The feeling of being buried in your work, playing catchup and facing overwhelm is a daily struggle for studio owners all over the world, and one of the main reasons they ultimately burn out out or their studio suffers. The good news? It’s not too late to turn things around!
Productivity expert Chris Winfield is known as the productivity guy who “makes complicated things simple”. Chris has taught thousands of successful (but stressed) entrepreneurs and executives how to truly work smarter…not harder and has some game-changing advice for dance studio owners when it comes to reducing your input while increasing your output in the business.
As dancers and dance teachers, we are acutely aware of the amazing things our bodies are capable without treating our brains with the same determination and drive to see your full potential as a thinker and implementer. And making a conscious decision to focus on productivity won’t show results in just your business, but your personal, social and leisure time as well. It’s win/win, and much less daunting than you think. According to Chris, “It’s absolutely achievable for dance studio owners to banish their own productivity pitfalls and then completely overhaul their effectiveness. I’ve worked with studio owners and have seen that with all the roles they take on and the multitasking they are trying to accomplish, they could be achieving twice as much in half the time”
So, what can we do today to turn things around?
Stop using your head
Well maybe not completely, but common sense suggests what research has proven – your brain is a lousy office space! It can do some amazing things. It can remember the names of your 200+ students and their parents, can create and remember 21 choreographed dances in 4 different styles (sometimes from a decade ago), and recall your class schedule for you to recite to potential clients at the drop of a hat . . . but your brain also forgets where your phone is, why you just walked into the kitchen, or what you were working on before it was interrupted by the phone. It’s not a great place to be productive without some help, so it’s so important to start getting your thoughts, plans and ideas out of your head and into a more useful space. Chris is happy for you to steal his own planning spreadsheet which takes ‘to-do’ list to a whole new level!
“Create a table with the following columns: Future, Later This Week, Today, Doing Now, Delegated, and Done”
Every task and item from your to-do list can be “brain-dumped” into the first column – no matter how big or small it is. Just get it out of your brain and into your planner. From there you can allocate into the other columns and get a clear picture of your priorities and timeframes around the tasks you’re working on. Use this for work and personal items and watch what a difference the simple planning solution will make.
Get your science on
No, you don’t need a science degree, lab coat or bunsen burner. The great news is that researchers have been dedicating their work to the science of productivity for years and have done all the hard work for you – you just need to listen and adapt some key proven strategies into your life and work to enhance your productivity and get more done. Like most productivity experts around the globe, Chris is an advocate of the Pomodoro Technique. “The best part about pomodoro is it’s simplicity – it’s deceptively easy to learn but extremely powerful”
In a nutshell, the pomodoro technique requires you to focus on one task (yes, only one. Close those other tabs on your browser!) for 25 minutes. You’ll set your timer for 25 minutes and throw yourself into that task until your timer rings, regardless of whether or not it’s finished or you’re on a roll and don’t want to stop. Next it’s time for a 5 minute break before repeating the cycle 2 more times. Why 25 minutes? It’s proven that this exact length of time is ideal for kickstarting your brain into the most productive element and gain real focus. There is loads of pomodoro information available online, so if you want to know more about the finer details jump onto google and dig in deep!
We mentioned it briefly above, but getting rid of your distractions is absolutely crucial in boosting productivity, and a lot harder than it seems in today’s digital age where Facebook and your email are right there ALL THE TIME. You may think that it’s some harmless multitasking, but being distracted is costing you time, money and productivity. According to Chris “Often, you may be distracted without even realizing it, because these distractions have become habit. They affect your ability to focus and reach a state of flow which is the perfect place for you to absorb information, learn and be productive”
So, how can we avoid distraction? There are loads of ways for you to eliminate those interruptions including some of Chris’ top tips:
– Use a timer
– Turn your phone, tablet and device to Airplane Mode while you’re focusing
– Find apps that will work for you, not against you (for example, we love One Tab for fixing your ‘tab clutter’)
– Work in a quiet, dedicated space
– Use headphones or earplugs to eliminate background noise
– Use pen and paper rather than digitally keeping notes and “brain-dumping”
– Schedule time at the beginning and end of each day to plan and assess
If you’re looking to increase your productivity and get twice as much done in half the time, make sure to check out Chris’ upcoming webinar “Twice As Productive” (TAP)
For more tips and resources on building your dance studio and turning your passion into profit, join us in the Dance Studio Owners Association today!