatose for the whole afternoon – then you’re missing the point. You need to have your health – energy is the biggest leverage for getting anything done. Think about it.
7. Learn To Communicate
If you’re trying to get anything done in life, it’ll probably require some level of collaboration. The ability to communicate your ideas and vision is crucial in getting anything done. It’s why I learned how to use OmniGraffle to create product mockups (also LOVE Balsamiq) and decided to blog more this year. The biggest gain in productivity are simple ideas with huge impact communicated with clarity. Invest the time in learning a new application to help with this, even if it’s only excel or powerpoint.
8. Less is More
Instead of making a list of 10 things you want to get done this year, why not choose 1? What single goal, that if you accomplished, would have the highest impact on your life. Do that. Don’t “try” and do 10 at a time. Pick one, say no to the desire to do too much, and you’ll likely get it done. Having 10 things half tried and not completed won’t make you feel good.
“.. most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” ~ Tony Robbins
9. Bring People Together
This is a super high value tip. If people are constantly asking you for 15 minutes to pick your brain, or want to meetup – it’s actually best to bring 3-5 of those people together with you and connect them all together. Not only will it add tremendous value to their ideas and conversations, you can kill 2 birds with one stone and actually get way more out of the interactions.
You can google the definition of JFDI, but I’m sure you can figure it out. At the end of the day, take the first smallest step. Action always trumps thinking about it – there’s so much more you learn when you actually do. Get rid of the knowing, doing gap in your life and you’ll be amazed by what you can get done.
Got any other tips? Love to hear from you in the comments below.
Here’s to a kick ass 2011!