How To Optimise Your Efforts
How do you optimise your efforts when there is so much to get done?
On any given day, my unstapled notes papers looks like this:
- Send an email to â€¦
- Design workshop for â€¦
- Call â€¦
- Book plane to â€¦
- Check in with â€¦
- Send book to â€¦
- Schedule a call with â€¦
- Write blog post
- Write newsletter
- Decide the editorial plan
On my good day this is what my to-do list looks like:
- Write the newsletter
Do you notice the difference?
My any given days are not busier than my good days, but in the latter I make the decision to focus. And guess what, on my good days I feel like a superhero! Because not only I complete my task but Iâ€™m more relaxed and have time to focus on other things without feeling pressured, stressed and overwhelmed.
Why you should optimise your efforts
When you are a one-person business like in me optimising your effort is a skill to learn, master and implement all of the time. Because the alternative is to drive yourself crazy or beat yourself up because you havenâ€™t done what you (think) were supposed to be doing. Optimising your efforts means you are able to follow the tasks and feel calm, satisfied in making progress.
How to optimise your efforts
This all sounds good and right, but information is nothing without a step-by-step guide, one to tell you where to start from to optimise your efforts. So, here is something to start with: eight ways to optimise your efforts.Â
Revise your goals
First thing first, if you want to do more by doing less you need to know why you are doing something in the first place. Itâ€™s not enough to say:
â€œI have to post every dayâ€
â€œI need to network moreâ€
â€œI should keep a blogâ€
Your efforts are completely and sadly wasted if you donâ€™t know why you are doing all these things. Ask yourself:
- Whatâ€™s my overall goal?
- What is the primary goal for this specific action?
- Will this take me closer to my final goals?
Know that generic answers like, â€œI want to be known by more peopleâ€ are not real answers or at least they are not complete. Which is why you should challenge yourself by asking â€œWhy?â€ after every answer you give (if you have been to one of my workshops or taken my sessions, you know I ask lots of Whys).
Give yourself SMART goals
â€œI want to be known by more peopleâ€ is not a SMART goal. â€œI want to be known by five thousands people by the 13th of December 2020â€ is a SMART goals. Where for SMART is intended Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. SMART goals are great because they force us to specify our goals and specific goals means weâ€™ll have specific actions to take. Which in the end means you donâ€™t have to spread your efforts thin by doing an insurmountable amount of things.
This is one of my favourite. Imagine you have to bake a cake but the kitchen is filled with stuff you are no longer using and have been meaning to bring to a charity shop. When looking for the utensils to bake your cake youâ€™ll first have to make your way around the stuff you donâ€™t need anymore. This will cost you time.
Same thing when you are creating content, working towards an aim or connecting to people. Irrelevant readings will waste your time, irrelevant platforms will cost you time, irrelevant actions will cost you money. As a rule of thumb think that if something is working you should just do more of that. The rest can be tossed away for the moment.
Do more of what is working
Here is a simple one if you want to optimise your efforts in your communication. If something is working, do more of that. Become a pro in it and enjoy the results. Once you have reached a point where you are satisfied of the results, you can start thinking about new approaches and new avenues. You can think about it as a video game, you shouldnâ€™t advance to level two before mastering level one.
Do the most difficult thing first
Sometimes optimise our efforts is a matter of getting the things that really matter, done. So here is a tip to really optimise your efforts and time: start with the most difficult tasks. Firstly, youâ€™ll feel like a superhero. Secondly, youâ€™ll spend time on what really matters. Thirdly, everything else will look like a yummy piece of cake. Finally, youâ€™ll see progress.
Think while walking
If you want to up your game and optimise your efforts (and time), stop thinking in front of your laptop. Because of the transcendental relationship many of us have with our portable computers, we somehow believe all the answers will come from it. And in doing so we waste so much time! Laptops are for translating the idea into something else, but the idea can be thought elsewhere, maybe while walking in the park. Many of the ideas for my newsletter come by observing the external world, I send myself an email with some notes and work on it later.
Measure how far youâ€™ve come
As I mentioned before, optimising your efforts is a matter of knowing where you are going. You need to know your goals. And once that is clear, you need to measure how far youâ€™ve come, only because you need to measure how many steps ahead you made. Otherwise youâ€™ll keep running in circle, tired, demotivated and clueless.
Be kind to yourself
You are human. Remember that. We all are. So forgive yourself for not being at the top of your game all the time! You are not supposed to. Breathe. I was never a big fun of this suggestion, but seriously, donâ€™t get buried by the amount of things you think you need to get done. Start with one. Baby steps, are huge steps. Start with one and keep on moving. One step, breathe in, breath out. Second step. And so on.