3 Required Elements for Boosting Productivity (and Achieving Your Goals)

Image of Clocks to Improve ProductivityYou aren’t the only business owner that loses motivation from time to time.

We all do, including me. Sometimes I realize my plate is so full that everything comes to a screeching halt because priorities collide.

Suddenly my “wants” overpower my “must do” list, my discipline slips and things are left incomplete.

This past week I dropped the ball on a couple projects. Fortunately, they were my own personal projects and not those of clients. But does that make them any less important?

I think not.

I bit off more than I could chew and well, the result weren’t pretty. You’ve been there. It happens to all of us. You get all hot and charged up about your next idea but after the initial surge of energy wears off; you realize the real work has begun.

That’s why before you endeavor into anything you have to focus your mind on the scope of the tasks before you and commit to them. You have to commit to a plan, follow through, and believe in yourself that you will  make things happen.

Here is my take on this topic, in quote form for y’all.

1. “Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.”
~Samuel Johnson

For me, this quote is about taking action. Planning and preparation are vital, sure. But if you agonize over creating contingency plans for your contingency plans; you’re not taking action.

Make a move.

Adjust on the fly.

You’ll never successfully forecast every scenario. Simply accept that what you plan to do will eventually hit a snag. Deal with it. Spending all your time drowning in information and planning your project, for example, isn’t moving you toward your goal.

Be bold and execute.

2. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
~Dale Carnegie

Perseverance.

Are you persevering? When the going gets tough and your mind plays tricks telling you that you “can’t do it,” do you withdraw and lie down? Don’t.

Keep on fighting.

It’s the times that you’re being tested the most that life is asking you to prove you want it (whatever it is for you). If you give up you’re proving you didn’t want to succeed badly enough. By quitting, you acknowledge that the rewards weren’t worth the price life demanded of you.

What you may not yet realize is that just beyond, and I’m talking just a single step, where you think you have no strength left, is where the rewards begin.

Don’t give up too early, my friend. Your breakthrough is imminent.

3. “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”
~Arthur C. Clarke

I don’t like the word “impossible.” Maybe you don’t either. I try never to use it when talking about my plans, client plans, or my goals. You’ll need to work on having faith that you’re capable of reaching the goals you’ve set.

In business, you’re often faced with what seem to be insurmountable obstacles. Design issues with your website, minuscule advertising budgets, information overwhelm, an extended slump in sales, and disgruntled clients that just make you sigh.

Buck up. Stop thinking “impossible” and “I can’t” or “I’m not so-and-so therefore it won’t work.” There is only one you on this entire planet. You know it, we know it, now challenge yourself to develop and show off your unique abilities.

Become the nightmare to your dreams by hunting them down and lording over them. Go beyond possible.

Keep going, my friend

Step toward your goals each day and accept that sometimes you’ll accidentally slip into neutral. That’s okay. Just train yourself to pop back into gear and follow the above steps.

Take action, persevere, and have faith. Are you with me? Then please pass this article along to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers and share your two pennies in the comments.

Photo: wwworks



33 Responses to 3 Required Elements for Boosting Productivity (and Achieving Your Goals)
  1. Sarah Russell
    April 11, 2011 | 9:17 am

    Jon – I feel like you and I are on the exact same page lately… I hope you’re doing whatever you need to do to break out of that funk and get on with your business, because you’re doing some really amazing stuff right now!

    I think it’s important that we all take the time to recognize our own responses to these situations. Because they’re going to happen – feeling overwhelmed and incapable of taking action is kind of a given with any business.

    But the way that we each respond to it is going to be different. The specific things I need to do to get back in the game are likely going to be different than yours. It’s all about being aware of your own cycles and knowing the steps you need to take to be productive.

    And thanks also for sharing – I think it’s so important that we get this message of “internet business isn’t all puppies and rainbows” out there so that people aren’t duped into spending money unnecessarily based on that premise. :)

    • Jon
      April 11, 2011 | 9:38 pm

      Sarah,

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. Yes, we have had a hectic couple of weeks I’d say. At least we’re not alone, right?

      By-the-way, what a downer that I had tech issues earlier tonight logging into our webinar! I’ll be sure to add my content into the forum thread – check out the new topic I created.

