“How do you get so much done in one day?”
This is probably one of the questions I get asked the most.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so why is it sometimes so difficult to get things done?
Spoiler alert: it’s not necessarily your time management that needs work. It might actually be a planning problem.
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For a lot of people, it's not really productivity that’s the issue – productivity is about cramming more and more into the same amount of time, and it won’t really get you any further.
The problem is, most people are experiencing huge bottlenecks in their planning.
If you go and look at your calendar right now, and try and figure out where it’s going wrong, what would you tell me? If you say, “Amy, I don’t have a calendar or anything written down,” then that’s probably where we need to start.
There are a few things I notice are bottlenecks in other people's planning.
Maybe you're also interested in this: These Three steps will turn you into a Time Management Guru.
The first tip I have for you? It starts with turning off your phone.
How often do you hear people saying, “oh no, I have so much to do,” and then they spend 2 hours on Instagram? That’s not the way to do it! If you haven’t turned off your notifications, or don’t turn off your phone while you’re working, stop reading right now, and go and do that!
Also for a lot of people, their problem is underestimating how long tasks are going to take. They have no clue how long they will be spending on certain tasks and tend to not schedule in enough time to deal with these tasks.
What I also see happening a lot is that people are switching between tasks, so their switch time is getting in the way. If you’re constantly going between phone calls, emails, coaching, content creation, and shipping your products, that probably won’t work for you. I’d recommend working in theme days, which I go into in depth in my time management podcast episodes – episode 4 and episode 11.
What also often happens is that we get so overwhelmed, we don't get around to actually doing the work. I think the reason that overwhelm occurs for a lot of people is because they’re hiding from their big goal, and they’re constantly procrastinating. People ask me how I get so much done in a day, and I think it’s because I’m actually doing the stuff that moves the needle.
Again, it’s not about productivity. It’s about focusing on the stuff that really matters, and looking at what the issue actually is. Many people are really distracted in their business or in their job, and they’re doing all the stuff apart from the one thing that truly matters.
Question #1: What is your end goal?
My first question for you is: what is your end goal?
Where are you headed? What do you need?
For most people, it will just be sales. You might be like, I need to level up my branding, or something like that. But what is your end goal? It’s probably sales and having happy clients. First and foremost, please make your goals bigger. So many people say, “I just need a couple of clients to be happy.” I really wish people would set waaaay bigger goals. Play bigger, goal digger!
For most people, their goal is to attract their ideal clients and scale up. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably because most of the time in your calendar – let’s say 80% – is not being spent on that. You might feel like you’re constantly running behind, and not doing the stuff that matters, because you’re getting worked up about the stuff that doesn’t matter so much.
Question #2: What is your obstacle?
My next question I want to ask you is: what is the obstacle that’s preventing you from doing sales? For 80% of the people, the obstacle will be things like “I’m afraid,” or “I don’t know how to do it”, or “I’m afraid of what other people will say”. Those are your obstacles: fear and insecurity. If that’s what’s stopping you from reaching your goals, you’re going to want to work on your mindset, so that you can crush your limiting beliefs and start building your dream business.
Question #3: How do we fix it?
My third question is: how do we fix it?
We have this bottleneck issue – you’re not doing the thing that matters, and then you’re just obsessing about the other stuff.
You think you have a lot to do, but you’re just wasting your time on pointless sh*t. Sorry, this might be a little rude… but I’m here to help you!
If your end goal is heaps and heaps of sales, and your obstacle is you’re afraid of doing it, and your mindset is blocking you, then the leverage is mindset work. We need to work on your mindset. I do this too. I’ll be feeling very overwhelmed with a very busy day, and then I’ll keep postponing the one thing I really need to do, because I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it well. I have this with creating new content for my courses and coaching programs. I’ll postpone that, because somewhere inside of me, I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it.
