We’ve all had a to-do list a mile long at some point, right? It gets overwhelming and causes us to decrease our productivity because it feels like too much to handle. That’s the opposite of a to-do list purpose though! If you’re struggling to create a system to improve your productivity, you’re not alone. And you CAN overcome your to-do list and find your productive groove.
Many of us are not naturally disciplined, and we need an extra push sometimes. Productivity may be instinctive for you, but it IS a skill that you can learn. You can practice productivity, and it can be improved. Personally, I am not naturally productive, and I have tried many different systems to improve my productivity. Maybe you’re in the same boat.
Let’s be honest: if you’re one of those lucky naturally disciplined people, you probably don’t need to keep reading. But for the rest of us, here are some ways that we can work on our productivity.
Improve your productivity through accountability
One of the ways that we can improve our productivity is by finding accountability. There are a lot of different places that we can find an accountability partner. As an entrepreneur, you probably have some entrepreneurial connections as well. They could be online or offline, but either way, you probably know someone else who runs a business. If you’re looking to improve your business productivity, finding a business accountability partner is probably your best bet. Fellow entrepreneurs have been through the ups and downs of business and understand what you’re going through. Find someone that you resonate with and reach out to them to see if they would be your new accountability partner.
Another accountability option is a coach. There are a lot of different fields of coaching out there – you could get a life coach, a business coach, or even though specialist productivity coach. Whatever type of coach you look for, make sure that they are a good fit for you before hiring them. If you’re going to pay someone to help you stay accountable and grow your business, they’ll need to be someone that you WANT to talk to!m
If you need a bit more accountability to motivate you, then a group is another option for you. There are a lot of Facebook groups out there for entrepreneurs, and there may even be a group of entrepreneurs in your local area. In the same way that people who are recovering from something may go to a group to stay accountable, you can do the same thing with your productivity and business growth.
Whether you find a friend, coach, or group, having someone else checking up on you and keeping you accountable will help you improve your productivity. If someone is asking you about whether or not you have accomplished what you told him you were working towards, you’re more likely to finish it because you don’t want to disappoint them or feel embarrassed or ashamed. If you’re looking for accountability, feel free to reach out to the CE L.A.B. team or join THE LAB for Creative Entrepreneurs group on Facebook.
Improve your productivity through automation
If accountability isn’t the issue for you, it may be that you just don’t have enough time to finish everything you need to. If this is the case, automation may be your best option. There are many ways you can automate areas of your business. Using a CRM to manage your clients, scheduling your social media in advance, and generally automating recurring tasks can free up a lot of time for the projects that you need to be hands-on with.
Some of my favorite automation tools are Dubsado, Tailwind, SocialBee, and Teachable. How do I use them? Well, Tailwind, BoardBooster, and RecurPost are my social media scheduling tools. Tailwind supplements this by allowing me to schedule all of my Pinterest content in advance. Instead of spending hours and hours each week on my Pinterest content, Tailwind enables me to automate this process. SocialBee does the same type of thing for my Facebook and Twitter accounts. By utilizing its evergreen content libraries feature, I can schedule all of my content in advance so that I can engage more organically with my followers rather than continually scheduling or manually posting my Tweets and Facebook posts.
On the behind-the-scenes side of The CE L.A.B., Dubsado automates most of the rest of my business. It takes my clients from a lead capture form on the CE L.A.B. website all the way through to proposals, contracts, invoices, and project completion. Dubsado’s workflows allow me to have a system in place to make my client experience smoother and more enjoyable, yet allowing me to spend more time on my clients and projects. To learn more about Dubsado and how it can help you grow your business, you can check out my full review of the program.
Improve your productivity through systems
Regardless of whether you use an accountability partner or automation tools, you do need systems in place to increase your productivity. Systems help remove the overwhelmed that can happen when you’re looking at a to-do list a mile long. Keep in mind that some systems would work better for certain people than for others. I’ve tried many systems in the past, and I have found this to be true universally.
Some of my favorite productivity systems have been bullet journaling, the StoryLine Productivity Schedule, and ClickUp, which is kind of a combination of Asana and Trello. Bullet journaling and the Productivity Schedule have very similar approaches to each other. They both expect you to fill out a new page each morning (though there are different approaches that you can take that aren’t quite as daily). These systems work wonderfully for keeping your goals in the forefront of your mind, but they do take a little bit of extra time each day. For some, this won’t be a problem; for me, it started out great, but because of the additional time required, it stopped working after a while. And that’s okay. As I said, some systems work better for some than for others.
The systems that I have been using the most lately are Asana and Trello. To be honest, I don’t typically use Trello itself because Dubsado recently implemented their own Trello-like boards. However, Asana has been the big game changer for me. I created a system within Asana that allows me to essentially plug-and-play my to-do list and tasks every week. This system frees up my mornings to get things done while allowing me to visually see precisely what tasks I have for the day, removing the overwhelm of an entire to-do list. It gives me accountability because I can add other people to the projects so that they can keep tabs on what I’m getting done. Asana even makes it semi-automated since all I have to do at the beginning or end of the week is duplicate the template project I created and then plug in the new dates when each task is due for the next week.
If you’d like to learn more about my new Asana system, I’m planning to give a short no pitch webinar to show you exactly how I use it. The date of the webinar is not yet announced, but you can sign up below to be notified of when the webinar will be available.
As you work on increasing your productivity, remember that it is a skill that can be learned. You can exercise your productivity muscles by finding an accountability partner, using automation, and creating systems within your business and your life!