There’s nothing worse than the frustration of an unending List of Things To Do that just gets longer.
No sooner do you cross off one item than another takes its place.
Does this sound familiar?
(I currently have over 300 items on my giant list. I can’t even look at it all at once or it will send me into cardiac arrest!)
Fortunately, success leaves clues. Copy the habits, routines and systems of the most successful and productive people that make “getting it done” possible.
Secret #1 – Engage the 80/20 Rule.
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Law, holds that roughly 20% of your actions are responsible for 80% of your results.
This will be true in any area of your life under the influence of positive feedback, wherein more of something enhances the effect. Including your wedding business.
- 80% of your wedding business’ profit comes from 20% of your clients
- 80% of your website traffic comes from 20% of its sources
- 80% of your work results come from 20% of your working time (effort)
Seek out the 20% of your activities that are responsible for 80% of the results.
The 80/20 Rule is fractal, meaning you can find the most impactful 20% of the 20%, and then the 20% of that 20%, and on.
This tells us there are some things that take almost zero time that are incredibly valuable.
What types of things could those be?
- The decisions we make and stick to.
- The habits we create.
- Those few minutes at the start of the day when you prioritize your work tasks.
Focus on your maximum ROI to get more results with less effort. It’s not laziness; it’s survival.
Secret #2 – Learn to say NO.
It’s simply not possible to do everything you want to do. Even if we were somehow able to add another 8 hours to every day (the horror!) you’d simply fill it up with more stuff to do.
If you want to have the time to say YES to something, you simply must say NO to something else.
What should you say no to?
- Activities you hate.
- Things that don’t create value. (Junk TV, mindless Facebook trolling, empty calories, gossip.)
- Anything that doesn’t excite you.
Yeah, I said it. Say no to anything you aren’t really excited about, like Derek Sivers does.
Saying no to those “good” opportunities means you’ll be available when the really great ones come along.
Secret #3 – Create a Morning Success Ritual.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why?
Because it sets the tone for the entire rest of your day in terms of the energy you have to work with.
Take advantage of the first part of your day, when you have the most will power and energy, and create a Success Ritual that includes your highest ROI activities.
A morning success ritual is a habit that makes you 20-30% more productive throughout your day.
Your Morning Success Ritual should address the most important facets of your life.
- Healthy food
- Meditation, affirmations, prayer
If you don’t have a Success Ritual, start with one five minute activity and build on it until you have a 1-2 hour power productivity routine to jump start each day.
#4 – Eliminate distraction and interruption.
Leaving yourself open to interruption and distraction is setting you up for failure in terms of effectiveness and productivity.
Studies tell us that each time we are interrupted it takes an average of 20 minutes to get back into a state of focus.
Most people never make it that far. They’re simply jumping from one distraction or interruption to the next.
Is it any wonder we can’t get anything done?
Eliminate the common culprits:
- Turn off your phone.
- Get off Facebook.
- Close down unnecessary tabs on your computer.
- Use earplugs or music to avoid noise interruption.
- Close the door to your office and arrange for “non-interruption time” with your partner and kids.
Secret #5 – Create processes for everything you do more than once.
It took me awhile to get this one, but now I’m a confirmed process addict.
Every activity you’re going to do more than once should have a step by step process that you (or better yet, someone else) can follow the next time.
This takes a longer time investment today, but saves hours or even days of time over the long-haul.
This doesn’t have to be complicated.
- Download a free screen capture tool like Jing and shoot a quick video the next time you publish a blog post.
- Create a checklist you can quickly reference when preparing for a client meeting.
- Write down the list of steps for those frequent tasks and keep them within easy reach.
Taking the time to set up a process will eliminate some of the greatest inefficiencies of your day, and it’s the perfect set up for outsourcing.
Secret #6 – Delegate and outsource.
You know this already. But are you doing it?
Most wedding pros are control freaks who’ve grown accustomed to wearing every one of the 537 hats it takes to run a successful wedding business.
If you are doing everything yourself, you are wasting time and inhibiting the growth of your business.
You need help. Now.
You don’t have to start with the big, expensive stuff. Try out something small and see how good it feels to get it off your plate.
Follow these steps to identify the perfect outsourcing project for you.
- Make a list of all the tasks you do.
- Mark each as either Red (hate it), Yellow (not sure) or Green (love it). Spend no more than 2 seconds rating each task.
- Look at your Red tasks. Which can be eliminated or automated? Which can be delegated or outsourced? To whom?
Secret # 7 – Find tools to save time and effort.
There are a bazillion gadgets, gizmos and apps all promising to make your life better. Some of them may even work.
Use the 80/20 Rule (see above) to identify your biggest pain points.
Which are the most time-consuming activities?
If you can’t eliminate or outsource these tasks (yet) you can almost certainly automate or simplify them.
- Talk to other wedding pros who share a similar challenge. What tools do they use?
- Do a Google search for “tools for [fill in your challenge]” and see what comes up.
- Challenge yourself to think, “How else can I do this?”
Pretty much any repetitive activity has a tool to make it more efficient. Don’t keep doing something the old, inefficient way just because that’s how it’s always been done.
Want More Strategies to Save Time and Get Your Life Back?
We’re thrilled to invite Lisa Zawrotny, a professional organizer, productivity coach and busy mother of two precocious children, to share the secrets she uses to increase effectiveness, stay organized, and create work-life balance.
Here’s just some of what you’ll learn:
- The surprising cause of most wasted time and energy, and how to easily eliminate it.
- The counter-intuitive strategy you can start using immediately to get more done in less time.
- 3 millionaire secrets for world-class productivity.
- Overwhelmed with too much to do? Learn how to make sure the most important tasks get done on time...without working 16 hour days!
- 5 simple changes to your workspace and workflow that give an instant productivity boost.