If you’re like most men, you want to see results fast. You want to maximize your time and effort so that you’re not wasting valuable resources on things that don’t get you to your end goal. You’ve probably noticed that some men are able to get things done not only faster but also better than others. They have a system that enables them to be efficient.
No one is naturally efficient. Efficiency is a learned skill that is developed and gets refined over time. The tactics that one man uses to be more efficient may not work for another. For example, some men enjoy working late at night. There’s no way my brain works effectively after 9 p.m. I’m more of a morning person and get up early to do my work.
There are universal elements that I’ve noticed are consistent among the most efficient men I know. The important thing to note is that you need to find what works for you and run with it.
Improve your efficiency and increase your productivity with these tactics:
- Plan your week and day in advance and identify challenges
- Work on YOUR stuff first
- Buffer your time
- Take an inventory of your habits
- Do what you enjoy
- Schedule your open-door policy times
- Minimize distractions and hold yourself accountable to it
- Multitask the right way
- Focus on outcomes vs. activities
- Hire a personal assistant you’re not attracted to
- Take naps
- Track your productivity
- Identify your optimal productivity times
- Treat your family like your business
- Get help
1. Plan your week and day in advance and identify challenges
Efficient men plan and plan well. Take some time on Sunday to plan your week in advance. Planning isn’t just about structuring the things you need to get done, it’s also about the things that might get in your way. When you take the time to plan, you’ll have a great awareness for possible problems or challenges that you may face.
As you’ve noticed, it’s not the stuff that goes right that impacts your week. It’s the stuff that doesn’t go right. Make a list of things that could throw you off your week. Then find solutions to mitigate them. You won’t be able to plan for everything but at least you can plan for the most obvious.
2. Work on YOUR stuff first
It’s easy to get caught up on doing stuff for others. It could be for your wife, kids, parents or other people you care about in your life. But you need to focus on the stuff that’s most important in your plan first. That doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you more effective. If you take the time to work out, take care of your health, do things you enjoy and do the things that matter the most to you, you’ll be in better condition to help others.
3. Buffer your time
How many times have your meetings gone past the scheduled time? How many times have you taken longer to finish what you were suppose to do? How many times have you had to abandon something to move on to your next task? Probably many because it’s bound to happen. Avoid booking yourself back-to-back. It only causes a chain reaction of delays and unfinished tasks. Instead, include some buffer time between your meetings and activities so that if something doesn’t work out as planned, you have the extra time to deal with it. Watch how much more you actually get done by doing this.
4. Take an inventory of your habits
Your habits determine your efficiency and progress. But most men aren’t even fully aware of their own habits. Take an inventory of everything you do for one week. From brushing your teeth to client meetings. I mean everything. Then place each activity in the categories of “good”, “bad” and “ugly” based on where you think they fit. You’ll be shocked when you do this. You’ll identify where you’re wasting time, what you’re doing that’s helping you move forward and activities that are completely holding you back.
5. Do what you enjoy
The easiest way to recharge your energy is to do what you enjoy. That could be working out or it could be chilling on the couch and watching a movie. This is critical but it’s easy to put these activities last on your list. You probably spend more time working which consumes more energy than doing things that give you energy. This is not a sustainable strategy and is a direct path to burnout. The more energy you have, the more efficient you are. Plus, life is about enjoying the time you have on earth. Not burning it away by working all the time. Take the time to recharge!
6. Schedule your open-door policy times
I’m not a big fan of open-door policies. I believe open-door should be scheduled times during the day when you don’t have much happening. Why? Because people take full advantage of your open-door policy. They tend to ask questions or just want to chat when they have an opportunity to. If you want distractions, schedule them for when you have time for them.
7. Minimize distractions and hold yourself accountable to it
Minimizing distractions isn’t brain science. But how many times do you still find yourself being distracted by the very thing you promised yourself you weren’t going to get distracted by? Maybe it’s your emails, Facebook notifications or text messages. You know what’s distracting you so it’s time for you to hold yourself accountable for minimizing them. A good way to do this is simply to grade yourself at the end of the day from a scale of 1-10. 10 being that you minimized all distractions and a 1 being that you were constantly distracted during the day.
8. Multitask the right way
If you’re going to multitask, do it in away that is actually beneficial. Answering emails and working on a client proposal is not the right way to multitask. Listening to an audiobook while you’re on a walk is the right way. Trying to do two conscious level activities at once significantly reduces your productivity.
9. Focus on outcomes vs. activities
Scrap your “to do” list and replace it with an “outcome” list. There are so many things that you are suppose to do throughout the day. But how many of these things are actually aligned with your end goals. Probably very few of them. Instead focus on the outcomes and you’ll notice that many of your to do’s can be eliminated, minimized or delegated.
10. Hire a personal assistant you’re not attracted to
Personal assistants are awesome. They can help with all of those tasks that bog you down like finding the right flights for travel or picking up dry cleaning. But here’s a warning. If you hire an attractive assistant, you may just find yourself thinking more about them than actually getting things done. Especially if you’re not in a relationship or you’re in a passionless one. I’ve seen this happen to many men. I’m not saying don’t hire an attractive assistant. Just don’t hire someone you’re going to be daydreaming about.
11. Take naps
If you’re feeling tired, take naps. Naps are a great way to reset your mind especially if you’re extremely stressed. Naps are also a great way to get into a creative state because you’re mind is in an alpha-theta state. These brain waves are ideal for tapping into your unconscious genius. There’s no shame in napping and it’s actually beneficial.
12. Track your productivity
Track your progress and track it diligently. You’ll be able to determine where you’re efficient and where you are not. It’ll show you how your efficiency is improving over time. You’ll also notice that there may be times of the month or year that you are more or less efficient. As humans, we live based on ideal rhythms and tracking will enable you to find them.
13. Identify your optimal productivity times
Some guys are more efficient at night, others during the day. Typically, there are natural times during the day that you have more energy and mental clarity as well as less distractions. These pockets are your best times to be creative and productive. You could try to adjust these times to fit your schedule if they aren’t ideal. However, I have found that your natural productivity times are hard to adjust. Therefore, you may have to schedule your days around these specific times to get the best outcomes.
14. Treat your family like your business
Your family should be run almost like a business. If your family seems chaotic, it’s taking away from your ability to be more efficient and effective in other areas of your life. The more structure you have in your family, the better outcomes you’ll see overall. This doesn’t mean that you should take a military approach and be anal about everything. It just means that you should have specific parameters for your family such as values, principles to operate by and goals. When done correctly, it becomes a fun family exercise.
15. Get help
There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Whether that’s from your employees or even your family members. As a man, you may think you are suppose to do it on your own but this is the most ineffective way to be efficient and successful overall. Smart men ask for help because they know that the more people you have working together, the greater the results. It’s not a linear benefit, it’s actually a compounding effect. If you need help, ask for it. It’s a manly thing to do!
Being more efficient as a man is a science and an art. There are specific strategies that work for men across the board but you also have to modify them to fit your lifestyle. Nothing is cookie cutter.
All the best!
The Strategist For Businessmen
P.S. For more information about how to be more effective as a business leader, get your copy of The Complete Man: Achieve Ultimate Performance, Fulfillment and Victory in EVERY Area of Your Life. Click here (www.CompleteManBook.com)