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5 Tips to Get More Meaningful Work Done With Less Effort

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I take time management seriously, but I didn’t use to. I used to spend hours procrastinating and putting off work, only to have to rush to complete tasks in the last minute just to keep my teachers and my bosses happy. My attention to detail suffered, as did my mental state as I struggled to fight off the anxiety that would creep up every time I was up against a deadline.

Somehow I managed not to fail out of school or get fired for negligence, but I knew that there had to be a better way to get by. Studies have found that people at work are typically only about 30% efficient in their daily activities.

This means, 70% of the time employees aren’t focused 100% on the work they’re supposed to be doing, likely distracted by those around them or other work-related events (i.e. emails, telephone calls, etc.) that are constantly popping up to get their attention. In the time since my “procrastination phase”, I have spent hundreds of hours interviewing people all around the world about their productivity and goal setting habits.

The following are five tips that will help you get more work done with less effort, if you’re willing to put in the time up front:

1. Define what success looks like

The key to getting more done with less effort (and in less time – in many cases) is to start a task with a defined end goal in mind. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does success look like?
  • What is my vision for how it will turn out?
  • What purpose will it serve?

Define the parameters of your success for each major task you are working towards. Set time deadlines and delivery deadlines. The more precise you can be, the easier it will be to stay motivated to move forward and remain accountable to yourself and others.

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” – Zig Ziglar

2. Identify your most important actions

Think about what actions you must take at each stage to ensure that you reach your definition of success. Having the best strategy in the world to reach a goal will get you nowhere without clearly defined tactics.

If you have multiple tasks to complete within a set period of time, write each tactic down underneath the specified task. Alongside each tactic, write out what measurable outcome will define completion of the tactic along with a deadline for completing it.

An example might look something like this:

Goal – Lose 10 pounds by March

  • Exercise (Run for 30 minutes 3 times a week)
  • Eat healthy food (Eat 5 vegetables daily. Cut out unhealthy carbohydrates)
  • Reduce Calories (Reduce diet to 1500 calories per day)

3. Focus on the hardest part first

We are constantly given reasons to avoid doing work we know that we should be doing. We live in a world full of distractions, and it is easy to get sidetracked by outside projects and commitments that pop up at the last minute.

One way to avoid procrastination and supercharge your productivity, is to commit to doing the most uncomfortable activity you have on your to-do list first thing in the morning, right as you start your day. By doing this, you ensure that you do your hardest activity when you are at your freshest and most focused, and you will do it with more energy and enthusiasm than you would later on.

4. Take action daily

Habits take between 30 and 90 days of repetition to form. Taking action on a daily basis not only allows you to make continual progress towards your goals, it helps form the action-taking muscle that will allow you to regularly take action on new activities and tasks as they arise.

No matter what task you are trying to complete, make sure you identify at least one tactic that you can complete on a daily basis that will contribute to the success of your larger goal.

“A good plan, executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” – General George Patton

5. Measure your progress

Finally, don’t forget to measure your progress. This means not only measuring progress towards the completion of the task at hand, but also measuring your capacity to complete each task efficiently and effectively.

For each task, goal or objective you set out to accomplish, keep a careful record of the tactics that make up each. Upon completing (or failing to complete) a defined task, review what happened so that you can learn for next time. Did you complete each tactic outlined under the stated goal?

If you didn’t then you should work to improve your ability to take action on specific tactics. If you’ve completed all of the tactics outlined and still did not manage to complete your task, you should assess the tactics themselves and work to create new tactics to meet your objectives.

What tips would you give to get more done with less effort? Leave your thoughts below!

McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 

Success Advice

10 Tips to Deal With Negativity While Starting a Business

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There are ups and downs in business but fearing failures can stop you from taking your first step towards excellence. With pandemic on tow, aspiring entrepreneurs feel a little stuck when ideating a business prospect. Here, we give you some actionable tips to deal with negativity while starting a business, even during situations like a pandemic. We also took the liberty to throw in some amazing book recommendations that’ll help you enjoy the process of being positive and achieving your business goals.

10 Tips to deal with negativity while starting a business in a pandemic

1. Get a mentor

The first thing to do as a new business owner is to find the right kind of mentor. That person could be someone in your industry or in general who you look up to. The guidance must be apt for your business, and it should be a mutual responsibility of sharing knowledge. 

2. Two big R’s – Routine and Refresh

Made a mess of something? Try to reboot the situation and make it work. Take a break once in a while and refresh yourself if you feel stuck or your ideas feel mundane. Plan a routine and stick to them – both personal and professional. Having a routine can increase productivity and engage in more activities apart from your pre-planned schedule. 

