10 productivity tips for incredibly busy entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are, by their very nature, incredibly busy people, but while it’s one thing to have a lot on your plate, being able to wipe it clean is another thing entirely.
Being productive is no big secret - it’s a skill. With practice and patience, you can turn yourself into a prolific and efficient individual, which will contribute significantly to the overall success of your business.
We have listed ten of the best ways to increase your productivity, giving you the best possible chance to make the most of every opportunity to push your business that presents itself.
- Set priorities
- Block distractions
- Manage meetings
- Establish rituals
- Email rules
- Use technology
- Learn from others
- Don’t multitask
- Plan for interruptions
You will always have 101 things to do as an entrepreneur - it’s the nature of the life you’ve chosen. To be as productive as possible, you’ll need to set priorities, putting the tasks that matter most first.
It’s always tempting to put off difficult or dull jobs and do the easy or appealing ones to get you into the swing of things, but the best way to be productive is to draw up a list of tasks and tackle those that require urgent attention first and foremost, no matter how testing they might prove to be.
Give these jobs your undivided attention and complete them; only then should you tackle other tasks.
Distractions are everywhere. To remain as productive as possible, you need to develop your willpower and utilize technology. Focus Booster, Cold Turkey and Self Control are all great online tools that will help you shut out disturbances while you’re working, allowing you to focus on the task in hand.
Meetings are essential for getting everyone together to strategize and determine goals and outcomes. But they can also be extremely unproductive. Often, meetings drag on for longer than intended, with attendees inadvertently drifting into unrelated territory.
To enhance your productivity, you need to grab meetings by the scruff of the neck. Establish a strict regime; every meeting should be brief, clear and to the point, with an agenda provided beforehand to make it clear what the meeting is about and what’s expected of those attending.
Ensure you have a meeting-free day in your weekly schedule. This will give you 24 hours to take a step back and assess the big picture, focus on priorities and ensure you are prepared for what’s coming up.
An excellent way to increase efficiency is to develop and automate behaviors that actively make you more productive. Do ten minutes’ light exercise every morning to boost serotonin levels without exhausting your body, and assign yourself three goals to achieve each day. Get into the habit of switching off after lunch, too, just for 15 minutes or so; zone out, regroup and gather your thoughts before returning to work.
Outsourcing is increasingly popular, with modern businesses borrowing skillsets from other companies to help with menial tasks or acquire expertise not available in-house. Entrepreneurs are busy people, but by hiring specialists to handle jobs such as managing accounts and handling payroll, you give yourself time and energy to focus on the bigger, all-encompassing facets of running a company.
Emails are time consuming; it’s all too easy to get distracted by constant notifications, or spend valuable time exchanging pleasantries with a co-worker or client rather than getting to the point.
When it comes to emails, you need to be strict with yourself if you’re going to boost your productivity. Your initial email should make it clear exactly the response you require. Limit how much time you spend on emails each day, setting yourself a window to reply to the most important emails in your inbox. Outside that window, turn on your out of office to let those getting in touch not to expect an immediate reply
There is a great selection of online tools out there that are designed to help you become more productive person. These include project management software like Trello, time-management tools like Rescue Time, task schedulers like System Scheduler, and mind mapping software like Mind42. Taking advantage of these tools can improve your productivity levels almost immediately, and most of them won’t cost you a penny.
The best businesspeople never stop learning. Successful entrepreneurs are relaxed, confident and cool-headed, because they know how to manage their time and remain focused. Attending conferences, seminars and other events on productivity is a good way to learn more about how to stay on top of your to-do list, as is asking peers what tools and techniques they use.
Multitasking is a word that every entrepreneur should drop from their vocabulary. While you might feel flitting between different jobs is an effective way of getting things done, in reality the quality of your output will suffer. Focusing on one task at a time and giving it your full attention will increase your productivity ion the medium to long term.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs can’t prevent unexpected hurdles from springing up, but what you can do is make sure you’re prepared for them. Every day, schedule a window of ‘clean-up’ time, a period when you can make and take telephone calls, answer questions from customers, clients and employees, organize your calendar and diary, and carry out any maintenance required on your computer or other devices.
Doing this will give you some breathing space when complications inevitably rear their ugly head, and can also help to reduce the number of setbacks you suffer.
When you become more productive, you gain invaluable extra hours and become a better-rounded businessperson. Start work on increasing your productivity today, and the world will soon be your oyster.