Greater Than Business Podcast – Episode 026
This is episode 26 of the Greater Than Business Podcast. And today we are going to be talking about my tips for getting rid of the day today. Clutter in your business. So what I mean by day to day clutter is basically all of the noise that happens around you and to you during a regular day. All of those things that can derail your productivity and basically take you from having a super good and productive day to having a huge hot mass disastrous day. So usually the way how I structure my day is that I try to have very productive times during the day where I will make sure that nothing and nobody is able to bother me no matter what. So obviously there are going to be situations where say something happens to one of my children and I definitely need to get ahold of or be someone needs to be able to get ahold of me.
I have ways where they, those types of situations can bypass these rules that I have set up. But other than that, if there is not a huge emergency, I don't want to be bothered. During my day because even though I work from home, I am still working. And that is the biggest thing that I need to stress here is when you work from home, you have to be diligent and make sure that you are working and only you can hold yourself accountable for your work getting done. And the easiest person to disappoint in your business is yourself because you will always make excuses that will benefit the lazy side of you. And you need to get out of those patterns. And remember that just because you have your own business and you are your own boss, doesn't mean that you also need to be your own boss.
So that is a big, huge takeaway I want to deliver to you right away. Before I get into these five tips that I want to talk about, but you are your own boss. And if you need to be motivated by someone that is a hard ass that tells you exactly what to do, then you need to be that person. You need to hold yourself accountable and you need to be tough on yourself so you can't make excuses. And you can't just easily disappoint yourself because you know that you're going to do it. Everyone always makes excuses. That is why procrastination is such a big, huge thing is people will always put things off to the last minute and go, Oh, I'll do that tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and you never do it. And if you were in an actual job and you had an actual boss breathing down your neck trying to get you to do these tasks, you would do them.
So you need to be that person for yourself. It's really hard at first, but eventually you basically just need to have no excuses, no bullshit. Get your shit done. This is how you do it. And that needs to be the end of the story there. So now I'm going to get into the five tips that I have to basically kind of block out that day to day clutter and allow yourself to truly focus on whatever the task is at hand that you are working on during the day. So first off, I want you to limit your access or limit the access that other people have to you during your productive hours. So your productive hours don't necessarily need to be your work hours, but you need to have a couple of hours in the middle of your day, beginning of your day, end of your day, that is strictly your productive hours. That is where you need to get the bulk of your work done.
That is where it's basically the no excuse zone. That is when you have to complete whatever it is that's on your agenda that day. But if it has to get done and it's on your agenda, that is when you do it. And the reason why you need to limit access to yourself during that time is because if you see something pop up or someone knocks at the door or a family member happens to be home and they knock on your office door and they need help with, I don't know, finding something, you need to tell them that story. Right now I'm working and as soon as I'm done, I will be there for you. But you need to almost set that up in a way that it, it's a known fact at the beginning before it even starts that between the hours of 11 and 2, you are not to be disturbed or whatever time it is that you want, but you need to set that expectation with people around you.
So your team, your family, yourself, you basically need to make it very, very clear that during your productive hours, that is when you are productive and that people can't access you. So if that means turning your phone off, turning your notifications off, shutting off all other devices or doing whatever you need to do to limit access to yourself, that is what you need to do. And the reason why this is so important is that it allows you to actually buckle down and focus and not look for the first squirrel that's going to distract you. Because I can guarantee it if you're sitting down and doing a task that you know has to get done but it's not a fun task, then you are going to be looking for the first excuse to put it off. And if that happens to be a Facebook notification that pops up and says someone's going live, do you really think that that is detrimental to watch?
Probably not, but are you going to do it? If you want to avoid doing a task that is going to push your business forward, but it's not necessarily something that you love doing, then yeah, you're going to click on that link. You're going to go and spend 45 minutes watching this live stream that is not important to you at all and then by the time you come back, you're going to feel even less motivated and you won't want to get it done. So all I can stress here is limit access to yourself and if that means you need to take control of your notifications and basically mute everything around you, then that is what you need to do. And I can 100% guarantee that you will be way more productive during that time and nothing is going to go wrong. If you miss notifications, you can always go back afterward.
You can always follow up later and nothing is that urgent that needs to pull you away from the productive time and the productive tasks that you are trying to complete for your business to push your business forward. Okay, so that is tip number one, limit access to you during your productive hours. So tip number two is only check your email at the start and end of the day. If you get into this habit, you will be so thankful and grateful for this tip because what it does is it allows you to really focus on what matters. And honestly, if someone's sending you an email, it's not urgent unless of course, you tell them that that is the best way to reach you if there's an emergency. But generally, if people send you an email, it is just kind of a, I think you should know this or this is something for tomorrow or down the pipeline or whatever, but it's not going to be something urgent.
