Join us live each week at www.productivity.academy/live and get your questions answered by submitting them at anytime right here: www.productivity.academy/questions. You can watch the video for the past episode recorded on September 13th, 2018 above, or you can review the transcript below.
In this episode we talked about:
- What are the best things to outsource for effective use of time?
- How do you stay focused on the same task for long periods of time?
To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit: https://productivity.academy/resources
Hey, we are live. Welcome to the Productivity Academy weekly Q&A. This is number 52 and I Adam Moody with the productivity Academy coming to you live this time on the road. I’m in an Airbnb rental. I’m currently on Long Island, New York and enjoying a little bit of travel while dealing with a head cold and you know it’s kind of interesting actually wrote something today on the page and then the group about that.
There is really nothing worse in my mind or just about nothing worse than getting sick while traveling. So I’ve been thinking a little bit about that about the things I can or things I should do better about traveling. One of those being things like using multivitamins, I usually try to take one of those I forgot to bring those with me so adding that to my pack list that I have that I can then use is like a template so I need to add that on there so I don’t forget those and then a couple other things as well that you know what can be better done to, you know, keep me healthy and make sure that things work well while I’m traveling.
So anyways, real quick, that was a little bit of insight into what’s going on on my end. But if you haven’t yet, and you’re watching this live thanks for joining the group and be sure to ask questions during or you can ask before and I’ll answer them. If you’re watching the replay on YouTube, you can hit the subscribe button, stay up to date with obviously these Q and A’s, reviews, updates about apps, processes, all that sort of stuff. And then also there will be a link down below so you can come join us live. If you want to ask questions and get them answered.
So let’s get into it. Today we’re going to be talking about we’ve got two good questions here. The best things to outsource for effective use of time. Very good question and very important and then how do you stay on the same tasks for long periods of time? So those are both I think, very good question and both come from members of the productivity Academy. So let’s start with the first one first.
So the best thing to outsource for effective use of time, I think. That, again, this is going to be kind of a framework of where you want to start looking. So usually, a lot of times I think you’ll have a pain point. And that’s a really good time to know when to hire. So that answers that question of like, well, when should I hire someone? Or when should I get an assistant? or How should I do this, you’ll generally know either, you know, I don’t have enough time or things aren’t getting done, or I’m having to, you know, work with my schedule, that’s the pain point, figure out what it is and move forward.
But as far as the best things to outsource, I found our time sucks. Okay. And I just mean having this sense of there’s things that have to be done right, and that’s why you’re doing them. That’s why you consider hiring someone. But if you’ve got these things where you’re spending half an hour, an hour and it’s just doing something it’s not, you know, making a sales call, it’s not organizing a team. It’s not directly helping you grow or adding to the bottom line, then that is an excellent indicator that that would be a great thing to outsource.
Now, of course, there’s more to it that you need to look at. And a lot of that is “does it have a process?” and I talked to a lot of people, you know, a lot of people I’ve worked with, you know, you think this is unique, or I do this, you know, I’m not sure what the process would be. But if it’s anything you’re doing regularly, you can build a process around it.
And so even if you don’t think it’s highly structured, you know, maybe do a screen capture of watching yourself do it or if it’s something physical, like putting together a binder or you know, doing something like that literally put up a camera and you know, record yourself doing it, watch it is there you know, something you can do that you could show someone to make them able to do it and maybe it takes some training maybe it’s more complicated but a lot of these things we think of as these really customized, really unique task and you know, can be broken down okay so just make sure though, that there are some because again, if it’s you know, literally building your business that’s generally not something you outsource which hopefully goes without saying but I know a lot of times we can get in the process of, you know, handing things off. And sometimes we need to take a step back and make sure we’re really communicating the process as well.
And then the best some other best things to outsource for effective use of your time are non-unique ability tasks. So this is off to include a link to this, I believe is Dan Sullivan, Strategic Coach. And then I believe there’s some other people involved in it. And I’m slipping my mind probably due to the head cold, but the idea of just being what are the things that you are, you know, just amazing at and what do you know, that just energize your day that you add value to and that’s different than just I’m really good at this stuff, or I’m okay at it.
So if you have things that maybe you’re good at, but you need to free up time so you can do those things that just you would do maybe even, you know, for free or that you would, you know, spend more and more time on that you really bring the most to so there’s a couple different ways of looking at that. And that’s kind of the opposite side of saying earlier, what I was talking about was like times sucks and things that just take up a lot of your time, you know, you’re able to identify those. And then also saying, well, not just from a negative point of view, but looking at it from a positive point of view and say, Okay, well, I want to spend more time doing this stuff that means anything that isn’t this, then I should look at outsourcing.
So I think that that’s a good way to get started. And as far as how that works for you, you know, it could be a list, it kind of depends, for me, I think where you’re at, have you worked with someone before, if you had an employee Have you had a virtual assistant if you haven’t done these things, and you might want to start small and understand how that works and that interaction and build that up. So maybe start with one task, like a weekly task or a daily thing, something that they can take over and then start building that up instead of saying, okay, I want to, you know, offload an entire division of work right now.
