Time Bandit – 5 Steps to Increasing Bandwidth
There are blogs about time management. Increasing efficiencies. And creating a life / work balance. But I couldn’t find that many posts about “bandwidth”. I often have people tell me I have incredible bandwidth; and I always attributed that to one of two things: Either 1) Much of the work I was doing I had done previously and thus could work more quickly than a newcomer. 2) Maybe I was just “quicker” than the average Joe. Turns out, I was wrong. It was neither of these things.
This post explains how to make the most of your time; more importantly – increase your bandwidth while maintaning or bettering the quality of your work.
1. Get rid of your preconceived notions of separating ‘work’ and ‘personal life’. Whether we choose to admit it or not, every year this line becomes more blurred. With the advent and expectations that come with Blackberry’s, remote log ins, and other communication tools, people work 70% more now than they did 20 years ago. Instead of becoming annoyed and frustrated with the onslaught of technological communication tools, I found a way to use them in a way that makes me more productive. And we all know that “responding to emails immediately” rarely increases production, so this is not what I’m referring to.
2. Know when and how you produce. I’m an entrepreneur first, marketer second, and sales person 3rd. In any of these roles, three traits have set me apart; being ambitious enough to create strategically and then execute on tactics at near real time. That is “how” I produce. When do I produce? all day everyday. My least productive time in coming up with strategic ideas or plans is AT work; but I don’t have an exact time. Entrepreneurs gain business ideas and / or insights from anyone or anything. For me, an idea is usually sparked mid-conversation or while watching TV. I don’t know “why” this is, but would presume it’s because I’m an extrovert and clearly derive my motivations from other people.
3. Commit to being productive. Now that you’ve gotten rid of your preconceived notions and found out when you’re most productive, embrace the moment when a thought or idea comes to you. Don’t ignore it. Don’t say, “I’ll write it down later”. Commit to yourself that you will take advantage of your ideas and execute.
4. BE productive. Utilize the new technology. When you have an idea – type it out. Email it to yourself. Download an app like evernote. Record your thoughts an your phone. Whatever the communication medium is, use it. For me, I email myself all ideas I have. No matter how good or bad they are at the time. What may sound like a bad idea at one time may be the seed of a great idea or future business. Communicate it to yourself at the time, for later on you can build around it. For me, I have bursts of creativity, sometimes I even map out “task lists” in my head. What I do now is email them to myself. When I get to my computer, a task list, an idea, a marketing plan – whatever it is – it’s THERE. I copy and paste it into a doc, review / edit it, and the ‘hard part’ is done. I take on twice as many clients as other people I know because I commit to myself I will be productive when my brain is producing. I never put my creativity on hold.
5. Practice and embrace your productivity. When you’re in the car or at dinner, yes – this may be when you have a burst of creativity. Don’t get annoyed it’s “not the right time”. Get EXCITED. If you’re in the car, pull over. If you’re at dinner, excuse yourself and run to the restroom. The first few times, it may take you a while to get your thoughts communicated to yourself at a later time but as you do this more and more, you’ll find you’re able to send yourself an idea as well as corresponding execution plans in just 2 minutes. The faster your brain works, the more you’ll get onto paper.