There are a number of tasks that can increase your productivity so much, that they deserve an entire work day of focus.
This idea of complete focus is the topic of one of my favorite books Deep Work by Cal Newport.
Here is a quick review I did of the book earlier this year (please forgive the crappy lighting, this was originally just a quick video for a private group I run).
I credit a lot of my own productivity to these "immersion days."
So the next time you are caught up on your regular work or have an extra day to yourself, consider doing any of the following. I recommend you get to all of them at some point.
You may need to schedule these days ahead of time or they may not happen at all. Decide that "Friday is my day to do (task) and ONLY (task)" for instance.
1. Organize Your Computer
Over time, our desktops can become littered with duplicate files. They are slow and unorganized. Those are not two words I like to describe the machine that makes me my living!
Many of us become the virtual equivalent of the characters from the show Hoarders
Here is how to organize your computer for efficiency, productivity and aesthetics.
- Delete anything that you don't use. Here is an article for Mac users like me and here is one for our PC friends.
- Create folders to store documents. Consider storing files offline or via a cloud service to save space without losing things permanently.
- Find a nice, motivational desktop.
Overhauling your computer will have a massive ripple effect on your productivity since it is a "top of funnel" thing that impacts other areas of your business and life.
2. Organize Your Evernote, Drive, Dropbox or Diigo Account
If you don't use Evernote, you should. If you're using something else like Drop Box or Google Drive, you can spend the better part of a day cleaning those up as well.
Evernote is a fantastic tool for storing ideas and managing different sorts of documents and media items. It is very powerful, but to get the most out of it, you will have to put in a little time to create the proper folders, stacks, and tags.
Here is how to organize your Evernote account:
- Delete unnecessary items.
- Add tags to everything you keep.
- Create folders and stacks that will be easiest for you to reference.
For further reading, check out this article by LifeHacker
3. Create an Exercise and Diet Plan
Proper exercise and nutrition make you much more effective. Without a plan, it is difficult to stick to a healthy lifestyle and it will take a lot more time and effort overall.
Here is how to create a killer exercise and diet plan:
- Create a workout plan. Set times and days that will work for you.
- Take base measurements of your body. Weight, body fat, and measurements with a tape measure. Logging this will make this process more motivating and insightful.
- Make a shopping list of items that you can purchase in bulk and create a repeatable shopping list that makes planning meals easy. A great tool for this is Eat This Much. Use code "entreresource" for 20% off.
4. Document All of Your Business Processes
When you have your business processes recorded, you can outsource with ease. When you add an employee down the road, they will have reference materials already prepared for them.
This will also make you think critically about your business and you may find various inefficiencies you can change.
Here is how to properly document your businesses standard operating procedures:
- Use a tool like Camtasia and Snagit to record the basic functions of your business.
- Create annotations of screenshots as necessary and create easy to follow tutorials.
- Create a summary of your business, your market and anything else that will help someone understand what you do.
- Store all of this somewhere that can be easily shared.
Failing to document your business processes is one of the biggest reasons many entrepreneurs fail to outsource their businesses and scale.
Here is a quick video I did showing this and other reasons most entrepreneurs fail at outsourcing.
5. Reach out to Past Clients
Your past clients are much more likely to buy from you than someone who hasn't.
Reaching out to your best clients personally is a fantastic way to reignite the sales process and maybe get some testimonials to show off to potential clients.
Here is how to properly reach out to your past clients:
- Email your best clients first.
- Don't sound "salesy", be interested and sincere.
- Follow up and ask questions to generate testimonials.
For more on reaching out to past clients, check out this article posted on under30ceo.com.
6. Organize Your Inbox
According to DigitalMarketer.com, The average US adult sends 147 emails per month. If you make your inbox more efficient, you will free up days worth of time each year.
Here is how to organize your email inbox:
- Create canned responses for common questions you are asked.
- Create folders and rules.
- Create a professional looking email signature with WiseStamp.
- Install Followup.cc and Rapportive.
There is nothing better than a clean inbox!
7. Create Evergreen Social Media Updates
Here is how to properly plan automated social media updates
- Brainstorm post ideas for Twitter, Facebook and linked-in.
- Gather stock images and create graphics with Canva.
- Gather research and content to share.
A quick warning about planning social media automation...
Do your best to make each post high quality. Don't just post past articles without context and some text (I made this mistake).
8. Create a Budget
It is very likely that you are not as aware of your finances as you think you are. Even if you already have a budget in place, you should revisit it periodically and assess your progress and make any changes necessary to improve your results.
Here is how to properly create a budget:
There are plenty of tools for managing your finances, but fortunately for you, one of the best ones is free! It is called Mint.
- Automate Bills.
- Lower payments.
- Set goals and budgets.
I highly recommend you check out my Financial Freedom Planner when completing a budget. It is tailor made for entrepreneurs like you and me.
9. Organize Your Work Area and Design a Productivity Fortress
You spend most of your time in your work area, so optimize it!
Here is how to organize your work area:
- Purchase paper, pens, and any other supplies you will need.
- Consider upgrading your equipment.
- Improve your lighting.
- Organize or discard loose documents.
Much like organizing your computer desktop, organizing your work area will have a macro impact on all the work you do.
10. Create a Wardrobe and Organize Your Closet
Surveys show that we spend quite a bit of time getting dressed in the morning.
Aside from that, the way you address affects the way you feel and the impression you make on others.
Here is how to plan your wardrobe for maximum efficiency.
- Buy quality clothes. Don't focus on cost as much as quality, but you can dress very well for not very much money if you know where to look and focus on a few great pieces that go well together.
- Organize your sock drawer, underwear drawer, etc.
- Be sure all shirts have hangers and pants have drawers and are easy to access quickly.
- Donate your old clothes.
For more on the topic of planning your wardrobe in advance, check out this article I wrote on the topic.
11. Improve Your Professional Appearance Online
Obviously the way you present yourself matters, so give it the time it deserves and spend the day on it.
Here is how to update your appearance online
- Update all social media accounts.
- Have professional photos taken of yourself by someone else for your profile images. Learn how to create better portrait style photos here.
- Create business cards.
- Purchase yourname.com and consider hiring someone to create you a single page, professional site. You can do this yourself of course as well.
- Improve your logo (or get a new one).
Sometimes we all need to step back and look at how we are presenting ourselves to our followers.
12. Master a Program You Use Frequently
Knowing the ins-and-outs of most programs can be done in a few hours. Even if you can't learn everything about a program, mastering 85-90% of it will make you insanely more productivity and your work will be that much better.
If you spend an entire day immersing yourself in one you use quite a bit, you will save yourself a huge amount of time in the long run. On my list for my next immersion days are Camtasia, ClickFunnels and Market Samurai.
How to immerse yourself in learning a tool
- Find any information provided on the products website regarding the product and devour it. Most tools have a tutorial section.
- If the included tutorials are not enough, head to YouTube and search for anything else.
- If you want a more premium learning experience, head to Udemy.com.
- Contact the company if there is something you don't understand or they haven't answered before in the FAQ section of the site.
- Spend a majority of your time actually using the program and applying what you are learning as you go.
- Create a guide for yourself or others on how to use the program. Teaching something promotes the highest level of retention on any subject.
The amount of time you will save is nothing compared to the value you will get from knowing how to properly use the tools that are a part of your day to day business.
These activities can make you much more productive once you have done them. You can come back to them when you have time, but you will have completed the largest part of the work already.
You should use these to get organized and better equipped to take on more in your business. These are worth the time you will invest in them!
How about you? What do you think is important enough for your business to spend an entire day on it?