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5 ways to be more productive and less busy

Richard ClaytonRichard Clayton
9 March, 2015

1.  Make a MUST-do list

Not all tasks are the same on a to-do list. Make a list of everything you want to get done, and then create a “MUST-Do List” for the day. Start off with an easy task to get you going, then move on to a more important task. By now you’ll have positive energy and enough momentum to take on your tasks for the day. Your “MUST get done today” list should have no more than 3-5 items. It should not include things like grocery shopping, picking up kids etc., because these don’t take you towards your goal. If you want to write a book for instance, one of your must-do items might be “write 500 words.” If you want to get more clients, your goal might be, “create an intro email for new clients.”


2.  Create systems for everything you do

Although it may seem a bit overboard, having a defined process gives you peace of mind that things will be done as you want them to be done. For instance, if you want to write a guest blog, your process might look like this:

  • Research 5 places to post blogs
  • Research trending topics on Alexa.com
  • Match trending topics with topics that appeal to the 5 places you chose
  • Create an excel spreadsheet to record who/ when you reach out to and specific details of the post that may be required
  • Send an email pitch, record response
  • Write blog post
  • Submit blog post
  • Confirm publish date, save link and copy of your post
  • Copy the logo of the website/ company details and add it to your online portfolio with a link to your blog post
  • Send your contact a list of 5 more blog options that may be of interest and start over again.

3. Find an accountability partner

For some reason, it is easier for us to keep our word when we publicly commit rather than when we make commitments to ourselves. Find a partner to keep you on track, and return the favor – a partner that will hold you accountable, and that you can hold accountable for their commitments.

freelancing-more productive

4. Scale back on email

Email is one of the biggest drains on productivity. Checking email every 10-15 minutes or using the Outlook pop-up box like an urgent text message is a huge distraction. Check your email once and hour and respond to urgent requests first, then work your way back. Try looking at just the subject line to determine what is actually worth reading

5. Turn everything off

Don’t let yourself be distracted. A text, email or phone call that is unimportant can completely derail you, when you’re at your most productive time. This may apply to meetings too. Ask yourself if you need to be in all 6 of those meetings today, or is it best to get the notes from one of the mandatory attendees?

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