      We all need more puppies and rainbows. Sadly, no promise of either in the digital landscape. But you’re right, attitude wins out every time. AND it’s a choice. We are in control more than we think and it’s up to us to adjust based on our own cycles as you said. I had a similar conversation with Janet Callaway about this on a post of hers.

      Thanks again, Sarah, great to see you here.

  2. Hector Avellaneda
    April 11, 2011 | 12:06 pm

    Jon

    One of my things I use to keep me on track is the 80/20 rule. Im sure you’ve heard of it. There have been times when I have also lost motivation simply because there is always something to do and the biggest problem I experienced was, where do I start or how do I get back on track?

    By identifying what are those things that take up 80% of my time that produce 20% of results I am able to completely avoid those and find a nice starting point!

    I wrote an article about this called Pareto’s Law for Internet Entrepreneurs. Check it out if you get some time.

    Hope all is well Jon!

    • Jon
      April 11, 2011 | 9:41 pm

      Hector,

      I will definitely head over and check out your article and your new content as well. Good point; if we identify the “busy work” that doesn’t push our businesses forward then it’ll be easier to prioritize tasks. From there we’ll be better equipped to mitigate burning out.

      Last week is sooo last week. Here we are at the start of a fresh new week and it’s exciting. Thank you for your insight.

      • Hector Avellaneda
        April 12, 2011 | 11:59 am

        Sure, no problem Jon! Always glad I can help. Let me know if you need help finding the article. Which reminds me, I need to put a search bar on my blog. :)

  3. Janet @ The Natural Networker
    April 11, 2011 | 10:27 pm

    Jon, aloha. Great quotes, great reflections, great action items and, dare I say it? Great Post!

    My feeling on #1, Jon, is that if you spend your time planning for all the contingencies, you will need them. If you focus on the what ifs, that is exactly what you will get. Endless planning soothes the lizard brain because its safe.

    #2 If people don’t persevere, Jon, they will never succeed. Should there be a rare occurrence that someone has an idea, implements it and it is a huge success immediately, in order to sustain it, he will have to persevere. What launched it, is not what will fuel its growth.

    #3 Jon, I absolutely love your challenge. I accept.

    In closing, Jon, here are some quotes for you.

    Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations. Steve Jobs

    Success or failure in business is caused more by the mental attitude even than by mental capacities.
    Walter Scott

    Wishing you a better week this than last. Knowing you, it is all out of your system so you are full steam ahead. Take care, my friend. Aloha. Janet

    • Jon
      April 12, 2011 | 9:08 pm

      Janet,

      “Great Post” haha. Hmm…that reminds me of an article I read ;)

      You make a fantastic point about the lizard brain needing all those assurances by planning and making backup plans for your backup plans. It’s great to be prepared, but at some point we have to take that first step.

      Those are powerful quotes, thank you for the share. To quote you: “What launched it, is not what will fuel its growth,” that’s not too shabby either!

      I appreciate your insight; now full steam ahead!

  4. Jk Allen
    April 12, 2011 | 12:11 am

    Hey Jon,

    I hope your week has started off well!

    The thing that came to mind when reading this was the dreaded word: discouragement. It used to be enough to make me want to stop what I was doing and move on to something easier, more comforting. But I’ve come to learn that our self-endued discouragement is really a sign that we’re challenging ourselves. It’s a good thing, in a way. But we have to will over it…which is often easier said than done.

    What you have displayed is a great mindset to excel over any delimiting beliefs and focus on what matters – the end goal.

    Thanks for the knowledge Jon.

    Bests to you!

    • Jon
      April 12, 2011 | 9:12 pm

      Jk,

      It certainly isn’t easy and we all would like to take the path of least resistance sometimes but where’s the fun in that? That sense of pride and joy when your hustle (your word) pays off is worth it; we just have to get up, brush off, and push forward after a dip in motivation.

      Thank you and keep believing.

  5. Peggy Baron
    April 12, 2011 | 7:38 am

    Hi Jon,

    What a great post to read and start off my day with!

    “Become the nightmare to your dreams by hunting them down and lording over them. Go beyond possible.”

    “Don’t give up too early, my friend. Your breakthrough is imminent.”