3. Inculcate problem-solving mentality

Do not panic once you are thrown a problem. Arrange a meeting with the respective party, listen to both sides of the stories, and make a decision that is more realistic and feasible. 

4. Hire half and half

Whenever you hire someone for your business. Make sure that half of the people contradict your ideas, and the other half have the same mindset as yours. The people who contradict can bring in more valuable points and their perspective might take the discussion to a whole new level.  Don’t take too much time finding the perfect one. Hire an apt person who can have the right attitude. 

5. Network, Network, and Network

Find like-minded people and mingle with them. Be more sportive in the learning process. Listen more and talk less – if you are a beginner. You can only be a constructive person who gives input to someone if you have listened to everyone’s point of view. If you feel down, your network might have something to uplift your mood and change your perspective on something. 

“Negativity, in general, is one of the things that holds people back, and you have to see what’s holding you back to get away from it.” – Lucy Dacus

6. Tech-savvy personnel

Learn a thing or two about the latest technology that you implement in your organization. Since the world revolves around technology, make sure your administrative authority knows as well.  

7. Don’t schedule a meeting, that could have been an email

Yes! I said it. Having unnecessary meetings will weaken the purpose of having a constructive discussion. Having back-to-back meetings drains the team members and yourself too. Always have a 10 to 15 minutes break between each meeting to feel refreshed and give your 100%. 

8. Have a pros and cons list

Always, I mean always have a pros and cons list. Let’s say one of your team members pitch an idea to improve the marketing strategies starting next month. Jot down the pros and cons before approving or rejecting it point-blank. It’s a systematic way of making a decision. 

9. Track your finances

Even if you have a team of accountants and auditors, make sure that you are present (both mentally and physically) – learn if you are not aware of it. Trusting your employees is a must, but not overseeing the records is a mistake that should be avoided. 

10. Remember your “why?”

At some point in your hectic schedule or not having ME time can get to you. During those tough times – ask yourself – “Why am I doing this?”. If you can answer this question with a valid explanation, you’ll feel energized. Because “A purpose drives you”. 

5 Best books to read to be more positive as an entrepreneur

Reading always puts me into perspective. Therefore, I took some liberty to give a sample of positivity and determination through words. 

These are the 5 books that’ll guide you to be a more positive and successful entrepreneur. 

  1. Attitude is everything by Jeff Keller – The decisions you make, the routine you set for yourself, and the affirmations you say to yourself every day are going to make a huge difference. If you feel tired, hopeless, and quitting – then this book is for you to boost you up!
  2. Mindset: The new psychology of success by Carol Dweck – You do what you think. In this book, the author talks about two mindsets: The growth mindset and the fixed mindset and what they’ll do to you respectively. She helps you recognize your mindset and change it for the better. 
  3. Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen – This book is about technology uprisings all over the world and businesses that adopted and implemented technology in their firm. The author teaches you that just because your competitors and others are adopting something into their businesses doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Make an informed decision. 
  4. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen – This book specifically is about the power of thought and how it shapes your life into a more meaningful and fulfilling one.
  5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – The author talks about how people always keep thinking about what the future holds but then forget to live and enjoy the present. And also helps us understand how to make decisions more efficiently based on the present. 

Working towards inner balance requires consistency and perseverance. So does hard and smart work. Being negative is a part of our lives. It’s important to channel it appropriately and make things happen despite the roller coaster ride that is our lives. Hope you overcome your fears and negativity to shine bigger and brighter. Cheers! 

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Defining Your Own Success: A Step by Step Guide

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Everyone wants success in their lives, but success can be defined in so many different ways that it can sometimes seem daunting. In this blog post, you will learn how to make success easier for yourself by defining what success means to you. (more…)

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5 Characteristics of Athletes You Need for Business Success

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Michigan State basketball coach, Tom Izzo, wrote “Players play. Tough players win.” I would add to that, “It’s tough to win.”I think if you, as a leader, are looking to build an organization that is successful – that wins – you first have to accept that it will be tough. There are no shortcuts to success. In my 44 years of coaching, I was fortunate to coach a lot of tough players. I believe the toughness I have seen in athletes corresponds well to any organization or business. (more…)

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5 Changes in Your Habits That Will Help You Thrive

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We’ve all found ourselves at the bottom at least once in our lives. We thought that everything’s ruined and there’s no going back. The truth is – there’s always going back. Moreover, it takes one to fall many times and feel like everything’s ruined to succeed in life. (more…)

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