We’ve covered lots of tips and tricks for how to maximize your success in the last section, including how to increase motivation and avoid the classic stumbling blocks, as well as how to find mentors and create a Mastermind Groups.
In this part of Working To Maximize Your Success, we’re going to look at managing your time, avoiding procrastination and certain strategies that will improve your time management and have you working like a well oiled machine!
Let’s dive in.
How To Manage Your Time Effectively
I’m going to suggest that you take on the challenge of the Pomodoro Technique!
Strange name, right? But what can this do for your productivity and your business?
The Pomodoro Technique is a way of dividing up your work time during the day. You do 50 minute chunks of time and then take a 10 minute break.
So, as way of an example:
You wake up at 6:30 ready to get to work at 7am. You brush your teeth and have a quick breakfast.
At 7am, you start your first ‘Pomodoro’ by working for 50 minutes non-stop on a task.
At 7:50, you have a 10 minute break. Stretch your legs. Watch 10 mins of TV. Take in some fresh air outside. Whatever you need to do.
At 8am, you start work again on your second ‘Pomodoro’ and work for 50 minutes.
You repeat this throughout your work day and do as many ‘Pomodoros’ as you want.
This is a really efficient way to work. Needless to say, you switch everything off and work solely on the task at hand for those 50 minutes.
Focus on one task at a time. Don’t multi-task – that’s the formula for overwhelm and getting caught in negative loops and getting confused. You’ve experienced that, right?
1. Do one task at a time. 50 minute chunks.
2. Take a 10 minute break on 50 minutes no matter what you’re doing.
3. Do these 50 minute clocks on concentrated work throughout your work day and watch your productivity skyrocket!
Yes, you can finish a sentence if you’re writing an email or something. But you need to be firm about cut-off points.
Be strict with yourself.
4. Use a kitchen timer or a clock on your computer (there are many free timer apps out there) for keeping track of the time. Have it sound a gentle alarm for the end of a Pomodoro session and have it sound again for the end of your break.
5. Take a longer 30 minute break at the end of every two Pomodoros.
Accessibility And Guarding Your Time
Time is your most important asset. It’s something that can’t ever be taken back once it’s lost. You can lose project edits, you can lose people’s emails, you can even lose whole hard drives full of work. But you can work to get those back eventually.
What you can’t get back is the minute it took to read that last paragraph. Time is crucial.
You don’t have to be accessible in your business at all times. You don’t need to be at the beck-and-call of your phone, jumping in reaction to each text or email that comes through. This seems to be a learned behavior with a lot of people these days.
One of the best things you can do (especially when you’re deep in concentration editing a project) is to just turn your phone off.
I have my phone on silent at all times these days. There aren’t many phone calls in this world that can’t wait at least 1 hour (till the end of your next Pomodoro block of time!)
Learn to be strict with your time and it will pay you back with interest.
Also, cut out time-wasters from your life. Don’t chase clients – let them come to you.
There are two decisions you must make:
How are you going to do business?
How are others going to do business with you?
Important rule – Time management helps marketing, it doesn’t suppress it.
Here’s a great video on guarding your time and improving your productivity:
Time is your biggest resource. Don’t let other people waste yours, and certainly don’t waste it yourself.
Have Rules About Your Time
Avoid participating in a medium of open communication. This causes a brain overload and you get burn-out. Refuse to participate in it. Control time and control the access to you.
In practice, this means:
Don’t take a phone call when it could be better handled through email (it’s quicker!)
Don’t take a meeting when it could be handled with a phone call (meetings can drag and often nothing gets done!)
Obviously, Initial Meetings, as we’ve discussed, are important ways to strike up a relationship with a client early on and you need these meetings to discuss the parameters and brief of the project.
What the above refers to is meetings once a project has commenced. Clients will offer be insecure about things and will try and delay and drill into your time and productivity. Whilst you should always handle this calmly and politely, you should be firm and professional with your time and boundaries.
By being in an open communication environment, we agree to things we shouldn’t and we make a lot of mistakes. Instant or quick is not the same as productive.
Instant, anytime access is certainly not the same as effective.
Do The Biggest Task Of The Day First
In order to master productivity, make sure you always do the biggest task first. This also extends to the hardest task.
This is a technique originally explained in a book I read by Brian Tracy, but I’m sure the concept has been around for an age.
Brian Tracy called this ‘eating the frog.’ The idea is that if you “eat the frog” first thing in the morning, you can go through the rest of the day relaxing knowing that that’s probably the worse thing you’ll have to do all day.
It’s a psychological mind game with yourself. As you’ll come to see, so many of these productivity tips are psychology based. This is because motivation is a concept so deeply rooted in human nature and it’s often hard to truly reach it without a little “psychological trick” here and there.
