Initially, I started jordico.com next to my corporate job. Even before I started jordico, I have built 2 separate businesses while being employed in a demanding job.
I usually worked 8-10 hours per day and commuted for 2.5. hours to a different city twice a week. Needless to say that there was not much time left to build a business, at least not during the day.
Let me give you a few ideas that I have successfully used to start and build my business next to my corporate job that you can also implement.
1. Get GTD Organized in Your Business
If you have not yet read GTD from David Allen, go get it, it’s a must read. More importantly, it’s a must implement if you want to be as productive as you can while having a clear mind to focus on the important things.
I have read the book several times and just recently fully implemented it into my business. It’s now a whole different world. I’m not just a lot more productive but I also sleep better, I’m more creative and I have more energy when I finish work to spend time with my loved ones.
I get more stuff done than ever before and when I’m not at work, I am much more relaxed because my mind knows that things are organized and where they need to be.
To make the most from the GTD framework, I use OmniFocus on my iPhone and iPad to organize all my projects, contexts and lists.
Every week, I have a block of 2 hours reserved to get organized and review my entire system to make sure no project is missed and no loop is open so my mind can focus on what’s most important instead of worrying about open loops and things I could potentially forget.
Every time a new thought pops into my head about something I want to do, should do or have to do, I pull out my iPhone and add a note to my inbox that I get back to in my 2 hour organizing window and put it where it needs to be.
2. Get GTD Organized in Your Job
When I was still working in corporate and building my businesses on the side, I wanted to be more efficient in my job because then, I had more time to spend on building my businesses.
I implemented GTD in my corporate job and I got things done much faster than before.
Because my boss saw what happened, he asked me what I changed and after I told him, he bought OmniFocus, implemented GTD and proudly showed it to me in our next meeting.
Because I was paid for my achievements and not to be in the office and merely be present for 8 hours, I was able to greatly increase productivity and achieve better results in 7 hours per day than I was able to do in 8 hours before I implemented GTD.
3. Use Your Down Time Efficiently
In my corporate job, I traveled a lot. Sometimes between cities, other times just with the tram or bus from one client to another.
Once I implemented GTD in my job and business, I always knew exactly what things could be done when I am waiting for the tram or travel in the train.
I organized my system so that I saw what I can do depending on the context I am in.
So, if I only had my iPhone at hand in the tram or bus, I could only do certain things. I was not able to buy new shoes, replace the light bulb at home or have a meeting with a colleague.
What I was able to do was make phone calls that were not highly sensitive, process emails, brainstorm things and outline topics and details or projects I want to tackle.
These windows were sometimes only 10 minutes, sometimes 40 minutes and the amount of things I was able to do was amazing.
4. Listen to Audiobooks & Podcasts Instead of Music & News
There are plenty of occasions you can listen to a podcast for inspiration or to learn something from an audiobook. For example, I went to the gym three times per week for 1.5 hours and listened to podcasts and audiobooks while working out.
I chose them because they were entertaining and inspirational instead of in a “how to” format. I needed energy while working out and that’s what I got from listening to them.
5. Implement Systems & Automate
I am a big fan of systems and automation because it makes life so much easier. However, I also put a lot of effort on being human. Many things in my business are somewhere between full automation and the manual human work.
For example, my blog posts are shared automatically in LinkedIn groups through a software called LinksAlpha. However, I put a lot of effort into creating a discussion title and message that is highly relevant to all the groups I share it with and that people can engage with me in the discussion without having to go to my blog post.
I get automated reminders about who I should contact, see the history of what we last discussed and can introduce people to each other with two clicks.
However, I never send a template message just the way it is to multiple people, I always make them personal. Contactually automatically picks the first name of the person and my signature so I don’t manually have to do that.
One more example is the intake process of new clients. When somebody decides to work with me and he is an ideal client, I send him a link where he can register to get access to all my training and coaching material, go through the payment process and receive instructions what do to until our first session by email.
All of this is completely automated and it probably saves me 30 minutes per new client.
Use whatever software and system you can use to automate and systematize but never for automate your humanity.
6. Outsource As Early As Possible
In the beginning, when I started my business, I did everything by myself and tried to automate as much as possible. However, there are things you simply can’t automate or may not want to automate because you rather have a human do it.
I realized very early that I won’t be able to do all the administrative stuff by myself and especially that it hinders my potential to do more of the work that actually makes money.
So I decided to outsource a few things through oDesk and I am so grateful that I did. In the beginning, I was very paranoid and scared that things would not be done as well as if I would do them and I was right. It took some time for me to accept that somebody new to the business needs to learn how I do things first.
Very fast, I was able to delegate more sensitive tasks and now things from managing new posts in my LinkedIn group to scheduling calls with potential clients to cleaning up my email inbox from notifications I don’t have to see is outsourced.
It probably saves me 5-10 hours of work per week that I can spend on writing blog posts, meeting people at events, talking to potential partners & clients, spending time with friends & family and of course, coaching & mentoring my clients.
7. Use Parkinson’s Law
The definition of Parkinson’s Law is “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
I apply this whenever I can.
For example, I have written my eBook, Career Excellence Through Relationships in approx. 3 weeks. I first thought about it for a while, brainstormed, outlined and realized that it will take me months to do it if I kept going like this.
So I made a commitment. I sent out an email to all my email subscribers that the eBook will be published in 3 weeks. Now, there was no way I was not going to publish it then. I worked day and night to fulfill my public deadline and it worked perfectly.
Another example is the group coaching program that I ran in 2013. In March last year, I realized that this is something I have to implement and want to do. It was a huge project with over 6 hours of video material.
Instead of creating the course over several months, I brainstormed everything that needed to go into it, created an outline and based on that, published my sales page.
I sent an email to all my email subscribers that I will be launching the program in 5 weeks with a link to the sales page. 6 people singed up immediately and issued the payment. Now, there was no way I was not going to have it done in 5 weeks.
I worked crazy hours for the next 4.5 weeks to make it the best program I possibly could.
If you publicly commit to a deadline and hold yourself accountable for it, you will make it, no matter what.
What tools do you use to be as productive as possible? Share it with the community in the comments below.
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