Obviously you can still have your notifications set up. And I think that there's a way that you can set up a filter so that if you do have something urgent come through, um, you can always communicate with your team and whoever that if they need to get ahold of you urgently, then put urgent in the subject line. And then if that happens, there are ways that you can filter it so that it alerts you. Um, I have this setup, I'm just not too sure about, um, your email providers specifically, but take a look at it and see if there's a way to do it. And then you can basically flag any email that has urgent in it. And then there's a way that you can also then have any emails that are flagged pop up as your notifications on your desktop or send through, um, like a ping on your phone.
So the reason why I say to only check your email at the start and the end of your day is because anything that comes through during your day shouldn't be a task that you need to drop everything and do it. Should be tasks that can wait, that you can finish up what you're doing before you tackle those tasks. So by checking your email at the start of the day, you can go through file away things that you need to do right now, prioritize what can be done later in your day or your week or whatever. And basically you can get a good fresh start to the day and it's going to be all of the emails that come through at basically from the end of your previous Workday until the beginning of your next Workday. So there shouldn't be too many emails but enough that you can just kind of easily, quickly weed through them, respond to the ones that need to be responded to.
Get some clarification on a couple of things, file away the ones that are junk mail and also make sure that you take action on the ones that need immediate action. And then you can also set up alerts to um, re-send the emails back to you. If it's something that like someone wants to flag you for something coming up next week, then you can actually bounce that email so that it will come back to you when it's actually relevant. So they've sent it, whoever it is, because it's top of their mind at that moment, but you don't necessarily need to take action on that email at this moment. It will be something that you can take action on later. So you can just basically remind yourself or put it in an inbox or leave it at the bottom of your inbox. Basically knowing that you're going to deal with this when the time comes.
So by checking it at the start of the day, you get a good crisp, clean start to your day so that for the rest of your day, you don't need to think about your emails, you know you've tackled everything that's important. You know that you can continue with ease throughout the rest of your day and not have to worry about missing something in your email inbox. Then at the end of your workday, you can go in and check and make sure that if people have followed up with you from the morning or if people have sent you additional things, you can go through and basically do the exact same thing, but you only have to do it two times a day at the start and the end. And by doing that, that frees up that productive time that I was talking about in step one or tip point. And basically what that's going to allow you to do is be super, super productive during those productive hours.
And then you'll also feel accomplished because by the end of the day, you know that you're going to be starting fresh the next day. You can go through sort everything out, figure it all out, and you don't have to be bombarded with notifications throughout your day because nothing is worse than sitting down trying to complete a task and like really, really getting into the zone. And then you get an email that pulls your focus away from that task for even just a second. That can be enough to derail all of your creativity. All of your productivity. And sometimes let's be honest, emails can just be a downer. Sometimes you just don't get good emails in your inbox. And if you get something that's like not necessarily the greatest news that can take you out of that amazing headspace you're in when you're being productive and that's not a good spot to be.
So trust me, if you can implement this step of only checking your email two times a day, you will love it. So as I said at the beginning of the day, check off everything that you need to do in your inbox and then don't touch it for the rest of the day. I will actually go so far as shutting it down on my computer and on my phone, I already have it set up so that my phone only vibrates when I get an email. It does not show me the little preview. So I can't actually see the email unless I open up my inbox. And there's a thing I work off of an iPhone. So I have the ability to limit apps for a certain amount of time on my iPhone. So what I've done is I have set it up so that my email inboxes have a very limited daily time limit on them on my phone.
So if I do feel like I need to go check something and I have this reminder that will basically pop up and say, are you sure you want to avoid your time limit? And then I will, I can either click ignore or I can click, um, I dunno cancel or something. But basically, with that I have like a secondary reminder of do I really want to break this rule right now? Sometimes I will go in and just check and make sure that it wasn't something urgent that I was waiting on. But the majority of the time when I feel my phone vibrate, I just kind of tone it out now because I know vibrate means email and email is not something I want to deal with at this current moment. So it's, it's a really good thing once you get in the habit of it. And then obviously at the end of your day before you leave and shut down your computer, leave your office, do whatever it is that you do to shut down at the end of the day, you can go through and make sure that your emails are all tie-dyed up, all looked after, and then you know that the next day you're going to be starting fresh.