Cool. Alright, so the second question is, how do you stay on the same task for long periods of time? I think this is a really good question and It’s something that’s becoming more and more important for anyone who’s read Deep Work. I think that that’ll make a lot of sense. If you haven’t read Deep Work I’ll include the link, please check it out. It’s a great book.
And the idea just being not summarizing the entire book. But the idea being the longer that you can stay on task and really focus on whatever is at hand that you know, the outcome is that much better. And it’s not just linear. It’s not like, well, I worked for two hours. And that’s equivalent to working two one hour blocks saying that two-hour block is going to be better than just two one hour individual blocks over a period of time. And the reason being that you’re able to spend more time focusing on one subject or one area or one project and that focus is going to result in a better outcome.
I totally believe that I certainly think you can switch you know your attention at certain points and you have to throughout the day but over time building up that capability of working and focusing for longer periods of time will really pay off.
So I think the number one thing to do here is to block distractions. And whether you’re, you know, at a point of just saying, Wow, I want to work more, but I don’t understand exactly how this works. You know, just start simple. Your phone is a major distraction, put it out of reach, turn it off, don’t put in your pocket, don’t put it right in front of you.
Other things might be noises or sounds before. I started recording this, there’s an air conditioner running, go and turn that off and then want that kicking in and throwing me off while I’m trying to talk. So noises are obviously another good one that you can do wear a pair of headphones if you’re in an office, you know, you need to work with those around you. But you could ask, Hey, you know, from nine to 10:30, can I, you know, please be left alone. I’m working on X, Y and Z and if I had that time to focus you know it’s going to the results can be much better that, you know, the caveat there is your work does need to be good while you’re doing that. You can’t just work on other things. So blocking distractions. I think it’s very important.
Also to work these blocks of time, it’s really uncommon these days, right? We don’t generally have hours of uninterrupted time where we’re not getting an email, we’re not getting a phone call, we’re not thinking about something else. So you need to schedule this ahead of time. So start putting it into your calendar that’s recurring. That’s great. That’s a great way to get started and then start extending it. But putting that into your calendar and making it a thing is another step and that’s both for you mentally and then if you’re using that calendar for you know, any other scheduling or interactions, then that becomes very important.
Let’s say you sit down you maybe you’re sitting down at a table or a desk just like I am and you’re getting ready to say okay, well it’s that time I’m going to work for 90 minutes straight take two or three minutes maybe five minutes pull out a piece of paper or pull up a you know note-taking out and write down if you don’t already have this done from previous weeks what you’re going to work on what are your top three goals Okay, you know, there should be just a handful of things you’re looking to get done during this work period. So what are they? And, you know, what are the actual actions so, you know, not make progress on a project that’s not a goal.
You know, let’s say something like, you know, put a binder together with printed cover in color and, you know, ready to be delivered tomorrow, something like that, but very action-oriented, using those words to help you realize what are the things that you actually need to accomplish.
And then throughout that, if you’re finding yourself, it’s hard to focus, you know, I also understand like, I can’t always work 90 minutes. So, you know, set the timer for 30 minutes, work for 30 minutes, and then I find it’s easiest to just physically, you know, get up, walk around, go do something else. If you work at a computer a lot, you know, it’s nice to reduce the eyestrain. So go take a walk outside, go shoot hoops, you know, whatever it is, maybe walk around the block, and then come back and sit down. And again, it’s important that you minimize your distractions.
I tried not to use the phone during that period, I know it’s difficult but it too often, you know, you say well just use it for five minutes but that turns into you know, checking your email and then you get sidetracked. So, just be aware that you know, if you’re using the Pomodoro technique that you just, you know, you scheduled those breaks, you take a break you do something else, minimize your distractions just let your mind kind of go let yourself relax and then come back to it and the last thing I would recommend is once you wrap up the time you know set a timer and that when you’re supposed to and but make sure you leave a few minutes there so maybe set the timer a few minutes early and review.
Did you hit your goals? and especially Is there any outstanding things that you didn’t accomplish that you want or need to? and if that’s the case that’s fine then in that next period of time that you have or if you don’t have it regularly recurring start and schedule that next time where you can get those things done and make sure that their action items again, not vague using that SMART goal idea, you know, make the specific measurable things like you know, write one 500 word article with, you know, two images, things like that be very specific and less shelf know. And then that can roll into your next time and help you.
Like I said, when you set goals at the beginning that would be what you review the next time as well it’s like “Do I have anything that I set as action items?” okay I can grab those and then add to that. So hopefully that helps. I think that’s a really good way to start staying on task for longer periods. And hopefully, that is helpful to you. So again, if you haven’t yet come join us in the group. You can ask questions live and if you would like to as well you can hit subscribe, stay in touch, leave comments, all that good stuff. I do respond to comments and enjoy interacting with people and hearing what you think about the advice, about the app reviews and anything else. So don’t be a stranger and I will see you next week.