How to get stuff done – frustrations and frogs

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Get stuff done - Frustrations and frogsContinuing in our series on small business efficiency this article tackles how to get stuff done.

Getting stuff done sounds easy. Sit down and do it.  However, every business owner knows that real life just doesn’t work that way.

Does this sound familiar?

You’re just arriving at the office and have in your mind that your first job of the day will be to follow up on all quotes sent out in the last week. That’s 10 phone calls, simple, you should be done by the end of the morning.

You put your key in the lock, open the door and then it begins.  The phone is ringing, someone is selling you stuff (weren’t you going to be the one doing the selling today??). You finally escape from the phone and Jeff arrives with a very important issue on a project that only you can handle. 2 hours later and you sit down, finally with a cup of coffee and switch on the computer.  35 emails are glaring at you, some have those worrying red exclamation marks on them… you just quickly check on these then you’ll make some calls…

And so it goes on.

When is your best time?

For me it’s the morning, I have bags of energy and I’m projecting (or try to) positivity – a great time to be making sales calls or doing anything that will require some tenacity!

Do you ever get that 3pm slump? You’ve raced through the morning (where did that go??) and find yourself sitting down to tackle important tasks and your brain is just…fuzzy. Your levels of concentration are well below par and distractions are everywhere, you just don’t really want to do what you have to do.  Your energy is at an all time low.

Before you go for the chocolate…

It’s a quick fix to grab a sugar or caffeine laden treat as a pick me up, but studies have shown this can have the opposite effect. A peak in your blood sugar levels will give you a temporary boost but is followed by a crash where you can end up feeling worse that you did to start with.

How to make the most of your day

For me, as a morning person, I want to start my day with as few distractions as possible.  Get straight into the stuff that matters.  In fact, most of my ‘real work’ is done and dusted before noon.

I never used to work like this – I was always a little more, shall we say haphazard in my day’s organisation. I worked through my task list with dogged determination and always met deadlines but I was exhausted by 5pm.  Now I tackle the hard stuff first and get it out of the way whilst my brain is on full power, then I sort the rest of my tasks into whatever time there is left.

How to be more productive

A major influence in my change of approach has been Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy.  In this book Brian sets out a really simple way to approach your tasks so you not only get stuff done but actually get more enjoyment and satisfaction as a result – and who would say no to that?

To help me implement Brian’s ideas I went a step further and kept a diary for a few weeks.  At the beginning of the day I would set out my frogs (you will know what I mean if you read the book), then at the end of the day I add frog stickers to those that I had achieved (I loved stickers as a child and I still like them now – who cares if it’s crazy, as long as it works).  For me it was a great visual way of seeing how much I had achieved.  The more I did, the more satisfaction I felt.  Eating frogs is a natural thing for me now.

The result?

I get more stuff done and I have more energy at the end of the day. My clients get a better service as I tackle tasks when I’m working at my optimal level. I have more energy for my family and friends at the end of the day. So it really is a win for everyone.

No time to read

It’s not always easy to find time to sit down and read a book – there’s always something (or someone) to distract you.  I’m a big fan of audio books.  You can listen to your favourite titles in the car, when you’re walking the dog, doing the ironing or even when you’re squeezing in a run or visit to the gym.  It’s a super way to improve your productivity and get stuff done.

I generally use the Audible app on my phone – as my phone plugs into my car stereo too, but you can buy cd’s too.

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