Increase productivity vs life gets in the way & other excuses

Want to get something done?

Increase productivity and sales with Jane FranklandMost people know the saying “Want to get something done? Then ask a busy person.” It’s true though isn’t it. They can always find a way. So today it’s all about finding ways to increase productivity and I’m gonna warn you now. Brace yourself. I’m taking no prisoners in this post.

If I had a dollar or pound for every time I heard this “life gets in the way” BS excuse I’d be one rich lady. It’s not that I’m being unsympathetic. I do genuinely understand how tricky it is to build your business around other commitments, but find me one woman who’s not busy!  Seriously, whether or not you’ve got a business or a family, these days we’re all busy – BUSY out of our minds! CRAZY BUSY! However, when it comes to being busy we all compete on a level playing field. You see we all have 24 hours in our day.

So no excuses. No BS cause some people just get stuff done….irrespective of whatever is going on. And I say, hats off to them! [Hence the hat in the picture!]

So, why do some people get more stuff done in their day and others don’t? How do you gain control of your time before it drives you crazy? And whilst we’re at it, how many of you really know how to take those 24 hours in your day and turn them into money?

Why do I ask? Well that’s what entrepreneurship is really all about. It’s about taking time and turning it into money. Right?

Don’t answer that! It’s a rhetorical question silly!

Now as women you might think we’re well suited for this simple task as we’re well known for possessing that “special gift” called multi-tasking. It’s something we excel at. However, that’s just simply another myth. Multi-tasking doesn’t work! There I’ve said it! Actually I wrote about it a while ago upon my discovery – The real truth about women and multi-tasking and how to increase productivity. Now multi-tasking is a great concept, but the human brain simply cannot cope – not even a woman’s brain!  You see, if you try to divide your attention among a number of tasks your concentration suffers and your performance and productivity are shot.

So, when you know your To Do List is turning into a Wish List, your family hasn’t seen you for months, you’ve given up on sleep, you’re looking like s**t, you’re trying to cram in too many things, you know you have to take action.

And here’s how I can help you increase productivity. I’ve been there, done it and worn the blinking T-Shirt! I figured it out so I could get a load of stuff done. How else would I have been able to build a multi-million dollar business in two years whilst raising three kids? Uum?!

So keep up at the back, let’s get going…

Video break [ignore if you prefer reading]

3 tips for getting more done in your day

The only way to increase productivity and get more productive when you’re short on time is by systematizing. I know processes and systems don’t exactly sound sexy or creative but they work. Having a system or process enables you to get your stuff done. Punto! And, getting your stuff done means you get to enter your genius zone, to be creative which will make you feel amazing! Oh and by the way, it’ll make you money too!  So keep up at the back, let’s get going…

#1. Batch, chunk and time

Batching or chunking is an extremely efficient way to get things done. It’s all about looking at a certain task and batching it into one span of time. For example, when I coach my students I always recommend they do this with their blogs, auto-responders, videos and many of their social media activities. I ask them to allocate a span of time each week to tackle each activity. For blogging and video blogging I tend to recommend getting a month’s worth of content produced. This enables them to get in full flow; blogging become easier and therefore quicker to do. RESULT!

Another thing I get them to do relates to their inbound communications i.e. their messages via email, Facebook, Skype, text or the phone. If you’re receiving these throughout your day via sound notifications you’re in trouble. A distraction such as this equals taking your eye off the ball. It eats into your day. It slows you down. So set a time to check your messages. I usually do this three times a day – morning, noon and night. Attack all of your messages in one batch too. Keep everything switched off until then.

Apply the same principle to your meetings and even to your errands. Having a system like this works so well if you have kids. I often joke that at times it feels like I’m mobilizing an army!

If you add a timer to your batching you’ll be even more productive. There’s something psychological about using a timer in a schedule.  You’ll be amazed at how much more work you’ll get done. I use one to manage my email. The tool I use is called The Email Game. Have a go, it’s kind of fun!

#2. Become time sensitive

Pay attention to what you’re doing and how long the tasks you’re doing are taking. You can then estimate better when it comes to planning. The easiest way to do this is by keeping a record of it all. I recommend you do this for about 7 days.

#3. Use procrastination to your advantage

Procrastination can actually be a good thing. Now I bet you didn’t expect me to say that now did you? Well the reason I say this is because it’s going to help you see how you work best. Look at these reasons for why you might be procrastinating on a project or task and see if anything resonates:

  • You don’t enjoy the task. If this is the case liberate yourself. You have a choice as to whether to enjoy something or not. I hope you’re smiling now! I’ll use me as an example for this story. Admin. Urrgh. I hate it. It drives me crazy. Whilst I can do it, it’s my least favourite task. So what do I do? First of all I use the DDA rule. If I don’t like doing something I either delete it, delegate it, or automate it. Thank you Ali Brown for teaching me this. In this case I allocate it to my General VA. And, if you want to grow your business I’d advise you do the same. Outsource anything that’s not a core skill ASAP. I discussed this the other week when I blogged about what your time is worth and mastering time management.
  • You may not enjoy a part of the task. If you’re putting off a project because there’s one part you don’t enjoy you may be putting off the whole thing. Now there are two ways to handle this. 1) You can either outsource this aspect (delegate it) or 2) you can automate it. Before doing either of those things though, check the problem. I’ll give you another story to illustrate this point. I was working with a client recently who had a problem with their social media (or so they thought). Their challenge was: “we know what we should be doing, but we’re just not doing it.” I bet this sounds familiar. Now as it turned the problem they had related to developing a strategy and subsequent system for their social media. Once we worked out a strategy and a system, which we then turned into a habit, the problem disappeared.
  • You don’t know how to handle the task. For example I was working with someone who wasn’t taking action on a writing a sales proposal. As it turned out, her problem related to not knowing what to charge. So, I had her do some competitive research which fixed this.
  • You can’t find the time. Time is just a statement of priority so you have to schedule time to do this, get rid of other tasks to make way for this, re-prioritize your tasks or outsource some of the other tasks.
  • You feel stuck. You may just need some momentum to get going so give yourself permission to start on one aspect of the project. You’ll find that this usually creates momentum. I tend to do this with my blogging. I don’t start with the headline as I usually find this the hardest part. Instead I just start with the message or the areas that flow.
  • You don’t really want to do what you thought you wanted to do. You may have the wrong strategy. Think about your objective. Is this something you really want to do? Is this something you really need to do? If you’re not sure leave it for a while. Meditate on it or just let it sit until you get clarification.

 Now I want to hear from you…

Tell me what activities you’re putting off, what methods you’re using for being more productive and how you increase productivity in your day.

Thanks for participating!

With love and gratitude – as always,


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Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security entrepreneur, consultant and speaker who has had a diverse career encompassing art and design; business development; and operations. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own companies and at several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business development solutions. Right now she is writing a book on gender diversity in cyber security and is focused on increasing the numbers of women in the profession.

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  • Vishal Garg says:

    Hi Jane,

    Nice article. I am going to take this advise on board and batch my activities which I have to admit that I had not been doing till now. I would also like to add that having a right mix of tools to get the job done also helps with increased productivity. I have recently sourced a GTD based tool and developed a system to use it effectively which has really helped me to get more done during my day.

    Best regards

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