1. Work Anytime, Anywhere with Mobile Solutions
It’s time to get stuff done.
There are both positives and negatives about being able to work anywhere, anytime, with mobile solutions. The positive is that you can put the dead time to use, but the negative is that it can be tempting to divide your attention when you shouldn’t. Let’s look at some good things to do with pockets of time that are normally dead.
- Waiting for the Doctor – If you’re alone in the doctor’s office waiting to be seen, this is a perfect time to sign into your email and start deleting emails that you don’t need to read. You can also get on social media and answer questions, share content, and engage.
- Waiting in Line at Grocery Store – It’s hard to focus when you’re standing in line, so the best thing you can likely do on social media while waiting to check out is to use that time to delete things from your email. Most of us have so many unread emails that we will never read, spend this extra time just deleting, not reading.
- Riding in the Car – If you’re a passenger in the car on a long trip, it’s a great time to work. You can literally have a full desk set up right in the front passenger seat. If it’s a long drive, you can get in a full day’s work doing the things you normally do – from creating content to delegating tasks to others – it’s a normal workday.
- At the Airport – If you have a layover in the airport, this is a great time to get in some reading, watch a podcast, or other tasks like this. Usually, you can find plugs, so you don’t have to worry about running down your battery, and the internet connection is usually quite strong too. Most people will leave you alone. Put in your earphones and work away.
While these ideas seem innocuous, you must guard against working even when you can during certain circumstances. For example, if you’re on a car trip with your kids and they aren’t stuck in their own technology, they likely will want to be with you. Turning up the music and singing along will be a great memory for them over you having your earphones on and stuck in work. You will need to determine for yourself when it’s the right time or wrong time when your family is around.
Do set times when checking technology is completely off-limits. Don’t work during eating times with friends and family except for true emergencies. If you set up your systems properly, you should be able to know when you have a real emergency and a fire needs to be put out. Most of the time, things can wait.
Don’t work when you’re supposed to be getting rest and relaxation with your friends and family. The one exception is if everyone else is truly busy with something else and you won’t be missed. But do remember that spending alone time getting R & R is also important.
You might get more out of getting a massage during that hour of alone time than you will get out of checking your email. Work-life balance is something that you’ll have to work out for yourself. What that means to you is going to be something different than what it means for someone else.
2. Social Media Can Be Risky to Your Business
Social media is a very useful platform for most business owners. It helps market content, educate potential customers, and engage with people helping a business owner build that all-important “know, like, trust” factor. But, there are serious dangers of social media too and how it can affect your productivity if you don’t go into using social media with a true plan of action.
- It Can Be Busy Work – It’s very easy to convince yourself that when you’re on social media you’re working. In fact, if you are on social media without a goal, a time limit, and a reason for being there, it’s really nothing more than a smoke screen to make you feel busy. You may even be using social media to avoid work that needs to be done that earns money right now.
- It’s Addictive – Social media and the interaction you get from others on social media can truly be addictive. It can release different hormones into our bloodstream that makes us feel good, or even angry, that we can get addicted to. If you find that you go to social media intending to do one thing but end up doing other things and you cannot put it down no matter what, you may be addicted.
- It Can Reduce Your Productivity – If social media marketing is not your core job and you’re not actually doing your job when you’re on social media, it can really affect your productivity in a bad way. Getting drawn into social media can be a real drag on the time you have available to do other things.
- You Can Harm Your Ability to Have Privacy – This is different for each person. Your business may require that you’re super open on social media. For example, if you’re a YouTube star or an Instagram star. But, if you’re not earning money to make it worth your while, are you really using it properly and can you find ways to get more privacy outside of the work?
- You’re Feeling Bad About Yourself – If you use social media to look at what everyone else is doing, and you’re finding that you’re feeling jealous, bad about yourself, or frustrated, it’s possible you’ve gone beyond using social media for work and now using social media to punish yourself. When you do look at your competition, you should have a goal in mind that will help you in your business. If it’s causing you pain and making you feel bad about yourself then it’s time to stop.
- You Become an Attention Seeker – Social media is great for marketing business, telling your story, and engaging. But, if you start using social media to complain about everything or brag about things, stretching the truth, this is not a productive use of social media and can cause problems with keeping your audience’s trust. Everything you post on social media needs to have a purpose and a goal.
The important thing to keep in mind about using social media is that if you’re using it right, it’s building your email list, it’s getting traffic to your website or landing pages, and ultimately, it’s increasing your bottom line. If instead, you feel frustrated, tired, sucked in, and overworked – it’s doing the opposite. This can usually be traced to using social media without a plan. Don’t even turn on social media unless you have a direct plan of action of what you’ll do, why you’re doing it, and how long you’re doing it.
3. Productive Work VS Busy Work – Know the Difference
There are some major differences between being busy and productive. The main thing is that being busy just means you are always doing things. Being productive means that you see true results from the work you are doing. Busy focuses on doing things, productivity focuses on the deliverables and results of what you are doing.
Is There a Purpose to the Task that can be Measured?
When you choose to do any type of task, can you point to a result that can be measured? For example, if you’re using social media to promote your newest content, the way you do it will factor into the results that you desire. You will be able to measure these results. For example, you’ll make a goal such as “Earn 1000 more followers within the next 6 weeks” and then you’ll create tasks that will get you where you want to go based on reality.
Can You List Your Main Priorities?
If you are doing things that do not advance your main priorities, it’s likely just busy work. You should be able to state why you’re doing it. “I am promoting my blog posts on social media so that I get more traffic and build my list.” “I am answering questions on social media so that I can build trust with my audience so that they will want to buy my products and services.”
What Value Are You Fulfilling with the Task?
Everyone has values and everything you do needs to have a value. For example, if you’re just on social media looking around without a purpose, what value are you filling by doing that? None. But, if you are spending 30 minutes observing your competition’s Facebook Group in order to find out what your audience wants to know so that you can help them with their problems, you’ve found the value of doing it. But stick to that purpose and don’t get sucked in.
Do You Have Clarity about the Task?
You should be able to state exactly why, how, and when you are going to do any task that you do. If you’re just checking email and reading emails that have no purpose, that’s a waste of time. But if you’ve joined your competitor’s email list, and now you’re reading it because you want to find out how they do something specific (such as how they create their calls to action), and what problem they are solving for the audience, you can gain clarity into why you are doing the task.
What Results are You Getting from Your Work?
Everything you do should have a measurable result. If you are doing things that you have no idea the purpose or how it’s affecting anything to do with your business, then it’s busy work. What results are you getting for doing it is a question you should ask before you agree to or set out to do anything.
Are You Spending Time Multitasking?
Multitasking is a myth. No one can actually do more than one thing at a time and do it well. Multitasking can suck the enjoyment out of everything you do. If you’re checking email while watching a show with your family, you’re not really with your family or the show at all. If you’re always doing more than one thing at a time, ask yourself how you can streamline your tasks, take less time to do them, and fully enjoy and engage with what you’re doing right then. 15 minutes of playing with your kids at the park is a lot more fun and productive than 1 hour of watching them play at the park while you check your emails distractedly.
Is the Work You do Effective?
You know what the results are that you are trying to get. They are measurable, testable, and knowable. If you aren’t getting results and the things you do aren’t effective, it’s time to change what you do. Know in advance the results you expect so you can measure that to find out if it’s happening or not.
Productive people tend to make time for what is important to them. They know the difference between busy work and productivity. They know how to say no so that they can focus on the things they are passionate about, that produce results and affect their deliverables.