As a travel business owner, you wear many hats. You are a travel planner and must service your clients. You are a book keeper. You are marketing manager. You are the networker. And you probably have some hats in your personal life too – parent, spouse, volunteer, etc. So how does one get it all done?
Before I adopted a productivity discipline, my day would be in the hands of my clients. I was in reactionary mode. But when I committed to marketing regularly, I had no choice but to figure out how to fit it all in. The coolest part about this was that I went from a constant state of reaction mode, to a constant state of response mode and for the first time in my life, felt in control of my day and my business. Here are 3 of the most practical and powerful productivity tips I use each day, in order to fit it all in.
1. Chunking the Calendar
One of the most common things most people do first thing in the morning is also the worst thing they do for productivity. What is it? Checking e-mail. If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: Don’t check your e-mail first thing when you start work. When you do, your day revolves around other people’s needs and your business takes a back seat. Instead, begin the practice of chunking your calendar. Put appointments for everything in your calendar, including appointments to work on marketing each day. Give yourself enough time to get really engaged in your marketing projects too. Turn everything else off during these appointments, like the phone and the email. If your clients leave a voicemail, you will still get back to them within an hour or two. You can also put appointments for checking your email, answering the phone and returning voicemails.
Establishing a solid marketing foundation takes a lot. When we first began implementing all the marketing pieces, we felt so overwhelmed. It seemed like we would never get it all in place. We were also confused. We didn’t know what to do first. The productivity tool that made the biggest difference for us was the mindmap.
To start, write down all the projects you want to complete. Put them all on one piece of paper. Then, simply decide which one you will focus on first. The best way to decide what to work on first is to ask yourself which project will bring about the most amount of clients in the least amount of time with the least amount of effort? In other words, which project is going to bring about the lowest hanging fruit? Put a star next to that project and focus on it until completion. Don’t let yourself get distracted by any other project. Just focus on that one single project until it is done. So, for example, you might have the following projects on your mindmap:
- Starting a weekly e-zine
- Get on Facebook
- Speaking engagements
- Create an Irresistible Free Offer
- Start a Blog
I would tell you to star the weekly e-zine project because it will bring about the most amount of clients in the least amount of time with the least amount of effort. So you could star that project and work on it until completion. Once it’s done, move on to another project.
3. 1-day productivity planner
This is such a great tool for starting your day and getting SO much more accomplished. The 1-day productivity planner is a 1-page document that you print out and fill out first thing in the morning. It has 3 sections.
Projects – List out the 3 projects you are currently working on. For each project, write down the 5 things you must do to move the project forward. These are not necessarily things you must do TODAY. Rather, these are the 5 things that must happen to move the project forward whether they happen today, tomorrow, in a week or in a month.
People – In this section, you will create two lists. First, list the people you have to reach out to today, no matter what. Then, also list the people from whom you need something to move your project forward.
Priorities – This is your “to-do” list for the day. Here, write down the main things you must complete today, no matter what.
The best way to use your 1-day productivity planner is to start from the bottom and move up. In other words, start with section C and get those things done. Then move up to section B. You should not open your email account before getting to section B. And when you finally open your email account, rather than look through all the new emails, initiate e-mails to those people you must reach out to. Then, when you finally look through your emails, simply look for those people you are waiting on. If you don’t have an email from them, reach out to them again. Sometimes, it’s OK to be a hound. Finally, move up to Section A and get working on your projects.
You can easily combine all 3 of these productivity tools to get you focused, taking action and in charge of your day. Remember, when you organize your day based upon your inbox, you are really organizing your day according to other people’s agendas. You can still provide an excellent service for your clients, return their calls, and return their emails when you chunk your calendar and put your marketing on top.
Open your calendar and begin chunking your time. Schedule several hours each day to work on marketing projects. Schedule several hours each day to check your emails and return phone calls. Put together your mind map and hang it on a wall in your office, where you can see it daily. Last, but not least, create your own 1-day productivity planner and make it a habit to complete this first thing in the morning. When you start putting in place these productivity secrets, you will be amazed at how much more you are accomplishing!