TSS #026: 4 Questions for Better Weekly ProductivityJul 02, 2022
Read time: 4 minutes
In today’s issue, I’m going to share my 4-question process to improve your weekly productivity.
If you can replicate this process (or something similar), you’re much less likely to burn out and much more likely to work only on the most important parts of your brand or business.
Unfortunately, most people don’t have a solid process for managing their time effectively, so they are constantly working “in” the business instead of “on” the business.
Productivity is about systems that force good behavior
Without proper productivity systems in place, there are a number of challenges that arise:
Challenge 1: Context switching: being distracted continuously by little emails, DMs, etc. that end up taking you out of your creative or business flow state and waste tons of time.
When people say "do you have 5 minutes?" I don't think they're cognizant of the 30+ minutes of context-switching I'd have to do for that 5 minutes.— Sahil (@shl) July 20, 2019
Challenge 2: Wrong focus: spending time doing things that feel productive but are actually part of the 80% of things that don’t move the needle.
Challenge 3: Burnout: trying to balance a full-time job, a side hustle, and creating content for social media.
You can overcome all of these challenges by building a better system for improving your weekly productivity.
Here is the 4-question process I follow.
Question 1: What can I eliminate?
Each week, I start by looking at my calendar. I often notice upcoming meetings that I shouldn't have booked, podcasts I don't need to be on, favors for friends of friends that aren't urgent, and other meetings that aren't aligned with my top priorities.
If I can impart any wisdom to you today, it would be this: eliminate these meetings and learn to say no moving forward. Not good at saying no? Use this template.
If you already have a bunch of meetings on your calendar just ask:
"Does this move me closer to my most important goals?"
Yes, this is critical: Move to question 2
Question 2: What can I simplify?
Once things are eliminated, I begin to simplify.
Simplification usually comes in the form of simpler processes, a reduction in the scope of work, or being satisfied with an MVP.
A recent example is a new content production system that I've been working on for the last 3 months. I've simplified my entire process for creating this newsletter, and the content that I produce each day on social media.
What once took me 12-15 hours per week, now only takes me about a total of 7 hours per week.
(Note: If you're interested in learning more about this 10-step process, I cover it in it's entirety here in The Content Operating System.)
Processes and systems help simplify. Always be on the lookout to improve yours.
“Can this be simplified?”
Yes: Build out a better process
No: Move to question 3
Question 3: What can I automate?
Next, I look for obvious places to insert automation.
A perfect example would be my coaching business. Here's my old process:
- Step 1: Finish a discovery call and type out an email recapping my services. (10 minutes)
- Step 2: Once they replied, I'd create an invoice in Stripe, and then wait for payment. (15 minutes)
- Step 3: I'd mark on my Google Calendar when to send them the next invoice and then have to hunt payment down if they were late. (10 minutes)
- Step 4: I'd create a Google Drive folder and 1:1 document and invite everyone from the client-side (15 minutes)
That's almost one hour of my time. So, I moved to automate all of this using Kajabi, AirTable, and Zapier. Now, these 4 steps run completely on their own.
“Can this be automated?”
Yes: Build an automation
No: Continue on to question 4
Question 4: What can I delegate?
Learning to delegate means releasing control of work that is less valuable than the time it would take you, personally, to do.
I delegate to my Virtual Assistant (you can use Upwork or Fiverr instead) using process documents & videos that show her exactly what to do.
Here’s a Tweet thread I wrote about my process:
Hiring a virtual assistant is life-changing.— Justin Welsh (@thejustinwelsh) May 3, 2022
My VA saves me ~40 hours of time per month.
Here's exactly how we work together in 6 simple steps.
“Can this be delegated?”
Yes: Delegate effectively with a process document + video.
No: This is work left to be done by me
So, what’s left?
There are 4 non-negotiable pieces of work that end up on my calendar:
- Interact for 45-60 minutes with my audience on LinkedIn & Twitter
- Create newsletter and content for 3-5 hours (2x per week)
- Go to the gym for 90 minutes
- Attend a few client calls
And a normal day usually looks like this:
- 7:15a to 8:00a: Interact on LinkedIn/Twitter for 45 minutes
- 8:30a to 10:00a: Go to the gym with my wife, Jennifer
- 10:30a to 2:00p: Create content & eat lunch
- 2p to 4:00p: Open for client calls
In between those time periods, I'll read interesting books, catch up with friends, and spend time with my wife.
Of course, there are times when I have projects that fall outside of the 4 categories listed above, but this is a pretty common day for me.
I hope that this newsletter will help you better organize your day, or take away a few nuggets that you can use to prioritize more effectively.
That’s a wrap.
See you again next week.
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