Boost Productivity: Small Things You Can Do Everyday to Become Successful

October 26, 2015

What makes people truly successful? How do they remain so productive? What are they doing that the rest of us seem to be missing?

It’s not some magic, unobtainable secret. In fact, it’s not usually one isolated practice, but a series of daily habits.

Successful people create habits that optimize and monetize their time. Creating a handful of meaningful habits will help anyone, even you (especially you), reach ultimate success.

What habits should you pursue? Read on to learn about different systems to keep you on track and other helpful methods of creating and enforcing meaningful habits.

1. Choose the Right Priorities

Prioritizing tasks and workflows is key to nurturing the best habits possible to achieve success. Let’s take a few moments to talk about a few time-honored methods of choosing your priorities…

ABCDE Method

This method of short-term planning can help you make sense out of a large amount of tasks. It can also act as a blueprint for understanding which habits you should focus on creating.

Essentially, the ABCDE Method is all about choosing the right priorities.

First, make a list of everything that needs to be done in no particular order. Next, write ABCDE in the margins next to each item. Each letter stands for a different category:

  • A – Very important
  • B – Important
  • C – Nice to do
  • D – Delegate
  • E – Eliminate

It’s as simple as that.

Eat the Frog

Mark Twain famously advised people to eat a live frog in the morning because nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day. While I hope nobody took this advice literally, it’s excellent advice for deciding which tasked should become morning habits.

Take your biggest, scariest task of the day and do it first. The idea is that everything else should feel like a breeze, and you won’t have to worry about procrastinating it all day.

The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule evolved from a report about income disparity in Italy. It has been adapted by entrepreneurs as a method of understanding that 80% of your happiness (and income) will extend from 20% of your actions.

Identifying that 20% might be difficult, but can be done by looking at your meaningful results and seeing which actions produced them. Over time, you’ll understand which actions should become regular habits to help you reach success.

2. Use a Task Management System that Works for You

Task management systems are vital to the life of an entrepreneur. Building your business requires a series of tasks that must be done on a daily basis. How are you managing them?

A Physical Planner

Some of the most technology-minded entrepreneurs I know actually prefer a physical day planner. While I left mine in the 1990’s (shout out to Palm Pilot), physical planners have been making a comeback.

Passion Planner is a prime example of a modern take on the classic day planner. It’s geared more for modern life and helps put focus on positive events and weekly goals.

Mobile Apps

Smartphones and tablets have changed the entrepreneurial game in many ways.

Mobile task management allows you to plan your day, track how your time is spent and manage to do lists. Most mobile apps, such as Wunderlist or TeuxDeux, have a corresponding web interface to create a consistent experience throughout all of your devices.

Explore different apps, using each for the same amount of time and comparing your experience.

Project Management Systems

If you need to get serious about a project and deadlines, you need a full-fledged project management system.

These solutions transcend mobile apps and physical planners by providing different methods of tracking and planning. Popular solutions such as Asana and Basecamp are also focused on collaboration, which will help with any team projects you may start.

3. Start a Meditation Practice

“Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had… Meditation has given me centeredness and creativity. It’s also given me peace and health.”
– Ray Dalio, billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates

When most people think of meditation, they feel intimidation. Focusing on your thoughts can be scary, especially when starting out.

Luckily, you don’t have to meditate for 4 hours per day to start reaping the rewards. Focusing on stillness and your breathing for 5-10 minutes per day is all you need.

If meditation isn’t your thing, you could even benefit from some basic breathing exercises to get centered and focused.

4. Plan Out Your Day the Night Before

Take the time every evening to plan out the next day. Use your task management system of choice to understand which tasks must be handled the next day and craft a to-do list.

Instead of doing this in the morning when the coffee is battling your desire to go back to bed, you’ll begin your day with a clear focus of what must be done.

5. Minimize Distractions

Distractions come in many shapes and forms, especially for freelancers. You might have other people at home distracting you, social networks and humors links, or even business related distractions. How can you cut these out?

  • Have a private space with a closed door. Tell everyone in the house that this is your time to work. Make it clear that this is how you pay your rent and ask to be left alone.  
  • Use a site blocker extension for your browser. Are you a Reddit lurker or Facebook addict? It adds an extra step (disabling the extension) between you and your distraction, which might be enough time for you to realize that you should focus on work.
  • Set aside time for distracting business tasks. Business distractions can often be the worst, because they feel productive. Avoid this trap by setting aside time for emails and other distracting tasks that clutter your day.

6. Delegate Nonessential Tasks

You don’t have to go it alone. Getting someone else to help you with things like administrative duties, invoicing, project management and other things can enable you to get more done.

Affordable virtual assistants have helped countless business owners streamline their day by taking items off their plate. Sure, it will eat into operating costs, but the gains made from your focus will (ideally) offset the expense.

Be the Mosaic

When viewed up close, a mosaic is a chaotic collection of dots of various sizes. When you step back, you see that they form a detailed, beautiful picture.

Your daily habits are the chaotic dots. But as you do these small tasks, they can morph together to make something beautiful. Use these small things everyday to grow your business and create a picture for the world to admire.  

What daily habits have you cultivated to enhance your success? Please share them below!

about the author

Freelance Contributor Chelsei Henderson is a content marketing consultant helping freelancers and entrepreneurs build successful companies in the digital world.