And then this also allows you to keep on top of your emails, which is a huge, huge thing for productivity as well because if you don't get caught up on your emails and stay on top of it, you are going to drown in your emails. And another thing that I just kind of want to add in here, it's kind of, I don't know, tip to be, I guess we'll say is that if you are getting emails from services or clients or basically things that don't necessarily serve you anymore, then unsubscribe or subscribe to them through a different email address. But your business email should be your business email. And unless you want to be notified about these things from whatever services or clients or friends, colleagues, whatever else it is online, if you don't want to be bothered with them during the day, then just unsubscribe.
It is the best thing that you can do for yourself and also for there for them as well. Because if you are not reading their emails, not engaging with their emails, you don't care what they're sending you, then unsubscribing is the best thing that you can do. And by all means, it's going to then free up a lot of time in your business and a lot of stress because you won't have to sort through those emails anymore. So that was tip number two. Um, basically only check your email at the start and end of each day. So tip number three is mute notifications for all unimportant things. So that is anything and everything that you do not need notifications for, turn them off. So if you have notifications on your phone for, I don't know, some sort of a game that your child downloaded that will send you notifications saying that it's time to rebuy your coins or who knows what else it could be.
But those types of notifications you need to shut off. And there are simple ways in your phone on your tablets to go in and control your notification settings. It's simple. All you have to do, sit down, give yourself maybe an hour and go through every single app on your phone and adjust the notifications so nobody can get ahold of you during your workday and make sure that all those little clutter notifications that I was referring to before are turned off. So for me, the only notifications that I get during the day are if my husband texts me, then obviously I want to know that he's trying to get in contact with me, but he knows when I will respond. So I may get a buzz on my phone and there's a little noise that it will make so that I know it's a text message coming from him.
And that is pretty much the only notification that I get during my work hours. I do have emails, as I said before, that will vibrate, but I do not look at them. And then any other thing on my phone. Um, I just basically don't pay attention to it. Obviously, phone calls are a weird one, but I usually will put my phone in do not disturb or I will, um, I usually have it on silent or vibrate as it is anyways. So if I do get a random phone call, usually nine times out of 10 in the middle of the day, it's not important, but it always comes an important time. So when I'm sitting down to record a podcast, then all of a sudden my dentists will decide to call and let me know that I'm due for a cleaning or I will get a telemarketer calling me and trying to offer me something.
So those type of phone calls are usually the ones I get in the middle of the day and they are not important, not important enough for me to stop what I'm doing. That is productive, that is pushing my business forward. So those types of notifications you need to get rid of. You need to make sure that you're basically kind of going back to the good old days when you weren't just a phone call away from people 24 seven you need to go back to, I will make a conscious effort to talk to people if I need to talk to them. It's not going to be something where you are just at everyone's back in call because that's not a way that you can run your business and you need to make sure that boundaries are set up in place for your team, your family, friends, everybody. And they know that during the hours of blank to blank, that is when you work and specifically during the hours of blank and blank, which are usually in the middle of your day or the beginning or the end or whatever you decide those hours, you are absolutely not accessible unless it is a dire emergency.
And those are things that you'll have to communicate what is an emergency and what is not an emergency. So that was tip number three. Basically mute notifications for all unimportant things and do that also across all of your devices. So your computer, your tablets, your phone, um, even if you have alerts in your house, like if you have a Google Home or an Alexa or whatever, those are things that you need to make sure you are muting during those hours. So just a little bit of a side note there. So tip number four is focus on your big three during your productive hours. So the first few tips were all about basically kind of drowning out that clutter, making sure that you're focusing on what it is that you're doing. This tip is basically focusing specifically on the three big tasks. So for me, I use a planner called the full focus planner.
Actually I use a couple of planners, let's be honest here. So for my goal setting, I use something called the full focus planner and that is made by Michael Hyatt. I think it's actually the height company now or something like that. I think they changed. But anyway, I will link to that in the show notes so you can take a peek at it. It is basically a goal planner where it allows you to simply streamline your goal setting and it allows you to not only track your day to day things that come up. So it is like a normal planner, but it also helps you be more productive and actually accomplish things that you want to accomplish within your business. So the way that you do that is by working on your big three and your big three are the three most important non-negotiable tasks that you need to get done in a day for it to be considered a success.
