In the wake of the coronavirus, you may feel sidetracked and like you’re losing hopes. With so much happening around us, it can be difficult to focus on work and getting things done. And yet, your clients are waiting, your coaching products have to be finished, emails have to get sent out and in general, you need to be productive to get through the day.
However, that is much harder than it seems, especially in these uncertain times. Here are some tried and tested ways to improve your productivity as a coach.
Eat a live frog
Not literally, of course. The famous writer Mark Twain had a saying:
‘Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.’
The basic idea is that once you do something awful in the very beginning of your day, the rest of the day will feel like a breeze. In other words, do your most difficult, most dreaded task early on in the morning (or week) and the rest of the day will feel much easier.
For example, you can take care of your emails as you start work early in the morning. Most entrepreneurs and coaches which I know hate emails because they’re so time-consuming. Instead of leaving this task for the end of your workday, prioritize tasks immediately. You’ll do your hardest task first and the rest of the day will be like a walk in the park.
Track your time for your own purposes
There are lots of articles online about the value of tracking your own time. As a professional coach, you may find it tedious to track what you do during the day, but hear me out. It can be one of the best things you do for yourself, your business and your clients.
Once you start tracking your time, you will have more awareness of where your time goes. Instead of manually logging everything you do, just get a simple time tracker (like Toggl, Harvest or PomoDone) and click in the app when you start and stop doing a certain task.
Is it tedious at first? Yes. But once it becomes a habit, you’ll start uncovering patterns. For example, you may find that you spend far too much time every day on LinkedIn, so much that it takes up half of your day. You may find that you don’t spend enough time every day trying to build a coaching product.
You can only track your time for a month just to see how you spend your time every day. You may be surprised to see that the things that take up most of your time don’t actually give you any return on your investment.
As a bonus, you can use the Pomodoro technique. This famous productivity hack implies that you should use 25-minute blocks of highly focused work, focused by a 5-minute break. Some of the tools mentioned above are suited exactly for this purpose. This technique lets you “get in the zone” for 25 minutes and then take a short break to recharge your batteries. Use these short breaks to refresh your brain with some activities like solving puzzles, word unscrambling etc.
Outsource and delegate
Let me tell you a little secret. The best coaches in the world don’t do anything except coaching. And still, they have top-notch blogs, their social media profiles are up to date and they send out emails daily. The trick is that they don’t actually do any of that work on their own.
If you want to be a renowned coach and a master of productivity, you need to delegate and outsource those tasks that you’re not good at or that don’t provide the ROI that you need. It’s best to devote your time to the things that you know best – finding new clients and coaching.
For everything else, it’s better to hire an expert in that field. Is it better to hire a social media manager at $15 an hour or spend 5 hours per week creating your own social media content? Surely, your time is worth more and with someone else on top of that task, you can focus on coaching sessions and winning more clients.
This goes hand in hand with the previous entry. You may think that you’re being super productive by doing two or more things at once, but the reality is that you’re doing all of them combined in a worse way than you would do them individually. In other words, multitasking is a myth.
Focus on the one thing that matters, while you delegate the tasks that you cannot manage on your own. Not only will you actually save more time, but the tasks that you do will be done with more attention.
Get good at saying no
As a coach and an entrepreneur, you never know when that next opportunity could strike. You could find a great client, get an idea for a book, come up with a new funnel for your website, launch a new course for a new niche audience or something else. However, how many of those tasks do really contribute to your vision of where you want to be as a coach? How many of those tasks have a tangible, predictable return on investment?
One of the most important things you should learn as a coach is to evaluate your options and learn how to say no to those which are not likely to impact your career. Before making a decision, think how much taking a certain action will move you further to your dream client/career.
Minimize your interruptions
In the modern age, there are so many things around us yearning for our attention. Perhaps the worst of them is our phone. You sit down to get 30 minutes of focused work, but nope, someone just commented on your Instagram photo. An email comes in about an upcoming meeting. Someone just friended you on Facebook.
Of all the things that interrupt you, this one is the easiest to solve. Simply switch your phone to airplane mode when you want to get some focused work. Alternatively, turn off notifications for a certain app that’s getting in your way.
If you’re the one distracting yourself at work, there’s a cure for that too. Say that you want to work on a new coaching project but you keep visiting Facebook to check on your group or just refresh your newsfeed. There are Chrome extensions like StayFocusd that allow you to block certain websites for a specific time period. Want to stay off Instagram for 2 hours? No problems.
For those of us working from home without interruptions could mean something as simple as closing (or locking your door) for an hour or two so you can do some deeply focused work.
Maximizing your productivity as a coach is absolutely vital if you want to get the most out of your time. Moreover, it’s an excellent way to show your clients that you actually “walk the walk”. After all, how can you coach others if you can’t manage your own productivity?