As an entrepreneur, you should constantly be on the lookout for ideas to improve the productivity of your business as well as your health. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to avoid doing busy work and focus on activities that are actually productive.
However, trying to maintain productivity on the things that require your attention is not easy. Especially when you’re busy juggling multiple tasks at once, while still trying to keep all the distractions at bay.
But before we can do that, let’s take a look at some of the things that can get in the way of your productivity.
1. Not Establishing Boundaries
This might be weird to consider but most entrepreneurs are not great at establishing strong boundaries in the way they use their time. If you scheduled the time to do something, you need to actually follow through and do it.
Resist the urge to answer unimportant phone calls, check on social media, or even to meet up with a friend for coffee when you have important tasks to deal with. It might difficult to separate yourself from all these interactions but it is worth if you want to get things done.
“Just saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work” — Seth Godin
2. Doing Everything Yourself
As an entrepreneur, you’re often burdened with multiple roles and responsibilities in both life and work. When you’re trying to take on more than you can handle, you end up draining your productivity away.
Relinquishing control can be hard for an entrepreneur, but in doing so, you give yourself more opportunities to work on the things that matter most. Learn to delegate or automate tasks within your life, or at the very least, find ways to streamline the process.
“Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. Otherwise, you waste someone else’s time instead of your own, which now wastes your hard-earned cash.” — Tim Ferriss
3. Plan and Use Time Blocks
Struggling to prioritize your tasks? Then you need to do some planning and utilize time blocks to be more productive.
Haddy Folivi, the founder of Clarity Media, plans out her day to have as minimal distractions as possible. In order to stay focused, she makes sure that the most taxing work gets done in the morning.
“I do most of the work that requires a high level of concentration first thing in the morning,” she says. “I find this routine increases my productivity greatly, and I can get a lot of work done.”
To go even further, set time blocks in which you focus on tackling one specific task at a time (i.e. replying emails between 9:10–9:30 every day, creating a website in an hour, etc.). Throughout the day, use mini-blocks of scheduled time to achieve maximum efficiency and to ensure that you complete the important tasks of the day.
“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” — Mike Murdock
4. Use Productivity Tools
Work management software and tools are a great way to increase the overall productivity for yourself and even your entire business.
There are a number of tools and software available today that focus on improving certain aspects of productivity. Slack, for example, is a great software for companies with big teams to reduce miscommunications as you can easily set up chat channels that focus on certain tasks or projects.
To take it a step further, you can even use work management software such as Basecamp that provides you with all the different tools you need to run your business effectively. From setting up discussion groups to creating task management charts, you have all the necessary tools to be more productive with Basecamp.
Follow the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle (or the 80/20 rule) is the idea that 20% of your input or activities are responsible for 80% of the outcome or results. It’s a rule that’s often used in business to determine certain factors, such as having 80% of their sales coming from 20% of the customer base.
You can use the 80/20 rule beyond business to improve your overall productivity by focusing on the 20% of your work that gives 80% of the result.
When you’ve implemented the 80/20 rule into your life, you will find that you will become better at managing your time as you can put 80% of your focus into the 20% of your business or startup that actually matters.
“80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” — Pareto Principle
5. Have Short Breaks
Contrary to popular beliefs, taking short breaks do not hamper your productivity. If anything, taking breaks between works will do wonders to re-energize yourself and contribute to your productivity.
Take 10 to 15-minute breaks after accomplishing a big task to recuperate yourself before going back to work. You can even go for a quick walk or settle down with your favorite magazine, whatever it may be, just take a quick breather and then jump back into work.
The trick is to not let these breaks distract from your workflow. Sure, take a moment to watch an episode of Stranger Things on Netflix but don’t binge through the whole season and risk wasting your day. Use these breaks as rewards for the hard work you’ve done and to motivate you to be more productive to get more work done so that you can enjoy more of those rewards.
It’s hard for an entrepreneur to maintain productivity throughout the day without burnout. Hopefully, with the ideas that we’ve listed, you will be able to keep your productivity levels high and knock out those tasks, one-by-one.