Like many first-time entrepreneurs, I thought working on my own business would be a walk in the park compared to working for someone else. But I had a rude awakening. And then I found these productivity hacks.
Working from home can be hard as hell.
When you’ve pushed back your launch date more times than you care to count, and you’re logging more hours than you care to admit, you start to lose confidence. The days slip away, turn into weeks, and you’re looking back wondering what happened to all your big plans.
If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. Too many business ideas never get off the ground because entrepreneurs burn out before they get any traction.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to boost your output without working all the time.
When you get to do work that matters, don’t waste the opportunity beating yourself up for not getting enough done. When you work productively, you can make more progress in less time.
Here are the productivity hacks for entrepreneurs I use to keep my business moving forward every day.
How many days have you wasted spinning your wheels, jumping from task to task, and giving in to distraction instead of finishing one thing?
We all have a limited supply of willpower, energy, and ability to focus every day. To manage that supply and make sure it lasts long enough to complete your most important tasks of the day, work in short bursts of time.
The Pomodoro Technique is a way of managing time in 25-minute blocks of productive work, with short breaks in between. When you let distractions like email, social media, and your mental chatter call the shots, you’ll be running on fumes before you get anything accomplished.
Time blocking is an effective productivity hack for entrepreneurs because short bursts of work allow you to laser-focus and eliminate distractions. It’s easy to block out distractions long enough to get your task done when you know you will give yourself a few minutes of free time at the end.
But here’s the catch: the breaks are as important as the work periods. Use the time between bursts of work to deal with anything that’s mentally distracting you:
- Check your messages if you need to.
- Write down things that have come to mind that you need to deal with (in future Pomodoro sessions)
- Grab some water and a snack if you’re distracted by hunger
Then do something that energizes you. Do some jumping jacks, make some tea, or do a few minutes of stretching. Better yet, take a short walk.
Walking: The ultimate multi-tasker
This hack dovetails nicely with time blocking because walking is the best thing you can do when you need a break. It gets oxygen flowing to your brain and your entire body for a significant energy boost.
While the Pomodoro Technique suggests taking 5-minute breaks between work sessions, we need to move a lot more than that to be healthy. And we all know we spend way too much time hunched over our laptops.
Fortunately, walking is the ultimate multi-tasker. Not only does it improve your health, energy, and creativity, but you can grow your business at the same time.
Here are the best productivity hacks for entrepreneurs that can turn a walk into the most important part of your day:
- Meetings: I have scheduled phone meetings several times throughout the week, and whenever the weather is not out to kill me (I live in Canada), I grab my headphones and head outside.Of course, sometimes I need to be on my computer, and that requires me to stay at my desk. But most of the time I can walk and be more engaged, energetic, and creative for these meetings. I make mastermind calls, planning sessions, and sales calls while out walking in the city or a park.
- Planning your day: First thing in the morning is a great time to walk, especially if you have kids that you can walk to school or a dog that needs to go out.Use the time to think about the day ahead, choose one crucial task and decide how you will approach it. These few minutes of planning will keep you on track the rest of the day.Bring a small notebook and pen to jot down your thoughts, or dictate to your phone, so you remember your ideas when you get down to work.
- Daydreaming: When your mind is free to roam, the best ideas often appear. Your business needs you to be a creative problem-solver, and walking gives your creativity a boost. While your body is busy moving, your brain gets into a flow state. Thinking without trying to think.Frustrating problems happen all the time when you are trying to run a business. Instead of brooding at your desk, getting nothing done, taking a walk is making a conscious choice to be productive.
While the health benefits of walking are too good to ignore, most of don’t get outside on our feet nearly enough. Because we think we’re too busy. But if your walks are opportunities to get some important work done, it’s a win-win.
Music and productivity in the workplace
Your workplace includes the physical space you’re in, the office furniture you use, and the ambient sound around you. It can either be a drag, or a focus-enhancing tool that gives you positive energy. Whatever the task you’ve set for yourself today, it will get done faster, better, and more creatively if you set the right tone with music.
Entrepreneurs wear many hats, particularly in the beginning of a new venture. Sometimes there are repetitive tasks like responding to emails, setting up content on the website, or dealing with ifnvoicing and accounting. To get these necessary evils out the way quickly, put on music that fires you up and puts you in a good mood.
Starting a business requires a lot of writing. You have to write emails, blog posts, marketing plans, and all kinds of content for your website. Use music to block out distractions and focus on your message. The best things to listen to for creative tasks like writing have no lyrics to distract your mind, and have an upbeat feel to encourage forward movement.
Don’t make music an afterthought –make it count and enhance your output.
Find your focus
Entrepreneur productivity hacks can’t help you if you are not prioritizing the right tasks for your business. Every burst of work, writing session, and phone call should be planned and chosen according to how useful it will be in moving your business forward.
Finding Your Focus is the ultimate hack because it allows you to distill all of the thoughts and ideas you have into a system for growth and progress. When you know where you’re trying to go, you confidently assess which projects and tasks are most worthy of your limited time and energy.
You can narrow your focus even further by learning to break down every process into small enough pieces that you can finish one or two every single day without burnout.
With this program, you’ll also learn how to schedule your work day so that you always finish your to-do list (hint: it’s about making the right list). Then you will leave your work behind and enjoy the rest of your day, knowing that you’re on the right track and moving ahead on your goals.
Small wins, every day
Starting a business and seeing it through to success is an exhilarating journey when you look back later at the big picture. But day to day, it’s easy to get bogged down, discouraged, and lose momentum.
Get something done every day that moves the needle toward success. That’s a small win. Add them up over time, and you can accomplish big change.
Get focused today and start collecting those wins by harnessing the power of these tried and true productivity hacks for entrepreneurs.