After a year of running Radiate and holding down a full-time job, I realize I am a master.
That is, I'm a master of getting sh*t done.
I've always been fast and efficient - after I had my twin boys (they're now teenagers), I had to sharpen my productivity skills. I had no choice. If I wanted to have a full-time career while also raising children, I had better figure out fast how to juggle it all. In the time I've been a working mom, I've managed to write two books. launch a company and work two full-time jobs. Plus, I still had time for fun.
What is that saying? Necessity is the mother of all inventions? Well, that is true in my case. There's also another saying that applies: If you need something done, give it to a busy person.
I started to become truly efficient when I stopped doing the following 3 things. This is, by far, not a complete list but it's the top 3 reasons I believe prevented me from being efficient and I believe applies to many of us.
1. Stop the negative self-talk. I used to always say "I couldn't do this" or "I don't have time for that." I took myself out of the running doing many things and it wasn't because I truly had no time. It's because I was afraid of failing. The negative self-talk felt safe because if you don't have to try, then you don't have to suffer the consequences of failing. Except in the end you feel terrible about yourself. It wasn't until I heard a very successful friend of mine say he always asks himself, "If that person can do it and he or she is no smarter than me, why can't I?" I realized that I am just as smart as the next person and if that person can do it, so can I. That's when I shut the negative voice in my head.
2. Cut everything down into bite-sized pieces. I learned this time management tool when I was tasked to write my first book. The project could not have landed at the worst time. I got my book contract just when I gave birth to twin boys and there was no way to get out of either assignment. So I decided to break down the 60,000-word writing project into small bite-sized to-dos - every single day I would assign myself the goal of writing 500 words. They could be the worst 500 words but at least I finished it. Once I started this 500-word daily momentum, I got into a rhythm and after 3 months, I was surprised I had written more than half the book. From then on, whenever faced with a daunting project, I try to find the best way to reduce it down to bite-sized pieces.
3. Give yourself a hard break. There's a point in all your busyness that you realize that you're not accomplishing a lot of your goals. That's one version of what people call "burnout." I have reached that point several times and each time, I know it's time to pull back - and pull back hard. Meaning that's your brain telling you it needs to rest. Go relax. Enjoy time with your family and friends. Completely unplug. There's valuable truth to the phrase, "Work hard, play hard." There have been times when I completely unplugged that I was able to see the forest through the trees and change my thinking completely for the better. One time I took a day off just to relax with my kids and not think about work. I baked bread with them, went hiking, did lots of stuff I normally have no time for. By the time the day ended, a light bulb went off that completely changed the course of our company. Before that, the future had been foggy - just like my mind.
Keep these 3 things in mind and you'll find soon enough, you'll be getting more stuff done than ever before.