Whether you are working your business as a side hustle or are full-time/full throttle into it, there are many things that are getting in the way of your productivity. What’s the one thing that can kill business productivity faster than anything else?

Mind clutter.

What is mind clutter?

Have you ever had so many things to do that for each item you cross off your to-do list, you remember five more things that need to get done?

  • You need to book that client call for tomorrow.
  • Send out the invoice for your other client before the end of the week.
  • You have the podcast interview next week.
  • You still have to prep dinner.
  • Did you remember to send that birthday card to your Aunt?

The thoughts are endless!

So how do you manage all the mind clutter that’s coming in so you can be more productive in your business?

Here are 4 simple steps to ensure you’re more productive while working on your business when mind clutter gets in the way.

  1. Do a complete mind dump – anything that in on your mind about anything, write it down (make sure you use pen/pencil to paper as there is something more efficient about the physical aspect versus openings up a digital program)
  1. Take that list from #1 and divide it into two categories:
  • things you can change
  •  things you can’t change
  1. If you can’t change it, let the thought go! (I understand that you’re upset your family dog died 15 years ago and the puppy video reminded you of him, but you cannot change what has happened. Enjoy the memory, stop watching that Facebook video and focus on the things you can change)
  1. If you can change it, take 15 minutes and do so (If you’re feeling overwhelmed/stressed go for a 15 minute walk. Need to write a blog post? Take 15 minutes and start. You’ll be amazed at what 15 minute spurts can do for your productivity)

Top tool I use to be more productive in my business

I am someone who can get distracted easily (I know it’s hard to believe someone who can organize can sometimes find herself with a ton of mind clutter). My favourite productivity “hack”, or top tool I use to be more productive in my business, is scrum method. I recommend this to everyone. If you don’t know what I’m talking about look it up, it really is my go to when I need to get a lot done in a certain amount of time.

What is SCRUM and how to use it? (My explanation)

I’ll give you my (very) short version of what scrum is and how I use it to be more productive. Basically, it’s a system where you take a white board (or wall space) and create three columns; backlog, doing and done. Backlog is all the tasks you need to get done, doing is the ONE thing that you’re doing at that moment and done is where you place all the tasks you have completed.

To start, you want to write down everything that you need to get done. I’m talking each and every step of those tasks. So when you say; “build your website” that’s not specific enough. Break it down into further steps. For example;

  • Hosting (set-up, payment, company you’re going to use, etc.)
  • Domain name (do you need to use keyword search?)
  • Choosing a theme (are you going to purchase a theme or use a free one)
  • All your pages (start here, about, services, etc.)
  • Each and every step that is needed to create that website

What to do next with all your tasks you’ve written down

You want to grab sticky notes (I like to colour code my notes so I have different colours for different categories) and write all these steps on those notes. Place these sticky notes under the backlog column.

Next, take ONE task (yes I emphasized this in a big, bold, underlined way) and place it under the “doing“ column. This is the one thing you are going to focus on until complete.

How to stay focused and get more done in less time

This part is the key to getting more done in less time.

What is it?

Using a timer!

Yep. It’s that’s simple. I personally like doing 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break time. This way I can do two spurts in an hour. It’s enough time to get into the swing of things, yet not too long that it seems overwhelming. It’s amazing still how fast time flies by when you’re timing yourself.

Make yourself more accountable with a partner

Do you have trouble staying focused without checking social media or doing other things? Find someone and do a scrum marathon together.

For example, plan ahead to do three full hours of scrum, and it doesn’t matter if they are half way across the country. I do this with someone who is in the Chicago area and I’m from Canada. What we do is message each other on the date and time, we both tell each other what we’re working on for that 25 minutes, then when our break comes up we check in and let each other know if we completed the one thing.

When our three hours are up, we discuss what worked for us and what didn’t throughout the marathon.

I find I’m more likely to stay focused knowing someone is waiting for my feedback. Sometimes we’ve even made a competition to see who can move more sticky notes to the done column in the three hours.

This is great for me because I hate loosing!!