“You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough!” Mae West

Whether you are a newbie or an experienced business owner, you will see some peaks and drops of activities for your business. If you do not want to suffer from these there are things, you can do to boost your productivity.

1 – Pomodoro Technique®

This is the name of the time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo for a more productive way to work and study.
Basically, you divide your working hours into easily manageable sections instead of working 3/4h in a row.
An essential element of this technique is the use of a timer to measure each activity.
Each spur of activity will not be longer than 25 minutes and is called a Pomodoro (referring to the kitchen timer in the shape of a pomodoro – Italian for tomato- that Francesco originally used).

He also recommends taking a very short break 3/5 minutes between each Pomodoro (a non-work related chat with someone, a walk around the office, the house or the garden, etc).
Then after 4 Pomodoros, you should take a longer break 15/30 minutes where you can check emails, grab a coffee, make a phone call, etc.

Why this works?
It is much easier to focus for 25min at a time and it removes the risks of interruptions (to get a drink, check your emails and make a call) during that period of concentration.


2 – Plan your activities

To be productive, you need to plan your actions beforehand. Creating a business/marketing plan is good but planning every single activity is even better.  This goes in hand with the Pomodoro technique mentioned above.

At the beginning of the day (or even better the night before), you should make your To Do list.
Each task should be approx 25 min long and no more.

For example, if one of the things on your list is to write a new post for your blog.
As this task will probably take about 1 hour to do, so I would recommend you to split it into smaller activities such:
–    make bullet point of your ideas (15 min)
–    Write the draft of the post (25min+)
–    Find quotes, images or graphs to illustrate the post (5min)
–    Finally polish and publish the post (15min)
Ideally, you should have your list ready at the beginning of the day and will be checking items during the day.

Why this works?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We all know the saying, but we often fail to apply this lesson in our work.


3 – Organize your week

Having a plan is not sufficient; you also need to be organized. If you’ve just started with your own business and are not used to work on your own, very quickly you will feel overwhelmed by all the information thrown at you.

The biggest risk for any newcomers to online businesses is procrastination and one of the best ways to fight it is to plan your week and stick to it.

For instance, on Mondays I dedicate my time to my blog – Anywhere in the World, on Tuesdays I participate in forums, on Wednesdays, I work on my weekly mailing that will be sent out a couple of days later, etc..

Why this works?
This way, each evening when I prepare my To Do list for the next day, I know straight away, on which area I’ll be working on the following day. Moreover, whenever I have ideas for something that is not on the agenda of the day, I take notes and use it later on.


4 – Focus on only ONE social media platform at a time

Don’t let shiny new social media distract you! Let’s be honest we all fall for this, and maybe me the first one…
Here comes the next best thing in social media and you jump on it.
You create an account and start posting.

What about the other 3, 4 or 5 accounts that you also have for your business? (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, You Tube, etc…)

I am not saying to cut down on all of them but to think strategically where you want to spend most of your time.
But choose just one!

Why this works?
Once you’ve mastered it and become an “expert” at it, the results will be much greater than if you are a novice at all of them.


5 – Do it for long enough

Whatever method you choose, it will not become a habit if you do not use it long enough.
If you have been planning your week and your days, you will work faster and with more confidence, especially if you are just starting.
It doesn’t mean that you should stop after a few months.
Consistency of actions always pay off!

Why this works?
There is a theory that says that habits become such after 28 days of repetitive use…


Do you use any of these techniques? Have you tried the Pomodoro technique? What is your biggest obstacle at the moment? Please share your thoughts in the comment box.

Sabine PanneauSabine Panneau
Skype: sabp23
Email: sabine@sabinefep.com
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