Many people mistake being busy with being productive. You can say ‘yes’ to all kinds of work and projects but never really move toward your major initiative or goals. Productivity is the progress you make on important outcomes. If you want to be more productive and move the needle on what matters, you need a broader shift in your thinking.

Bestselling author and international sales speaker Anthony Iannarino says it’s difficult to improve your productivity overnight, but you can take small steps to meaningfully boost your productivity over time. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Iannarino’s tips for building a solid foundation for productivity.

Set yourself up for success. Strive to get your day in order before you even get up and running. Set your coffee pot to go off in the morning. Review your calendar for the next day. Get a water bottle ready if you plan to exercise first thing. Iannarino says you set the tone for the whole day during the first few hours. Make sure you’re prepared for meetings and commitments you have planned.

Don’t skimp on sleep. A full night of rest is critical if you want to boost your productivity. Most people need at least seven hours of sleep each night and some need even more than that. Figure out how much you need and set a cut-off time on your smartphone, so you get an alert when it’s time to rest. If possible, try to shut down electronics an hour or two before bedtime.

Narrow your focus. Iannarino asserts that being productive is about prioritizing your top goals and carefully selecting what’s important in your day. Eliminate the activities or commitments that aren’t adding up to anything, so you spend your day wisely. A successful day is one in which you make progress on what’s most important. One way to monitor your time is by logging your activities in a time journal. If you do this for a few days in a row, you’ll see exactly where your time goes. This makes it easier to eliminate the tasks that don’t help you stay productive, whether that’s in scrolling social media or spending too long during the workday catching up with colleagues.

Set long-term and short-term goals. You can’t be productive unless you have targets to guide your efforts. Long-term goals help you frame your thoughts and give you a roadmap for success. Short-term goals are the tactical steps you must take to reach your long-term goals. Setting goals, striving for them and reaching them is an iterative process that requires periodic reflection.

Set three 90-minute blocks. Iannarino suggests breaking your day into 90-minute blocks of time and decide what you want to accomplish in each particular block. This ensures you don’t have long stretches of time without a particular focus.

The time you spend at work or the number of sales calls you make is not an indication of your productivity. When you are vigilant with yourself about how you spend your time, you will become much better at focusing your time and energy on what matters most.

Source: Anthony Iannarino is a bestselling author and internationally recognized speaker on sales, success, personal development, leadership and entrepreneurship. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.