Practically, ‘eat the frog’ could look like this:
1. Get up in the morning, check your to-do list that you wrote the night before
2. Notice that you have a big note in capital letters “FINALLY FINISH THE WEDDING EDIT.” You know this is your frog for the day!
3. Boot up your editing software and finish that edit!
4. Now that you’ve “eaten the frog,” go on with the rest of the day comfortable in the fact that you have knocked off your biggest task at the start of the day.
Should I Do Projects as Favors For Friends/Family members?
This is a big question that always comes up when I speak to fledgling video business owners. This is a classic scenario and here’s how it normally plays out:
You start your video production business with the best of intentions. You do everything right, including mentioning what you’re doing to friends and family members (just like I advised in the Quick Start Guide).
As if by clockwork, you suddenly have a number of friends and family contacting you asking if you can, “Help them with a project…”
You have to be careful here. Doing projects for friends and family members can be a slippery slope and countless freelancers have told me horror stories. And I’m not just talking about video business owners, either.
The difficulty in working with friends and family is an issue that’s tied up in the concept of value. Most of the time, especially if you’re just getting started, it’s tempting to do a project for your uncle for free. He’ll use flowery language about how much it’s going to benefit your business having his video project as a sample to show other people, and both of you come in with good intentions to make something fantastic.
However, the minute you do something for free, the value of what you’re providing is diminished.
This is so important.
To add complication to it, this is a project for your uncle, so he’s going to suggest “just a couple of changes.” Before long, you’re sweating away on a project that seems to be never-ending. Your uncle doesn’t respect you like he would another freelancer, because you’re doing it for free.
Yes, I advised doing some projects for free when you’re starting out, simply because it’s very hard to get work without a portfolio and you need a portfolio to get started. It’s a chicken and egg scenario. I do advise not to work with friends and family members on their projects, though.
We value that which has a price tag attached. Unfortunately, doing projects for free for family members and friends is fraught with difficulty.
Whilst you need to build up your early Portfolio by doing some work for free in order to get paid assignments, you must choose your projects carefully.
Start a 10/10/10 List
I want to introduce you to the Filmmaking Lifestyle 10/10/10 List.
This will change your life!
So we’ve talked a lot about taking action. I remember I used to take a lot of action but at the end of the day, I felt like I had done nothing.
This was because I went through so much of my life not being absolutely sure what I wanted. Because I didn’t know what I wanted, I was unable to obtain it. I was caught in a cycle of feeling like something was missing, but I didn’t know what was missing.
Ever felt like that? It was a really weird position to be in.
Now, when I go to bed, I feel accomplished. And when I wake up, I feel excited. The following method has worked for me over the past year:
A 10/10/10 List is a list of 10 Affirmations, 10 things I’m Grateful for and 10 things I’d like to Manifest.
Gratitude items are great things that you already have in your life that you want to keep in your life.
Affirmation items are things that you want to be – a lot of these are personality based and about how you want to be as a person.
Manifestation items are things that you want in your life.
You might find that your list will be longer than 10 items each .
Make sure you write everything down in the present tense.
If you feel bad about something in your life, you can either write an Affirmation around it, or if you want something, you can add it to the Manifestation list.
Here are some examples that might be on your list:
I am in a relationship with an awesome person.
I am improving my body composition every week.
My life is more active and fulfilling than ever before.
I am kind and helpful to everyone I come into contact with.
Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.
I am a fantastic video business owner.
I have 8 clients that I work with regularly each year in my video business.
I go on three vacations a year.
I have all the time I need to enjoy spending quality time with my family.
So this is how it works:
1. Each morning, you read your 10/10/10.
2. As you’re reading your 10/10/10, think hard on each item and make sure it resonates with you. Remember to think back to the goals you set earlier in this section,
3. If you don’t feel good when you read a Gratitude item, replace it with another one. If you feel negative, sad or ashamed when you read an Affirmation or Manifestation item, write down an action item that you can do that day to help you move towards achieving that goal or state of mind.
4. At the end of reading, you should have a list of Action Items.
5. Prioritize and schedule in the Action Items into your daily To-Do List (we went through those earlier in this section).
6. Before you go to bed, read the 10/10/10 again.
7. We mentioned keeping a journal earlier in this section. Use it to review your day. Write down what you did well and what you could have improved on.
8. If you made a mistake, visualize what you could have done that would have been better.
9. Now go to sleep, wake up and repeat!
Doing this effectively and honestly can really change your life. There’s something very strong about visualizing your goals daily and the Filmmaking Lifestyle 10/10/10 List helps you to do it.