How to Get More Done By Focusing on Less

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If you’re anything like me, you have read every single one of those ‘x things billionaires do to start their day’, or ‘x things successful entrepreneurs do to start their day’. These articles make it seem as if somehow the secret to success is getting up at 4 in the morning.

It’s nice to think that those things actually matter. But the truth is, we know they don’t in a way. How you start your day doesn’t really matter as much as what you do during the day. I’m almost 39 years old. And I’m just now realizing this. So I wouldn’t even call this a productivity hack, but I did want to share one thing I’ve done in the last week or so that has probably tripled my productivity.

How I Used to Start My Mornings

The way I start my morning is by looking at my calendar and see what the tasks are that I can fit in between prospect calls, client calls, networking calls and mastermind meetings.

Or, I will put in the early morning hours where I am the most optimistic. I will sit down and write a to-do list. My to-do list will have 20 things on it. I don’t know if you’ve ever sat at your desk and accomplished 20 things, but I haven’t. So all that to-do list made me feel guilty about the things that didn’t get marked off. I could never say “Wow, I did 9 things and that was amazing.”

All I would see is the 11 that weren’t done. I knew there had to be a better way to be able to be happy with what I have accomplished in one day.

My Best Productivity Tip To Help You Get More Done

The trick I tried the next day was putting one thing on my to-do list. If I accomplish this, and get to a point where I am handing this back to someone else (whether my client or my team), I will have considered today a good day.

I’m telling you, doing this made all the difference in the world. Although, I’m not very good at following it. Sometimes I have two things I want to do. But if I only put one thing on the list, and that is what I decide to focus on that day, that gets the most attention.

It’s the best way I have found to get those projects that end up at the bottom of the to-do list done. It’s important for me to focus on the bottom of the to-do list because obviously, those things are business-building things. I’ve written a book and I haven’t looked at the draft. While I’m partway through the draft, I need to get the second draft finished so that I can pass it off to an editor.

That’s never going to get done when it’s competing with client work, outreach, or doing these videos. It’s important, but it’s not urgent. I don’t have a deadline. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re in charge of your own schedule, it might actually help you to say when you’re going to focus on a task.

Make It Easier On Your Brain

One word of caution though, because this is where my brain goes.

Even if I say I’m going to work on something every Monday, my brain can’t do that. For some reason. I want to rebel against that thing. It’s the sort of the same thing that I feel about meal planning. Because how on earth does Sunday me know what I want for dinner on Thursday?

Those of you who meal plan might be able to extrapolate and say you’re going to focus on outreach on day one, internal projects on day two, and then client projects on day three. But if you’re anything like me, you need to do it tactically.

You need to get up first thing in the morning and see what you can work on until your first meeting of the day. I have found that sometimes it helps to send progress reports to people who don’t really care, or even myself just to chart my progress on the thing that I had said I would work on that day.

I do this just to get a little bit of external validation. Productivity is a work in progress. I don’t think I will ever be done feeling like I have the system figured out because humans’ brains don’t work that way. But do try. Humans can’t multitask and I think most of us know that. It makes me think of my 4-year old who comes in and requests 19 different things before I can get her the first thing.

Just like I can’t do all of those things for my 4-year-old in the 5 seconds she gives me for a reasonable time. I can’t do that with my to-do list either. Neither can you.

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