It is important to decide on your own “game plan” (and actually stick to it!) if you want to realise your own personal ambitions.

Remember, you should think of your business as a means to get where you want to be or be who you want to be, and not as a form of existence itself. It’s a tool, not a complete and whole representation of you as an empowered, multi-talented individual. You are not your business and so, in order to live a happy and fulfilled life, you should have your own personal ambitions to strive for outside of the confines of the office.

Working towards your own goals first involves setting priorities. This process will help you to not only achieve your goals, but also work towards them in a realistic, sensible and considered manner. Make a list and order it in terms of its importance (this is not the same as “urgency”!) Start with the foundations of your plan, then ensure you fully complete each task before moving on to another. This will stop you from having to come back and finish parts of a task, decreasing your efficiency and slowing you down.

Just as learning to prioritise is an essential skill in learning to manage yourself effectively, so is learning how to manage your time. This is not a difficult skill to master, but does require a level of self-discipline and realism if you are going to succeed. Set aside a certain amount of time to complete each task, breaking it down into several smaller chunks (of up to 90 minutes) if the task is rather time-consuming. Don’t try to tackle your to-do list without setting aside enough time to complete each individual task, as otherwise you will simply run out of time, become increasingly frustrated and finish the week with a number of half-baked projects and ideas.

Next, try to identify the “time vampires” that you know waste your time and distract you from completing your to-do list. This could be spending too much time on social media, posting replies on forums or getting stuck in your email inbox replying to countless messages – you are probably spending time on a number of things that (in most part) are simply draining your time, without much of a positive return or impact on your business. Your time is your most valuable asset so it should be treated as such. Eliminate your “time vampires” (or delegate them to your Virtual Assistant) so that you can focus on your most important projects.

We have found that one of the most effective ways to increase our productivity is to make the effort to maintain a positive mindset. The easiest way to do this is to surround yourself with positive people – being surrounded by negativity is not productive as you will spend a lot of your time and energy thinking and discussing (moaning!) about all of the apparent obstacles you are facing, without taking the proactive steps to eliminate them. Moaning and gossiping with the rest of the office is one of the largest drains on the time and energy of many companies’ workforces, which is why many of our clients choose to increase the return on their wage bill by outsourcing tasks to us in the first place. But can you be sure that you are not a part of the problem? Identify negative people in your life and either eliminate them, or try to spend as little time around them as possible. Not only will your mood improve considerably, but the effect on your productivity will certainly be noticeable as a result (the same applies to the impact of simply relaxing and taking some time off to improve your mood). You need to eliminate these “time vampires” as quickly as possible if you are serious about realising your goals and ambitions – once your time has gone, you will never get it back!

Just as you need to remove as much negativity from your life as possible, you will want to surround yourself with positivity. As mentioned before, you can do this by hanging around with like-minded, positive people, that are likely to be on a similar path to you. You can help each other stay focused and positive – try to work on some joint projects together, or at least help each other out from time to time. You will learn a lot from these people. Remember, two heads are better than one! Bounce ideas off of each other, brainstorm. Make use of the fact that you’re no longer working alone and having to tackle problems all by yourself. The more positive people you surround yourself with, the more your productivity will increase, as your levels of motivation and energy are, without a doubt, the elements that will have the largest impact on the outcome of your project (if you complete it at all!). Not everyone is born with buckets full of motivation and positivity, and that is perfectly fine, but you can still learn to harness the power of motivation. Don’t become disheartened if you can’t motivate yourself on your first attempt at this new mindset – the positive people around you will support you as you grow.

You don’t need negative people in your life.

Spend less time with them for a while, get yourself focused, increase your motivation, and then try to change their mindset for the better so that they don’t have such a negative impact on your mood and mindset.

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