So that's not how he words it. That's how I'm wording it. But basically that's how I treat those big three. If I don't do those big threes, then I did not have a good day. And if I did not have a good day, then you better believe that I'm either working late to get those big three done or I'm waking up the next morning to get those big three done or I'm going to have a crazy busy next day making sure that I get the three done that I missed as well as the next three. So there's always three big tasks that you need to get done in a day, and they don't necessarily have to be big. I shouldn't have worded it that way, but they are important tasks and they're things that are always pushing you forward in your business. So it might be something little, it might be something big.
It might take you five minutes, it could take you five hours. But when you're setting up your tasks in a day, you always need to be conscious of making sure that your big three tasks are something that you can easily do, um, within your productive hours. And something that you, that is pushing your business forward. And if you can focus during your productive hours without all the clutter on those big three tasks, then you are going to grow your business in ways that you could have never imagined. So it's super, super important that you focus on your big three when you are sitting down and doing your productive hours. And that is a huge thing that I want to get across in this episode is that if you are constantly taking steps towards bettering your business and shutting out all of that stupid clutter that you just don't need in your day to day life, then that will truly push you forward.
So if you're stuck in a rut, if you are struggling with knowing what to do on a day to day basis, just start small. Start with three tasks that you know, if you get this done, you will feel better, you will feel more complete, your business will be taking tiny steps forward. But if you can just basically do three tasks each day that push your business to a new place, then that's all you need to do. And finally step, not really step number five, but tip number five is step away from your devices. Basically what I mean by that is if you are feeling overwhelmed with the clutter, you're feeling like there are too many people pulling and pushing you in various directions. If you are in a launch and things are just kind of coming down all around you or you just feel like they are then step away from your devices.
If people cannot reach you, then they cannot bother you and that is essentially kind of the model that I've been living by for the last couple of weeks and months I guess I would say, but if someone really needs to get ahold of you and it's super, super urgent, they will find a way of contacting you. But if they don't go to that level to try and find you, then it's obviously not that important so you can step away from your devices. If you're feeling overwhelmed, you can take a break. Just if you feel like you need to take a break because of the clutter and all of those, that noise, the digital noise that can happen in a day to day setting, if you don't allow yourself to step away from it, it can consume you. So if you get to that point where you just need a break, then take one.
But you can't take a break and get away from the pinging of your devices if you bring your devices with you. So take a walk without your cell phone or turn it on. Do not disturb and take a walk. Do not under any circumstance. Take it off of do not disturb when you were on your walk, but make sure that you allow time and space for yourself to kind of decompress. Get over that hump of whatever you were facing, whatever made you feel overwhelmed and allow yourself that time to reach the center, come back and feel better about the situation. But the only way that you can do that is to step away from your devices and allow yourself that time and space to do so. And if you need to do that every day, as I was mentioning before, during your productive hours, then do it. Obviously you nine times out of 10 if you were doing something productive, you may need your computer in front of you.
So obviously you can't really step away from that device. But if you take your phone and just kind of place it in another room, take your tablets, iPads, whatever it is that you have as well, put them in a different location and basically allow yourself to really focus and focus on what's important to you. Then you will be so thankful and so productive and you will push yourself into the right space. So those are all of the tips that I wanted to cover today. Basically, kind of going through everything that you can do to take control of the digital clutter and day to day clutter that happens in your business. And how just by simply turning off notifications, setting up stricter boundaries and not allowing yourself to be bothered by these notifications, then that will really help you to actually get stuff done in your business without feeling the need to switch from task to task in the middle of doing things.
Because if you start doing that, then basically all you're going to have is hundreds of half-completed projects and nobody can run a business with half-completed projects. So start one project, finish it to the end, push through, do whatever you need to do to get it done and don't stop working on it until it is completed and then start the next project and basically rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, and you will be successful. So those are the five I wanted to cover. I'm just going to quickly run through them again. So number one is limit access to yourself during productive hours. Number two is only to check your email at the start and end of your day. Number three is mute all notifications for unimportant things. Number four is focus on your big three and number five is step away from your devices. If you are feeling overwhelmed, so those are my tips.
Once again, if you have any questions at all, I am always just an email away. The email address that you can reach me at is firstname.lastname@example.org and I am going to have a nice little goody for you at the bottom of the show notes page. If you want to hop over there and take a peek at that, the show notes can be found GreaterThanBusiness.com/026 so I can't wait to talk to you guys again next week. Next week I am going to be talking about business motivation, so you won't want to miss that episode. It is going to have a lot of juicy little tidbits in it for you, so I can't wait to talk to you then. Hope you're having a fantastic week and I will see you soon.
Greater Than Business Podcast – Episode 026