“How do you get so much done?”

Productivity & Workflow

I get some version of that question on a fairly regular basis. It’s not hard to see I have quite a few plates spinning. I have the domain names to prove it. 🤣

The key for me is to always think in terms of leverage. Leverage is one of the tremendous gifts that God has given us. No, not the TV show, although that’s a tremendous gift as well.

Leverage simply allows you to do more with less. It allows you to take something and make something else exponential out of the raw materials. It used to take 100 workers to do the work of one tractor. That’s leverage!

I’ve spent just shy of the last decade being intentional and focusing on this. It ain’t perfect. But the system I use can be boiled down to a few easy-to-understand steps. Implementing is the hard part, but if you find the right mix of tools and talents, even that can become way easier for you.

The first thing is to Capture.

I write down everything I might want to do someday. That could be as small as a task around the house or as big as an entire system. The point is there’s an inbox for that stuff where every task-oriented thing goes.

You don’t have to make this overcomplicated. I use the app Things 3, which I landed on after trying seriously every productivity app and system I could find. I used paper planners for a long time! But that just didn’t end up being long-term sustainable for me.

Now, if I want to capture something, I just hit CTRL + SPACE on my Mac, write it down, then hit enter. Boom, it’s now in my Inbox. If action is needed within a defined period of time, I can hit a couple other keyboard shortcuts to select when I want to do it and how it should be categorized in my system. But 99% of these tasks just go to the inbox where I figure them out as part of my normal routine.

Todoist is another great app that has similar functionality. Sunsama works well, and there are others too. Heck, you can use Apple Notes if you want to (it’s just a few more clicks). Capture everything.

Next, we Systematize.

This is the real magic. The Capture step would fail if I didn’t have a system in which I would return to what I captured. I have a weekly review, and within the context of that weekly review I have a task called “Process Things Inbox.”

I go through my inbox and move everything where it needs to go. I’ll tag anything that needs tagging (also part of my system). And I’ll assign dates to anything that I decide in the moment I want to work on.

At the end of that process, I’ll have my inbox cleared and all tasks are in the context they need to be.

Now, I have a few recurring tasks every day. Rule of Life (prayer, Bible reading, checking my Project Management system in my business, etc), Daily Writing (obvious enough), and Check Email (end of the day around 4:00pm).

(BTW – yes, you read that right, I don’t get bogged down in my email all day. I check it one time per day. And my email signature notifies people of that. Half of your productivity is probably gone because you live in your inbox. You can fix that.)

Other than that, unless I’ve pre-determined a task should be done that day, my day will start with a clean slate.

In Things 3, there’s an Anytime list. That list has all of my tasks displayed by Area/Project (the top three in any category show by default). Every day, I look at that Anytime list, and ask: “What might it make sense to work on today?” And then I’ll assign myself those tasks.

The big key here is to keep it reasonable. I try to do my three routine items and at least three “Impact” tasks per day. That’s what I hold myself accountable for, the rest is gravy.

You can do both of the above if you don’t have a team, and it will radically (trust me) improve your daily productivity. But if you do have a team, you can move some items to my last (and favorite) step.

Finally, if possible, Delegate.

It is possible to buy time. You can buy other people’s time. That’s the fundamental point of business. People who need websites buy my time to build it. I buy my team’s time to help me fulfill on the process. And the cycle continues.

For example, I have an assistant, Jeline (who is almost certainly reading this – hey Jeline!) who saves me HOURS per week on tasks like posting some of our social media, editing/publishing YouTube videos and podcasts, and more. She allows me to get so much more done because I can focus on my own highest areas of impact.

My Project Manager, Brian, is another notable example. Because of him, I never have to worry about things falling through the cracks in my business. I know that if I assign something to Jeline or Brian it is going to get done. There are others who work for me as well, like Sam, Jime, and Christian, who all do fantastic work on the projects they have.

The point is: Once you have a team, your own productivity soars. Not only do we create better results for our clients because of how good the team is, but since I don’t have to do the work of six people, I can do my own work well — and more of it.

You’ll start by just delegating tasks. Small items. Easy to define and explain. The “expert mode” version of this, which is where delegation really shines, is delegating outcomes.

For example, when a new web design project starts, the entire project is delegated to Brian essentially. Once I place a new project in his hands, I know that in roughly 6-8 weeks, a beautiful new website is going to appear based on the work he’s guided the team through. (Of course, systems come into play here as well. We have a system we follow with each new project. Brian manages the system, the system manages the expectations for the people, etc.)

I know this is a lot – but honestly I feel like the process of learning everything I just told you is what has taken me the most time. Steps one and two can be achieved with relative ease and simplicity if you’re willing to spend a few hours on YouTube and learn about project management apps and try a few out.

Hope this helps!

Jun 6, 2024

About Me

Hey, I'm Steve — a Christian, entrepreneur, thinker, and creator. Thanks for stopping by!

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