I am always interested and looking at ways to be more productive throughout any given day, week or month. I have long been effective at using my task list and calendar, but sometimes it is not enough.
I have learned that when a similar idea or concept pops up repeatedly in my life, that is a clue that I should be paying attention. When a friend talked about using a timer for productivity and then I heard about the Pomodoro Technique I decided I should give this a try.
I have run my business affairs for as long as I can remember around my task list, calendar and – as soon as it was widely available – e-mail. It has been my method of organizing my day, ensuring priorities and projects are completed and very few (if any) details fall through the cracks. But was I keeping an empty inbox? Not quite.
The challenge has been to update and modify my behaviors as new technologies are developed and become widely used. Although I have done reasonably well in the realms of my task list and calendar, e-mail has always been a bit of a challenge. When I first started using e-mail, it was the exclusive domain of business people sharing “important” business information. As time marched on, it became more prevalent for personal correspondence to the point that today it is often our primary mode of communication. The result is an inbox that contains dozens, hundreds or thousands of messages; keeping an empty inbox, then, seems like fiction.
Over the past several months, we have been living in a vast sea of dirt. Our fenced yard is about a half an acre and we are completely remodeling our landscape.
As part of our yard remodel we have worked with a number of contractors including a builder, designer, landscaper, gutter installer, “cement guy,” outdoor lighting professional and metal worker. Not all of these working relationships have been stellar, but they haven’t been all bad, either.
Activities we engage in on a regular basis are often described as habits. But before they become habits, we must first develop a discipline of repeated activities. This is where recurrence can come to the rescue.
Most of us develop a habit of brushing our teeth while we are young, but rarely does that occur without some level of nagging from our parents. They are critical in providing the discipline and accountability for us to develop the habit. As we move out on our own we have to find new methods for developing habits. Whereas self-discipline is the method we use for personal habits, there are often repeating tasks that are critical in developing a business that runs smoothly. Recurrence is a feature that is available in a variety of program and applications. When utilized properly, it can develop new patterns, reduce time spent on administrative tasks and free up mental energy for more creative endeavors. Recurrence features save time not only in your business life but in your personal life as well.
As a soloprenuer it is easy to get caught up in the belief that you are on your own. And you are to some point, but there is also relatively easy access to a much bigger world through social media.
When you function as a business of one, it is easy to get caught up in your own beliefs, understanding and experiences. This is where finding and working with a mentor is important. As most people focus on how to use social media as a marketing tool, I want to discuss how to use social media to find a mentor.
For as long as I can remember, my productivity has been guided by two things: my task list and my calendar. However, these two items have rarely truly been managed in tandem.
I would set appointments with clients, for meetings or personal activities and then the time I had left was available for my task list. For some of my job positions (particularly some of my first jobs) this actually made sense. But as I moved up in management it probably was not so wise. And now as a solopreneur, it is even less so.
I remember it like it was yesterday: A small box arrived at my desk, and it was the sign I had truly arrived in the world of business. I had my own, personalized business card.
And back in the day, it really was the ultimate inexpensive marketing tool. Go to networking events, share your business card and get other people’s business cards in return. With the advent of ubiquitous internet access, social media and the like, many feel that the business card as a marketing tool is outdated – but I would have to disagree.