Do you ever find yourself grinding away at tasks that bore you or that you’re simply not very good at?
Do your big goals always seem to be out of reach because your days are filled up with meaningless administrivia?
You’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs and professionals find themselves buried in the details, when they feel like they should be soaring above the fray and taking in the big picture.
Luckily, there is a relatively simple solution:
You need more “me” time.
In other words, you need to spend more time nurturing your strengths and working on the projects that you feel passionate about, and less time in the weeds.
That is, you need more time to focus on your genius.
Sounds great, you might say. But how do I do that? You can start by following these five steps…
1. Develop an Understanding of Your Own Strengths and Weaknesses
In order to fully explore your own genius, you have to know what your genius is!
The first step is writing down the things that are most important to you.
Dig deep and create a list of your strongest values and beliefs, the things that motivate you to get out of bed in the morning. What inspires you? What frustrates you? What are your big goals, and where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
You might also want to consider a tool like the DISC assessment, the Gallup Strengthsfinder, or Dr John Demartini’s Value Determination Process. These tests can give you a more formalized understanding of what your strengths, values and beliefs mean in a larger context. The popularity of these tests also means you can also learn from the experiences of others with a similar makeup on online forums.
2. Make a List of Things You Can Delegate
Once you understand your strengths and the projects you need to focus on, you can start delegating unimportant tasks to others. This might seem a little weird at first, but pretty much all successful people delegate at least some of their work.
You can start anywhere. It could be as simple as getting someone to drop off your laundry at the dry cleaners, or as big as handing over your entire email inbox to a virtual assistant.
The main thing is to free up as much time as you can to concentrate on what’s important.
3. Carve Out Some “Offline” Time Each Day
Studies have shown that it can take around 23 minutes to recover your focus after getting distracted. All it takes is one email, one Facebook notification, one tweet to throw half your day off balance.
You can solve this problem and boost your productivity by unplugging. Why not schedule a few hours of “offline” time each morning so you can really tap into the deep concentration you need to tackle those high-value tasks you always seem to put off?
4. Schedule Like Tasks Together
Different tasks can require being in a different headspace. For example, it takes a different type of concentration to reply to an important email than it does to brainstorm a marketing plan.
Therefore, it makes sense to organize your time so that you are tackling similar tasks at the same time. This might mean blocking out chunks of time for particular types of work, or organzing your week into different “days”, which leads us to the next point…
5. Create a Weekly Work Plan
There’s no right way to work, only what works for you.
If you’re a morning person, you might find that the most productive routine is getting up at 5am and tackling the big tasks for the day, then spending the rest of the day making calls or answering emails.
Others might find that they do their most creative work after 10pm at night, or that they are better off spending whole days on particular tasks each week. After you figure out your preference, make a weekly work calendar and formalize it in an app like Google Calendar.
Studies have shown that planning out your week like this can help you get 30% more done.
It doesn’t really matter how you do it. What does matter is that you create a set of rules and stick to them. For example, maybe you set aside 3pm-5pm everyday to answer emails, or maybe Fridays are reserved only for business development.
Whatever you decide, stick to it!
For more great productivity tips, check out my interview with Todd Herman for the Optimized Geek podcast on how to accomplish a year of results in 90 days.