    Those really spoke to me, Jon. Somedays I do get overwhelmed, not information overload, but just overwhelmed with my huge goals and all the work my great ideas have come down to. But then I make my To Do list and start taking the necessary action which stops me from thinking too much.

    Sometimes I realize my state of mind is really off because I didn’t get enough sleep or I let a little negative thing get to me, and that this state of mind is temporary. The next day inevitably finds me ready to fly high again. :)

    Thanks, Jon.
    Peggy

    • Jon
      April 12, 2011 | 9:15 pm

      Peggy,

      You aren’t alone. I know lack of sleep has tripped me up numerous times and the overwhelm of juggling multiple projects can stop you in your tracks. It sounds like you are savvy enough to identify these times and “flip the switch.” You make your To Do list and break the tasks into manageable chunks; smart!

      Keep at it and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Jayne Kopp
    April 12, 2011 | 11:10 am

    Hi Jon, I have been in all of those places and this post is a great reminder to keep on keeping on.

    I have bitten off far more than I can chew lately, but I choose to snap out of it.

    I agree that you will only quit when you feel your end result is no longer worth it.

    Impossible is a word I have stricken from my vocabulary.

    This was an excellent kick in the butt for anyone who feels to be in a slouch.

    Thanks Jon!

    Jayne

    • Jon
      April 12, 2011 | 9:18 pm

      Hi Jayne,

      It seems that “biting off more than we can chew” has been a theme in my life lately. My offline friends, online friends, and I have all said that very thing at least once over the past few days. Peggy Baron has the right idea with getting back to basics with her To Do list and breaking out high priority tasks.

      Impossible is a naughty word :) Take care and chat soon, thanks!

  7. Jane | Find All Answers
    April 12, 2011 | 12:27 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Your #2 got my attention quickly. One cannot expect success without giving it a try. And, trying is not enough. Success does not come so easily. And the more we try or fight about a thing, the more we learn. It is success+learning.

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    • Jon
      April 12, 2011 | 9:20 pm

      Hello Jane,

      The education along the way is priceless. I’m glad that point #2 spoke to you. Even in the perceived absence of hope we have to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing. Our “why” should be epic enough to motivate us to get back on track.

  8. Oliver Tausend
    April 12, 2011 | 1:14 pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    amazing insights, stuffed with awesome quotes. Thanks for sharing.

    I second you on the strategy of planning, doing and adjusting. Make correction as you go, be persistent and never give up. Try until you reach your goal.

    Take care

    Oliver

    • Jon
      April 12, 2011 | 9:23 pm

      Hi there, Oliver!

      You’re welcome. Yes, persistence is a huge factor. That is something that we should be planning for at the start. If only more of us were told to expect that persevering is an essential part of the equation, there would likely be less turnover (probably because fewer people would begin). Thank you, sir.

  9. Jason Yormark
    April 12, 2011 | 1:15 pm

    #1 definitely resonates with me. Having worked at a giant corporation for years, we often got in our own way so many times over-planning. Rather then jumping in and getting things done, we too much time figuring out every last detail. Incredibly frustrating, and one of the main reasons I found myself having to find another career path.

    • Jon
      April 12, 2011 | 9:28 pm

      Hi Jason,

      Welcome and thank you for your insight. I’ll have to stay tuned to see if you continue to enjoy using RockMelt (per your recent post). You called out a major issue in the corporate world with companies getting in their own way. Processes and contingency plans are great; but don’t hold meetings to talk about the next meeting you’re going to hold. Take action and prepare to take action not to plan more. Make sense?

  10. Stacy | Grow With Stacy
    April 12, 2011 | 2:51 pm

    Hi Jon,
    This is right on topic with what I have been listening to from the audio book The Slight Edge. There is no such thing as a perfect plan, we always have to readjust the course to get to where we want. Even the space shuttle is only on course 2% of the time, the rest of the time it is off course and adjusting the course. But it always gets to it’s destination!

    Stacy

    • Jon
      April 12, 2011 | 9:31 pm

      Stacy,

      I like your space shuttle analogy. The Slight Edge; Average to Advantage or How To Get Out of Your Own Way?

