I remember creating my first course in 2014 while I was writing my first book and adjusting to the pressure of being an entrepreneur. Talk about a trifecta of pressure!
I know the feeling of overwhelm because the course launch date and the book publishing date were within 30 days of each other.
I mistakenly thought I could handle both projects. Not because I thought I was super woman, but because I truly underestimated the time it took to create a course or write a book.
And truth be told, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown for a good 90 days.
Throw in a huge heap of self-doubt (who am I to think people care about what I have to say, what if nobody buys my course, who is going to read my book, etc.) and I think you get the picture.
So trust me when I say, I know the feeling of overwhelm.
I survived! And I’m happy to report that in the past five years I created 9 challenges, 17 mini-courses, 3 full-courses, 7 ebooks, a 24-expert interview series, and a 3-part workshop without feeling overwhelmed again.
I’m a course creation machine so I know what’s possible when you really go for it. And that’s why I’m here to show you how to actually have fun creating your course.
And let’s be honest, the last thing your future clients want is for you to show up like a haggard mess on day one of your course.
Use these these ten tips to increase your productivity so you can get that course created faster without feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and overburdened by the process.
That way you can have a bigger impact, increase your income, and stop charging by the hour.
1) Love it or Leave it.
Let’s start with the big picture. Productivity directly parallels your excitement and investment in what you’re doing. Makes sense right? If you LOVE what you do, you’ll be excited to take action.
Now that’s not to say that you’ll be charged up to draft a contract, reconcile your business checking account, or handle some other mundane task, BUT if you love your clients and you BELIEVE in what you are offering them, you’re going to get that work done because their success is your success. You’ll be most productive when you’re passionate about what you do.
Keep the passion burning by delegating all those mundane tasks you hate to a virtual assistant or an intern.
2) Start NOW!
How long have you been putting off course creation even though you know it could be a game changer if you just took action? Perhaps it’s so darn scary that you find a million tasks to do instead.
I get it. The stakes feel high and it’s easier to hang on to hope rather than take scary action and possibly fail.
Procrastination is a bitch and it will STEAL your productivity and your confidence. The way to combat your procrastination demons is to take one small step. Set aside 10 minutes right now to move the course creation needle just one degree, and see how much better you feel.
3) Track and Limit.
Here’s a stat that will blow your mind. Research shows that only about 17% of people can accurately gauge time. Seriously. According to a study by This vs That only 17% of us can correctly estimate time. The rest of us plan to take a few minutes to check social media, and ninety minutes later we’re knee deep in our feed watching cat videos.
If you want to up your productivity, prioritize what needs to be done and decide how much time to allot to your tasks. And apparently, if you want to manage your time accurately, you’ll need to track it. Set some timers and reminders. Don’t let little jobs grab too much attention. Limit where you put your energy and keep track of your time so that you don’t wonder where the day went with a full slate still in front of you. Time is money, so make the most of it.
Open your calendar and block out one hour to work on your course. Maybe it’s a brainstorm session to figure out what goes in the course, or a creativity session to name your modules, or a writing session to produce content. Whatever it is, schedule it and do it without distraction.
4) The 2-Minute Rule.
Two-minute tasks can overwhelm you if you let them pile up. A quick phone call, paying a bill, sending an invoice, or tidying up your desk—what I find is that it takes more time to leave a little something undone and come back to it later than to just get it done. Think of all those tiny tasks as work clutter. When you finish them up, you make room in your brain for the big stuff.
But watch out, because if you’re not careful, two-minute tasks could be all you get done! Here’s a great way to manage the small stuff so you can feel successful every single day. Set aside 20 minutes, and during that 20 minutes play: How Many Two-Minute Tasks Can I Knock Out? It’s a great way to end your workday. In just 20 minutes you’ll feel totally badass, totally productive, and you’ll show up the next morning totally ready to really work on that course.
5) Make it Pretty.
Here’s a FUN weekend task that I promise will make the next week better. Believe it or not, I read in Forbes that an attractive, efficient workspace can boost your productivity by 20%. That’s a lot. Am I right? Whether it’s your office, your home gym, or your kitchen, creating an aesthetically pleasing environment will help you get the job done.
