When I started studying the concept of essentialism, it changed the way I worked. Now, I am no longer afraid to say “No” to projects that weren’t a good fit for my skills (or to working with clients that I didn’t love). I now decline clients that aren’t ideal for my very eclectic business. And I have protected my peak hours and only say “yes” to projects that excite me or work with people I can truly love and their business.
Essentialism is definitely one of the best productivity boosters today. If you’ve been struggling with your productivity, consider following some of these tips
Know Your Priority
At the beginning of each day, ask yourself:
“What the most important thing I could do today?”
Ideally, this task should be moving you closer to your ultimate goal. Don’t try to cheat and answer with 41 different tasks.
A priority is meant to be a singular thing. When you have multiple priorities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed. Go back to basics by choosing just one priority to focus on and take one step toward it. For example, if your priority is to write a book then your next step would be writing just one page.
I have a paper diary where I write down my top priority (okay, so I don’t always just have one, but I try). I find a paper diary helps me with this more than just doing it on my google calendar or something.
Think about the tasks that you do repeatedly that require multiple steps. If you’re a web designer, perhaps you spend a lot of time setting up new websites. Next time you’re setting one up, create a checklist of steps you take.
Then when you have to set up a new website on the next project, the task will be easier. You can simply pull out your checklist and follow the steps outlined. The other advantage to creating systems is that you can easily outsource them once your checklist is completed.
Guard Your Energy
No matter how productive you are, there will always be a few tasks that drain you. For you, that might be writing a sales letter or setting up a new shopping cart. While you can’t always avoid these tasks, you can choose to do them when you have plenty of energy. Not only will they be easier to complete, you’ll feel better knowing they’re done.
Try paying attention to how your energy ebbs and flows throughout your work day. For example, if you’re a morning person, you may be at your best around nine am. If you’re a night owl, the best time to tackle a complex task might be eleven at night. Use this information to plan your idea. You want to tackle your toughest tasks when you have the most energy.
I don’t like to work late at night because I have a long history of insomnia. If I work late at night, I will lay in bed with thoughts of work going through my head. I recently got very active on Pinterest and I created a ton of pin graphics in Canva. I was so engrossed in what I was doing, it was well after midnight when I finally went to bed. As I tried to sleep, pin graphics kept floating across eyelids. It was a long night!
Take a hard look at what’s on your schedule.
Are there tasks that you could consolidate or even do away with?
Are there alternatives that would provide just as much value to you and your business?
For example, Lacey had weekly progress meetings with the freelance writer she outsourced to. Then she realized a meeting wasn’t necessary, so she switched it up. She asked her writer to send her a 2-3 paragraph summary each Friday instead, freeing up valuable space on her calendar.
Essentialism can give you the space you need to get things done. It’s exciting to work on energizing tasks, simplified projects, and amazing clients that love your business.