Productivity

One of the things that definitely does not come easy to me is doing small chunks of work on projects continuously. I would much rather sit down, be in the zone, and power through something right away and be done with it.

Someone I met once, told me that this was because I was young, and that I would realize the right ways when I am older. Looking at people, old or young, I however often see the same behavior. I refuse to subscribe to a theory that how you do things purely depends on age.

You have a lot to win to teach yourself to made continuous small progress on many projects. One of the reasons is that doing the big chunks of work at once requires you to be “in the zone”. Sure, when this happens work is nothing but pure enjoyment. But really, ask yourself. Do you spend all your weeks “in the zone”?

When you learn to do a little work all the time, you are essentially trying to lessen the impact of the days when you are not feeling up to it. You are making it easier for yourself to get started and get at least something done. As a consequence you will be overall much more productive and efficient.

I’m always asked how I can manage everything that I do. That is, run a successful business, study economics full time at the side, while still finding time to friends and some time off too.

I wrote about prioritization and focusing your efforts a while ago, and while this is a must as well, you still need to manage what is left. What this most often comes down to is sheer mental power.

What sets a productive person apart from a less productive peer, is his or her ability to just get down to it and just focus, regardless of how unappealing and daunting of a prospect it is.

Fortunately, there are some tricks. My best tip to you is to write down a list of things, a recipe, that you can use to try and clear your mind and get focused. For me, this list includes going out for a walk or run, putting on some good music or reading something inspiring (I like magazines—Harvard Business Review and The Economist).

By clearing your mind, you are able to get down to focus, a skill that truly is what sets apart productive, and dare I say successful, people from the rest. It takes practice. It is not always easy. But in the long run, it is very rewarding.

On Being an Early Riser

“The Early Bird Catches the Worm”. This is just one of the many sayings about the importance of being early. If there’s one thing that studies commonly show about “successful people” it is that they tend to rise early.

Myself, I am a wannabe morning person. I’m not the one to sleep away the whole mornings, but I am also not the one to naturally get up really early. But I want to be.

Why is this you ask? It’s actually quite simple. You get ahead. Quickly. Just think about it. If you are up and start your day at 5am, you will have had time to catch up on the news, do some important work and be ready to tackle the rest of the world as it wakes up around 8-9am. It works because most people do not get up early, but if you do, you are already at an advantage to everyone else.

As uncomfortable as it may feel, a personal goal of mine is trying to be an early riser. At least a 6am start is where I want to end up. I also know that I am much more effective in the morning hours compared to late at night in general.

I’ll be the first to admit that it is a bit of a challenge, but improving is never easy and we all like a bit of a challenge once in a while, right? So we’ll just have to see in a few months: Have I become the early riser that I want to be?

I enjoy doing a lot of things. From simply being a businessman, teaching web and media, doing consulting work, developing websites for clients to being a great guy and helping people with their web and tech related problems.

What I’ve found, would you believe it, is that it really is time to focus. This is no business driven decision. This is a health decision. You see, there comes a time when you have to realize that despite all of these things without a problem being doable in the amount of time you are given each day, each comes with its own sets of accountability and pressure.

The problem is that as this pressure on you builds up, it quickly becomes too much, as each area explodes at, interestingly enough, the very same time.

There is a rule as much in business as in life known as the 80/20 rule. 80% of the results comes from 20% of the efforts. Realizing that this holds true in most situations, you also realize when it is time to focus.

Unfortunately, giving up things you love doing is not an easy task. The jury is still out on exactly how I am going to tackle this, but trust me, there is a limit to how much you want to do, long term.

As most people, I have a blog. In fact you’re reading it right now. Truthfully, I don’t just have one blog, but I should also—in a perfect world—be blogging over on my company site. Publicity builds brands and promotes good products, as it is called, or in my case being a consultant and running a service business, promotes my knowledge.

The problem, which I am sure you are facing too, is finding the time to blog. Actually, this isn’t quite right. Often, finding the time is not the issue, even prioritizing blogging is not the issue. The issue is sitting there, trying to come up with posts, but the mind drawing a blank.

Every holiday season and summer I feel an urge to start blogging regularly again. After all, I have quite a lot of opinions that I’d like to voice. Give it a few weeks once my hectic life cuts back in and any trail of well articulated post is gone with the wind.

When thinking about this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is not about setting the bar too high nor as we have already said about finding the time. What I think the main reason for not being able to keep the blogging going is that I, and many others, don’t give ourselves the time to reflect in our everyday lives on the topics we wish to write about.

Everything is focused around our direct work and by the time we get home we are inundated with other things to get done that we rarely find ourselves able to sit down, perhaps read an industry publication and reflect. Through reflecting we do the real work, coming up with interesting new angles which can be turned into interesting blog posts.

Not being able to blog consistently and drawing blank on posts, may be simply because you are not giving yourself enough time to reflect on the topics you want to write about. I for one, will be trying (yet another time, mind you) to try and fit in reflection time as we head into yet another new year.