Look around at your workspace. Does it inspire you to show up and do your best? This weekend, add (or remove) just one thing to make your space feel more like you. Buy a plant, hang a photo, or throw some crap out. Try fixing just one thing, and see what a difference it makes.
Want even more motivation? Put your ideal client’s photo on your desk so you focus on what needs to be created in your course for her!
6) Don’t be a Slave to the Bell.
One of the easiest ways I know to get more done when working on your course is to TURN OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS. That little “ding” when your best friend posts on Facebook will pull you straight out of the productive zone and send you right into the Social Media Time Suck.
E-mails too. How many times have you been sidetracked by an e-mail? Schedule breaks in your work day that allow you to do a quick sweep of your e-mail, texts, or media, but don’t give them your full attention until you’re finished with your primary task. Set time for texting back, listening to voicemail, and checking Instagram but don’t be a slave to the bell.
7) Do the Tough Stuff First.
Whether it’s returning a call with a difficult client, meeting with your accountant, programming a sales page, or any of the hundreds of difficult tasks that are part of running your own business, do the tough stuff first. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” I know from experience that getting the tough stuff done first makes you feel like a winner.
You have more energy first thing in the morning than at any other point in your day, so don’t squander it on trivial junk. Make the hard things the very first on your to-do list so they aren’t hanging over your head. Lighten your load by coming into the day swinging. When you tackle the tough stuff first, the rest of the day will feel downright breezy.
8) Time Block.
WOW did I fight this one. My business coach got me started on time blocking years ago and it has completely changed my life. Here’s why.
When you create a schedule using time blocking, you make a proactive attack plan for your day. Instead of reacting to everything that comes at you, you choose who, when, where, and what you will deal with, and that is infinitely more productive than letting outside forces steer your boat. You might not finish everything you set out to do but I can darn well promise you that you’ll get more done than if you go into your day loosey goosey without a game plan. Spontaneity may be fun, but scheduling leads to success.
Time blocking is my secret sauce when it comes to course creation. I set aside specific blocks of time for creating scripts, action guides, emails, sales pages, etc. And just seeing it all laid out in my calendar actually gives me a sense of peace and dissolves any overwhelm.
9) Ditch Multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking used to be such a buzzword but the truth is out folks. Studies prove that you are more productive if you have a singular focus; it’s called the Sequential Approach. Work on one project until you finish or get to a pre-planned stopping point. Then move on to the next job.
It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re more productive when you’re juggling six tasks but truthfully, if you’re answering emails while you’re on a call, and scrolling Facebook while listening to a webinar, NOTHING is getting done well. Stop beating yourself up by trying to do too much at once. You hereby have permission to do one thing at a time and totally crush it.
10) Take a Time Out.
Short bursts are best for getting stuff done. Psychologists have discovered, based on our natural wake and rest rhythms, your brain maintains its best focus for about ninety minutes and then you need to take a break. After ninety minutes, productivity starts to lag, so plan to get up and shake out, take a little walk, grab a cup of coffee, take ten minutes to chat with a friend…do something to break things up.
Give yourself a little boost before you get back on task. It might seem counterintuitive, but science says you will think better if you give your brain a break. Your productivity levels will stay on an even keel, and that means you’ll get more work done better. That’s a win!
Let’s be honest, being an entrepreneur is challenging, exciting, rewarding, and sometimes exhausting. I totally get it. That’s why I want to help you get into the zone where your heart is as full as your client list. I’ve never met an entrepreneur who hasn’t wished there were more hours in the day, but finding ways to be more productive will make you feel like you’ve found some!
One of my favorite productivity hacks is the Power Hour. For one hour I chain myself to my desk and work on my highest priority project. I do not get up for water, I do not go to the bathroom, I do not touch my phone, or do anything except that priority project. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you are in it to win it.
So there you have it, my top 10 productivity hacks for getting that course of yours creaeted!
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