      No such thing as a perfect plan. Or a perfect anything. That’s what makes the journey so interesting :) Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Danny @ Firepole Marketing
    April 13, 2011 | 8:20 am

    We’ve all been there, Jon. The bigger a game you’re playing, realistically, the more often it’s going to happen. I wish I had a cure, other than just to keep putting one foot after the other – eventually it goes away, and all the energy comes back.

    How’s this week starting off for you? Better?

    • Jon
      April 14, 2011 | 10:38 pm

      Hi Danny,

      You bet – this week has been a lot better overall. You’re right about the bigger the game gets the more this type of slump has to be handled and prevented. It has taken a revised action plan and new approach but I’m happy where things are headed.

      You’ve been racking up the guest posts lately – congrats!

  12. [...] this week we discussed motivation (or lack thereof) that we sometimes encounter along our [...]

  13. Adrienne
    April 13, 2011 | 1:03 pm

    Boy can I ever relate Jon!!! I put so much pressure on myself to achieve so much that I beat myself up when I haven’t accomplished what I set out to do within the time frame I put on myself.

    Like right now I have a couple projects going this week. But life and other things get in the way at times which throws me off my schedule. Then I just put even more pressure on myself when I need to just step back, breath and know that it will get done when it gets done.

    Slowly but surely I’m learning that I am taking massive action and trying new things to see if they work is just part of it. Just don’t give up is my motto so with that being said, full steam ahead.

    Thanks for this reminder and it’s nice to know we aren’t alone in this way of thinking. At least we are action takers.

    Have a blessed day my friend.

    Adrienne

    • Jon
      April 14, 2011 | 10:36 pm

      Adrienne,

      It’s always good to know we aren’t alone :) We sure know how to mercilessly beat ourselves up over these things. As long as you continue to take action and learn from any slips along the way, who can fault you? Keep up the great work Adrienne and remember it’s okay to slow down and relax sometimes (I will try as well). Thanks as always.

  14. Emmanuel Olonade
    April 13, 2011 | 11:54 pm

    Hi Jon,
    There are indeed times when the gear moves to “neutral”. Some are things we can easily deal with while others can stall our productivity for I long time. But we have to find a way to get our steam back up.
    Pareto’s 80/20 rule also stands for me. We just have to focus on what gets the most results.

    • Jon
      April 14, 2011 | 10:16 pm

      Emmanuel,

      Quite wise there with the Pareto Principle. I agree; it’s important to identify the 20% of those tasks which return the 80% of the highest value results. Thank you for your input.

  15. Devesh
    April 15, 2011 | 10:13 am

    Hi Jon,

    That is awesome. Great quotes with amazing insights man. Great work.

    You’ve made great point about not giving up and keep trying. This is what I’m trying to do with one of my biggest project :D !!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Jon
      April 15, 2011 | 10:35 pm

      Hey Devesh,

      Thanks a lot. I wonder what the big project is that you mention?! Best wishes with it whatever it may be.

  16. Heather C Stephens
    April 15, 2011 | 3:49 pm

    Hi Jon,

    I’m late in getting her because my week got away from me…therefore your post spoke to me loud and clear. It’s not that I lost motivation, but life got in the way. Daughter = stitches, me = migraine, blog = more server problems, car = repairs…and on and on.

    I think that what I love the most about working for myself, though, is that I can scale back on my business at times like this week when things feel a little out of control and I need to give family or other things a bigger piece of my day.

    It can feel hard to jump back in…kind of like getting into a chilly pool after being out for a while, so I find that just diving back in and getting to work is the best scenario for me, rather than trying to ease myself back in to a schedule.

    Mistakes, yes they will happen and I’ll overlook things, but it all seems to work out in the end, answers seem to arrive just in the nick of time, and what needs to get done usually does.

    Thanks for the inspiring post! :)
    Heather

    • Jon
      April 15, 2011 | 10:34 pm

      Heather,

      Oh gosh! Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Sounds like quite the week for you and I hope your daughter is okay. Well, at least one of the server issues was traffic-related, yes? That wouldn’t be too bad ;)

      If diving right back in works for you, great. That’s all we need to do is recognize (and try to create) the atmosphere that will get us right back into the swing of things. I wish you a calmer weekend and highly productive week next week! Thank you for sharing.

  17. [...] I mean, absolutely divine. The service was impersonal but prompt. I was alone and kind of in a motivational funk so it was time well spent alone to [...]

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