Are you an entrepreneur of any kind chasing elusive productivity hacks, trying to get organized and put your life and business back on track?
If you haven’t had a chance to watch this video yet, take a few minutes now.
It’ll make the rest of this post much easier to understand.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
What I really want to break down today is 3 things:
- A similar system that I use for content and social media creation
- How I stay productive (despite being a single mom and managing a million dollar biz)
- Why low tech is better than any digital options out there.
There’s 5 places and ways that I keep the content I need at my fingertips, each one has it’s own purpose.
i) When it comes to something I’ll refer to fairly often (like email templates, design guides, etc) I log it all in Evernote.
I don’t need to reference this every day (like a calendar or to-do list) but I want it easily accessible no matter where I am.
ii) If signage or advertisements catch my attention, I snap a photo of them.
These are great for using in posts or kicking off an idea for some new content.
iii) If it’s someone’s sales page, opt in or social media post I’ll snip the page then pop it into Evernote.
I’ve been creating my own “swipe copy” of ideas for years. This is great to see what your competition is doing, what kinds of things audiences are responding to and keep up to date with what’s happening in your industry.
iv) I have regular meetings with my clients, so I’ve created a reusable template in Dropbox paper. That agenda is shared with anybody who’s going to be in the meeting, and much like Google Docs as that document is updated everyone can see it on their screens in real-time. At the bottom of the agenda are two sections: one is a place for any FYI notes that we have to keep in mind and the other is a checklist of any tasks that need to be completed.
v) Everything else happens on paper. Yes, cheap (usually) Dollar store notebooks.
Whether I want to create a new blog post, write an email, or whip up something new for social media, I use the same process as Derek in the video. I look at the files I have already and piece together the bones of what I want to say.
PRODUCTIVITY – A 2 PART PRACTICE
“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end”
– Leonardo Da Vinci
I’m a list builder. Seriously, when I was a kid, my parents teased me that I kicked things off with a list of all the lists I needed to write. They thought I was a little neurotic, but turns out, there’s a reason I’m the way I am.
There’s something called the Zeigarnik effect which basically says that we’ll remember the things we haven’t done far better than the things we’ve already done. There was a study done which concluded that if you write your tasks down, you’ll be more effective.
There are days I have to trick myself so I can get my butt in gear. Even when I don’t want to work, I tell myself that I’m just going to open my laptop or bring out my notebook but I’m not doing anything else.
Try it the next time you don’t want to get moving – it totally works.
People have this absolute need to be consistent in what they do, or at least the need to appear consistent. A couple of Canadian psychologists proved that when they studied people who were betting on horses. Right before they placed the bet, they weren’t always the most confident on their choice, but right after popping that money down, they were sure they’d win.
Nothing changed, but their need to appear consistent in their betting choice changed how they acted. Get it?
The second part of this is actually writing it down (vs digital lists)
If you’ve ever watched The Help, Aibileen Clark was known in her community for her prayers working miracles. She attributed this to writing them down. Every coach in the world wants you to write down your goals and commitments and share it with everyone.
(Which brings up another point – why sharing your goals works better than keeping it to yourself. Maybe I’ll do a video on that tomorrow.)
The best door-to-door salesmen were ones that could employ high-pressure sales tactics that convinced unknowing homeowners to sign on the dotted line. That boom came to a halt when governments started introducing a cooling-off period after you sign a contract (you can get out of anything within 48 hours) and cancellations went through the roof.
Savvy salesmen changed 1 thing that reduced those cancellations drastically. They had the customers fill out the sales agreement.
Did you make the connection?
When we put something in our own handwriting, we’re far more loyal to our word than if we don’t write it down.
Therefore, writing down your goals for the day, your absolute must-do’s and the things you need to remember to do will help, by way of human nature, that it gets done.
I believe in this so much that even with my dominant hand in a sling for 4 to 6 weeks, I’m still writing things down with my left hand.
Video on Time Management for Entrepreneurs
This was a livestream I did for my audience because EVERYONE was trying to figure out how to fit everything into one day. Make sure you skip the first part (start around the 2 minute mark). Watch it here.
This is an old post (slated to be updated!) on how I use Evernote in both my personal and business life. See the break down here.
It may not seem like it, but I’m a huge procrastinator. I did a video diary once on what this means for me. I’ve since updated the Daily Productivity sheet. Grab the new version free here. (no opt-in required)
How do entrepreneurs stay productive?
1. Write down, in your own handwriting, the things you need to get done.
2. Break large goals down into smaller tasks
3. Any more than three “must-do” tasks in a day to prevent overwhelm. (use the free productivity sheet)
4. An ideal day schedule. This should include time for eating, breaks, personal time, and blocks of work time
What is the Zeigarnik effect?
The Zeigarnik effect shows that we are more likely to remember incomplete or interrupted tasks more than completed tasks. This and work as a motivator because we have a tendency to want to complete things that are unfinished. In marketing, we often use open loops to create tension – like Cliffhangers in your favourite TV show – our mind is always seeking to close that loop we are always going to be want to reduce the discomfort we feel from uncertainty and anything that is unresolved.
How can I set up Evernote to stay organized?
Start by determining what kind of information you’re going to keep inside of Evernote. I have both business and personal notebooks so that everything is at the tip of my fingers. My notebook stacks include Home Life, Business SOPs, Filing Cabinet, Medical, and Work Life.
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