How entrepreneurs can reach peak productivity and take more time off

By February 13, 2020 No Comments

  • Most people in business are either an employee, self employed, a business owner, or an investor. The difference among them boils down to whether you’re working for your money, or your money is working for you.
  • Productivity expert and bestselling author Michael Hyatt told the hosts of the Bigger Pockets podcast how shifting to the owner/investor side is the key to boosting your business’ productivity and profits.
  • Hyatt said he took 162 days off last year, but that didn’t slow down his leadership and productivity consultancy business, which is among the fastest-growing private companies in America.
  • Business Insider dug into the episode to share these four key insights that entrepreneurs and small business owners can start working on right now to become more productive and discover more free time.
  • Visit BI Prime for more stories.

Michael Hyatt is an author, speaker, mentor, and podcast host, but somehow he took 162 days off last year.

“I didn’t work, I didn’t check in on work, I didn’t have any connection with work… it was time off,” he said in a recent episode of the BiggerPockets podcast. “And I’ve done that actually every year for the last several years.”

Even with taking half the year off, Hyatt’s leadership and productivity consultancy business grew sales 62% in 2019, and has more than doubled in the last three years, earning it recognition on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

In business, people fall into one of four categories, according to Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant: employees, self-employed, business owners, or investors. Chances are that you — like most people — are on the employee side of the spectrum, even if you have your own business, and Hyatt understands the challenge.

He’s coached more than 600 entrepreneurs, and he explained how shifting toward an ownership mentality toward your business (rather than compulsive micromanagment) the is the key to boosting your business’ productivity and profits.

“You don’t need to do everything, you just need to do the right things,” he said.

Here are four of the “right things” Hyatt said entrepreneurs and small business owners should start working on right now to become more productive and gain more free time. 

Differentiate between goals and projects

Hyatt’s first distinction is the difference between goals and projects.

“Every goal is a project, but not every project is a goal,” he said. “A goal by definition is something that you’re trying to achieve that’s outside the whirlwind of business as usual.”

Goals are an opportunity to try something new and ambitious to move your business in the direction you want it to ultimately go, but Hyatt cautions that while goals may be exciting, there is such a thing as too many.

“People should not attempt more than seven to 10 goals per year, and no more than two to three per quarter,” he said. “That kind of focus accelerates also your movement towards achieving the goal.

Remember: ‘No’ is a complete sentence

Given the limit on the number of goals you can achieve, it’s important to remember Oprah’s advice: “No” is a complete sentence.

“One of the things that will cut our legs out from under us is if we’re spread too thin,” Hyatt said. “I’m not talking about putting all of your eggs in one basket, but I am talking about restricting the number of baskets that you’re putting eggs into.”

This approach has enabled Hyatt to focus on the things he enjoys most about his work, instead of those things he loathes.

“I’m working about 95% of my desires on again, where I have passion and where I have proficiency,” he said. “If it’s something else that’s out of my lane, and I give it to somebody else to do which gives me enormous job satisfaction.”

Delegate work and document processes

Handing things over to others is the cornerstone of Hyatt’s productivity process, and there are important steps to take to ensure that delegation is effective.

For any major assignment, Hyatt said he takes about 15 to 20 minutes to write down a clear set of objectives and expectations about what needs doing, how much it can cost, and when it needs to be done by.

“I don’t micromanage how they get it done,” he said. “If I’ve given them budget parameters and a clear outcome, I don’t care how they get it done. All I care about is the end result.”

Even though Hyatt is focused on results, he still asks that tasks and processes are well documented so that if someone else needs to pick up the task, they don’t have to waste time piecing it together.

Reserve time for big thinking and fun hobbies

The last piece is more light hearted, but critically important nevertheless.

“The more successful you become, the more time you have to allocate to thinking, so your job becomes more about thinking than doing,” Hyatt said.

“The thing that’ll take you to the next level is a thinking breakthrough,” he continued. “It’s not just brute force of doing more, it’s got to be in the thought process.”

In a similar vein, Hyatt places a high premium on having fun. For him, that means practicing the Native American flute, and going fly fishing.

“Hobbies are a high priority for me,” he said. “When you engage in play, it activates a part of your brain that’s essential for greater creativity and greater productivity.”

Taking 162 days is a lot of time for music, fishing, and a lot more, too. Plus, it’s good for your business.

“I really pursue hobbies as a way of making sure that I’m bringing my best self to work,” he said.

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