It’s like studying for an exam, being so nervous that you almost poop your pants, and then saying, “hey, I won’t take the exam.” If you don’t take the exam, you’ll fail it automatically. In Belgium, you need 10 points out of 20 to pass. If you take the exam, you might fail, but you might also win. But if you don’t even take it, you’ll definitely fail. And that is the whole thing about procrastination and postponing our dreams out of a fear of failure. If we don’t do it, we lose anyway.
That worst case scenario you’re afraid of? That’s just you being afraid you won’t be able to do something, that your ego will get bruised, or that someone will say something negative to you and you’ll get sad because maybe you’re not as good as you thought you were. It’s just fear of failure that’s holding you back from clarity on what you need. A lot of people will be like “I’m not getting around to any of my work,” but if you work out what moves the needle, you can focus on the right things.
Don’t spend too much time on the sh*t that doesn’t matter, and too little time on the stuff that really does matter.
How the 80/20 rule can help you out
The 80/20 rule says that 20% of your input will determine 80% of your output. That actually means that 20% of your clients will give you 80% of your revenue – and of your headaches. We call them red flag clients: we try and avoid the people who will need a lot more support and help than everyone else, but sometimes it happens.
The 80/20 rule isn’t just a mathematical principle, it’s also a law of nature. It means that in your business, you need to know what really moves the needle. If you’re overwhelmed, it’s likely because you’re not doing the things that need to get done, because if you’re eating the frog and doing the key things first, you won’t be so overrun. The tasks you need to do wouldn’t be weighing on you so much emotionally and energetically.
So to try stop sabotaging yourself, you'll probably need one of two things.
- You need to work on the conversion of what you’re doing, so you need to sell better to the audience you already have. I call that your engine. First and foremost, make sure you’re actually selling something people need and want. Then, work on how you’re getting it out there. For a lot of people, that will be their marketing and sales.
- The other option is that you’re good at sales, and that’s not a problem for you, but your revenue isn’t high enough because of your traffic. That means we need to get your traffic up, and increase your marketing so that more people will discover you.
That’s why a lot of my clients are currently doing an Instagram challenge, or a 20 day showing up on video challenge, because I want them to work on what they need: the traffic or the conversion.
If you’re thinking it’s your admin that’s getting in the way, even if you’re just getting started, you can outsource that. The reason that people aren’t outsourcing is because they think they’re not making enough money yet. That’s your pain point. Your admin isn’t your pain point – it’s the fact that you’re not making enough money, which is stopping you from investing in systems that will make your work easier. It’s this vicious cycle that will make you really unhappy in your business.
Go back to basics.
Work out what’s really moving the needle in your business, and build your business around that needle. For me, I just had my first million dollar launch. The biggest and best thing we could do is put me on video. I was on video for hours and hours, and we hadn’t planned everything out perfectly, so we looked at the smallest, easiest thing we could do that would move the needle: me getting on video. So that's what we did! I went live so much, showed up all the time, and that moved the needle for us.
Where should we spend our time the next couple of months if we want to attract new leads? Getting me on video is what’s going to do that.
You’re already overwhelmed. You’re already in your worst-case scenario. What if you tried to focus on something that will actually move stuff forward, instead of just looking around the whole time? You’re getting so overwhelmed because you’re looking at everything that isn’t moving the needle, because you’re avoiding the stuff that matters.
I truly believe that one of the skills that every entrepreneur needs is being able to set priorities and to focus on the right things at the right times. It’s not about time management. It’s not about productivity. It’s about priority management. Where are your priorities?
I hope that you realise there’s something you should be doing, that you’re currently not doing. Go and get it done! I believe in you.
Do you want to listen to this podcast episode? Head to Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, and search for episode 42 of The FastForwardAmy Show. Want to dive deeper into the world of time management? You can download my time management checklist for free below.
If you want to work on your time management as well as your priority management some more, head to www.fastforwardamy.com/timewarrior and use the code TIMEWARRIOR to grab my course for only 27 euros. See you there!
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