Productive Ant


This month we’re going a series on The Power of Small.  If you haven’t seen the first video, I highly suggest going back and checking it out.  It explains the why behind this “The Power of Small” series and sets up this series about 3 Small Changes that Make Big Impacts on You and Your Biz.  You can always come back to this post afterward.

This week we’re talking about small changes to productivity that can make a big difference to your productivity.

When you’re an entrepreneur, you have no choice but to make stuff happen.  When you’re a mission-driven entrepreneur, the people you are trying to help are depending on you to make stuff happen.  How do you make sure you’re making the right stuff happen?  How do you avoid the stress of so much being on your shoulders?

If you’re asking those kinds of questions, you’re in the right place.  That’s what this blog post is all about.

Now, before I jump into today’s tips, I have to say 1 important thing.  When looking at this list, don’t let yourself say “I know this.”  Sure, productivity is a thing most people know the basics of and think they are better than average at doing.  Let’s face it, you probably are better than average.  Yet I would venture to say, chances are you haven’t FULLY implemented the basic knowledge of productivity in your life and business.  Productivity is one of those things that can ALWAYS improve.  No matter who you are or what you do.  So, instead of saying, “I know this” ask yourself, “How could this apply to me?”

I’m going to share 5 small changes you can start right away.  As you listen to this list, ask yourself, “How could this apply to me?”  You might want to view the transcript of this video on our blog so that you can read back the tips and think more deeply about them.  If you’d like to do so, visit

Okay, without further adieu, here are the 5 small changes that might just 10x Your Productivity.

Make sure you’re doing the right things. 

Sure you can make stuff happen but if those aren’t the right things, you’re just spinning your wheels rather than moving things forward.  To make sure you’re doing the right things, start from your goal.  Begin with the end in mind.  Do the tasks that get you to your goal.  Say “yes” to your goals and “no” or “maybe later” to everything else.  This requires some confidence and discipline but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Questions to ponder: What do you need to do to reach your goals?  Are those things happening?  Why or why not?  What are you doing that doesn’t help you reach your goals?  What would it look like to say “no” to those things?

Be careful about what order you do things in. 

I experienced a HUGE gain in productivity when I shifted the right things that get me to my goal (see #1 above) to first thing in the morning.  I get the tasks that help me reach my goal completed by 9am most days.  Because I’m focusing on the things that get me closer to my goal and I’m doing them first thing in the morning, I’m already more productive by 9am than 90% of entrepreneurs are in their whole days.  How about you?  What do you do first thing in the morning?  If you’re running around putting out fires or responding to emails, you’re on “Other People’s Agendas” (OPAs) instead of your own.  To put your own agenda before OPA, might feel selfish.  It’s not.  It’s an essential element of self-care.  You know that when you care for yourself, there’s more to give to others.  Putting your agenda first requires an extra dose of confidence but once you do it for a week it becomes a lot easier.

Questions to ponder: What could you accomplish before 9am if you put your agenda first thing in the morning?  Why does this look like self-care for you?

Break down your tasks into single actions that take 15 minutes or less to complete.

Your to-do list should be made up of items that feel easy to complete and you could complete them in 15 minutes or less.  For example, “Update menu” is a project not a to-do.  It’s way too overwhelming which makes it hard to get started. Instead, have items like: “Pull sales numbers for current menu for past year.” “Sort sales numbers from best selling to worst selling items.”  “Remove the bottom 20% of worst selling items.”  “Make a list of reasons why best selling items are best selling.”  “Creatively come up with a list of new items to try.”  “Order the materials you need to try out those items.”  “Make the new items.”  Etc.  You see what I did there?  I broke the project down into tasks that can be completed in 15 minutes or less.

Questions to ponder: What’s the most important project you’re having a hard time getting going?  Spend 5 minutes breaking down that project into smaller actions.  Then, spend 15 minutes or less accomplishing 1 of those smaller tasks.  Does the project feel easier to complete now that you’ve started it?

Phrase your tasks positively and as if you’ve already done them.

Semantics matter. “Run payroll” is a lot less motivating than “Employees are paid in full and on time.”  Plus you’re an entrepreneur so chances are you don’t want to feel like your to-do list is telling you what to do like in the “Run payroll” example.  Don’t let your to-do list become your boss.  You are in control.  You are the boss of your to-do list.  Phrase your to-do list as a done list or crushed list.

Questions to ponder: What task do you most dread doing but must get done?  How is it currently phrased on your to-do list?  How can you rephrase it as if it’s already done?  Next time you add something to your to-do list phrase it as if you’ve already done it.

Look through your list and see what you can delegate or ask for help with. 

You don’t have to do everything yourself.  Say this to yourself, “I don’t have to do everything myself.”  Maybe repeat that a few times in the mirror.  Now, look through your to-do list with the lens of “What can I delegate or ask for help with?”


One caveat

All the hacks and tips in the world are no substitute for having a productivity system.  Good news, we can help you with that.  Here are 2 options:

If you’re in Chicago, you’re invited to a much more robust, in-person workshop related to productivity!  Details will be released next week.  To make sure you get an invitation, use this form included in the transcript or send us a quick email to amanda [at] overflowyourpossibility [dot] com.

If you’re NOT in Chicago or you don’t want to wait until the in-person workshop, check out our Ultimate Guide to Entrepreneurial Productivity at

One more thing

We’ll be on Facebook Live with a Live Q&A on this topic of productivity on Thursday at 8pm Central on our Facebook page (  Join us.  Submit your questions in advance by commenting on this video or on our blog page below the transcript.