When working with my clients making minor adjustments can make a huge impact.
For example, when a patient sees a chiropractor for a sore back or neck, it’s often seems that slight adjustments to their neck or back or head can get them back to normal. Those tiny, incremental adjustments ultimately realign everything so that everything flows.
In that same way, our professional lives and businesses can benefit from tiny adjustments and course corrections that collectively help our business flourish and thrive and improve our productivity. The good news is that these course corrections won’t take up any more of your time or energy. As a matter of fact, you’ll find that you accomplish your goals in less time (and with less stress) when you make these slight changes.
When you’re focused on getting the most out of your performance, how you show up and how you execute ideas as a leader in your business, you want to look at it from a macro level first. What is going on from a global perspective? What are your biggest challenges? Once you’ve done that, then focus your attention on what the causes of your big challenges are. What is causing these conflicts or obstacles?
Creating a To-Do List
One of the little changes that can be monumental for your business is to take out a piece of paper and create your to-do list for the next day. Then, prioritize that list with what came first, second, third and so on. It may sound like a minor thing, but just like those small adjustments in a chiropractic treatment, it can be a game changer.
You want to do this before you go to bed at night, about 30 minutes ahead of time and just get everything out of your head and onto the paper.
You’ll find that you sleep better. You’ll lay down knowing that you’ve already got your priorities laid out for the next day, what you need to work on and what challenges you have to face when you wake up. Not only does this clear your mind at a conscious level, you are also giving your subconscious mind problems to solve as you sleep. Don’t be surprised if you wake up and have a sudden insight to a problem you’ve been facing or a solution to a situation that has been holding you and your business back from the next level of success.
When you take a proactive approach to planning your next day ahead of time, you end up being less reactive when situations rise up and that, in turn, makes you more productive and organized by default. You’ll wake up knowing exactly what to do and be in control of your schedule instead of letting your schedule control you.
Having an Agenda
The second seemingly insignificant shift you can make is to have an agenda or general plan for each day. If you don’t control your schedule, you’ll often find that your schedule controls you! When you don’t have your day prioritized, you end up getting sucked into busy work and becoming more reactive than proactive. When that happens, at the end of the day, you’ll realize that although you’ve been busy, you really didn’t accomplish much when it comes to the tasks that actually make a positive impact for your business.
By taking a few minutes in the morning (or the night before) to schedule your most important tasks and blocking out time for what you want to accomplish, you’ll find that you are more productive all day long. Not only that, your day will be much more peaceful since you’re not quietly stressing out about all of the things in your mind that you know you need to do. Having your vital tasks scheduled into your day allows your mind to relax and focus instead of anticipating the next “emergency” that may crop up.
By combining the first tip of writing down a rough to-do list for the next day and then putting those things into your schedule, you’ll feel much more organized. You know you have a lot of work to do but instead of facing the day in a frenzied panic, you will find yourself checking off your list and moving through your daily schedule with ease. Without this structure, you can spend most of your time putting out fires and being pulled into a million directions.
This also allows you to create room for other facets of your life other than work or business. If you want to go to the gym every day, make a commitment by putting it on your schedule. You can also schedule in time for things like journalling, meditation, long walks (and even naps!)
The third small change that makes a big difference piggybacks off of the last two. Once your evening routine is going well and your daily agenda is working for you, then it’s time to create space for randomness and creativity. Although we strive with structure in our lives, having some regular free time is so important. This is time that is unstructured for you to do as you please and decide then and there what you’d like to do with that time.
Maybe instead of your normal work day, you decide that you’ll spend some time in a cozy coffee shop, writing down your goals for the next quarter. You may decide to have a whole day to spend at the park, feeding the ducks. When you shake up your daily routine every now and then, your creative juices start to flow! You’ll get sparks of inspiration for creative projects or innovative ideas that seem to be out of your reach while you’re sitting at your desk.
Your daily structure helps you be consistent and reach your goals but having that free time to explore whatever you’re drawn to at the moment give your creative side room to play. When you work in your business day in and day out, you are too close mentally. Stepping away gives you the space to be creative, to decompress and it broadens your perspective. You’ll easily come up with solutions to problems that you’ve been banging your head up against a wall trying to solve. Even a five minute walk can make a huge difference.
There is something powerful about going to a different space or changing your environment. You’ll suddenly get these “ah-ha” moments and the solution seems so simple you wonder why you didn’t come up with it already. These momentary breaks throughout the day gives your brain a chance to relax and reset.
Amplify Your Productivity
The fourth suggestion to amplify your productivity is to take back control of your phone. When your phone is constantly dinging, buzzing or ringing, you’re subconsciously tuned into anticipating the next notification instead of being fully present in what you’re doing in the moment.
One tip that can make a massive difference in your daily productivity is removing social media apps completely from your phone. Even if you’re not the kind of person who obsessively checks their phone for notifications, you’ll find your productivity increases tenfold when you don’t have the distraction of social media looming. It’s so easy to get sucked into the vortex of social media.
They have teams of scientists and behavior specialists that have successfully engineered these apps to be addictive. Unless you consciously remove the distractions of social media, they creep into every aspect of our lives! You can always access your social media apps from another device (like an iPad or your laptop) when you want to engage.
If you’re not quite ready to remove social media apps (or anything else that interrupts you with notifications), consider turning your phone on “do not disturb” mode while you’re working. These devices that were supposed to make us more efficient have ended up stealing our attention and making us less productive. A lot of people think they have a time management problem when, in reality, they have an attention management problem.
Keeping your phone on do not disturb give you control over where your attention goes.
Instead of anticipating the buzzes, dings and updates that occur all day long, your mind can relax and focus your attention on what matters right now. Those notifications will be there once you’ve finished the task at hand. This way your phone is only giving you information when you intentionally pick it up and if it’s not always vibrating or buzzing, you have no reason to look at your phone until you have time to do so.
In the same vein, you may need to limit the time you spend checking your email. Some people are obsessive about reading each email as it hits their inbox. When it comes to robbing you of your productivity, this is no different than checking your phone every time you get a notification. You will find that your productivity skyrockets when you only check your email twice or three times a day.
Let everyone know that you regularly check your email at certain times.
It’s okay to set boundaries and let people know that you are not available 24/7 when they get a whim to send you a message. Of course, if there is an emergency and someone needs to get in touch with you, it’s perfectly fine to have alternative ways to get in touch but for day-to-day communications, there is nothing that can’t wait until the next time that you’ve scheduled into your day to check your email.
You may want to check your email early in the day, after you’ve created your agenda for the day, sometime in the middle of your day and then before you shut everything down in the evening.
The most important thing when it comes to all of this is to be present. Being present and in the moment fully is huge. People can feel it when you’re distracted or anticipating the next notification or email.
The last little change that can make a huge difference is spending some time in gratitude. There is something magical about appreciating the things we are thankful for in our lives. At the end of the day, after you’ve prioritized for the next day, spend a few minutes in gratitude, writing down what you’re thankful for.
Mentally go through your day. Make note of things that went well, where you’ve made a difference and moments that you’re proud of. We are bombarded by so much negativity in our daily lives and by intentionally setting aside time for gratitude, you’re inviting more positivity into your life and business.
These seemingly tiny changes to increase your productivity can all have a huge impact on your daily life and the success of your business ventures. These minor adjustments create a ripple effect that makes a huge difference in regards to reaching your goals. A lot of times, people think they have to make huge changes to see huge results and that just isn’t the case.
Try these out for yourself for just one month and see what effect they have on your life. Just see how things go for one month. Track your progress and let us know how it’s impacted your life.