Making the most of your time is paramount as an entrepreneur. Here are a few ways you can maximize your productivity.
Time is MONEY! At least, that is what youâ€™ve been told. The truth is: time is much more valuable than money. While there are thousands of ways you can make a dollar, there is only one thing you can do to get more out of time: be more efficient. The question is: How? Effective entrepreneurs seem to have figured out the recipe to complete more in a dayâ€™s work than most of us accomplish in a week. Whatâ€™s their secret? Productivity. This seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, being productive takes a host of disciplines and habits that are created over long periods of time and are not only difficult to attain, but usually come with some hard lessons along the way.
Entrepreneurs are ideal specimens for learning about productivity, because building and running a business is the perfect productivity curriculum. An entrepreneur has to squeeze every ounce of productivity they can from each second to make their business a success.
But how do they keep from getting distracted by each and every problem and priority that comes up? Strategy. Entrepreneurs know to anticipate that they will be faced with distractions and plan for it. Instead of letting themselves get beaten by the hundreds of distractions that come up each day, entrepreneurs know that they must prioritize and stay focused on one thing at a time to actually accomplish their objectives.
Here are 5 things you can do to increase your productivity like the pros:
Start Each Day With A List
You have to start somewhere, so why not start by putting together a list for what you are wanting to accomplish that day? This technique is a great way to get started in the planning process that will eventually span across your entire week, month and year.
By creating a list at the beginning of the day you give yourself a reference point to fall back on when you get distracted as well as a way to measure your little victories and open opportunities. Although it can be hard to see at first, feeling overwhelmed by the tasks that keep piling up can almost always be linked directly back to a lack of forward planning. Nip that feeling in the bud tomorrow by giving yourself permission to take some time and plan out your day.
Make Your Habits Serve You & Your Business
Every business faces struggles that will get in the way of success. As an entrepreneur, it is your duty to try not to allow yourself to be among those. The most effective way to do this is to recognize which habits serve you and which do not. Procrastination, attitude, lack of sleep, getting distracted: these are all habits that donâ€™t serve you or your business.
Destructive habits like these are often overlooked as the cause of problems and commonly mistaken as symptoms of a difficult environment. Are you procrastinating because the task isnâ€™t important enough to warrant your attention, or is it because you know that starting now would mean hours of work ahead? Are you not getting enough sleep because the constant workload requires it, or is it because you havenâ€™t used your time effectively throughout the days due to lack of planning?
It is critical to recognize the difference between habits and unique circumstances. When youâ€™re constantly running into unique circumstances keeping you from accomplishing your goals, it may be time to start looking inward for a pattern.
Know When To Say No
Even though this is the third item on this list, itâ€™s arguably the most important. Everyone wants to be liked and accepted, and in business it can be even more tempting to be accommodating. That is how you land clients and make people happy right? Unfortunately, this common misconception not only ends up taxing your productivity, but also ends up ultimately costing you credibility when you take on more than what is reasonable.
Businesses that develop products often go through an exercise defining what their product does and what it DOESNâ€™T do. This process is critical so that the company doesnâ€™t lose focus on the mission they set out to accomplish. Each day you are on a mission. Give yourself permission to say no when you are faced with a situation that doesnâ€™t fit your core focus. This will not only free you to be a more authentic version of yourself, but it will also give you the breathing room you need to knock the yesâ€™s you give out of the park.
Follow A Routine
Routine is often mistaken for â€śboringâ€ť and is likely the most underappreciated trait a person can have. A routine of any kind is the first and largest step to becoming more efficient. Those who understand the value of a routine recognize that following one is how we are able to grow, learn and accomplish something greater than what we can do in a single day. Incorporate these values into your own life by dedicating time each day to following regular, healthy patterns that promote progress. Eat breakfast, take a break to stretch every 2 hours, go to bed at the same time whenever possible. These are just a few of the many routines you could add to your day to make a positive impact that will pay off over time.
Choose Your Productivity Systems Wisely
There is no shortage of tools available to help make you a more efficient and effective version of yourself. It is important to try to be specific when identifying a need you are trying to fulfill when researching tools to help you with your business. Also, it can be helpful to identify areas where your needs are likely to grow and change and see if the tools you are considering can grow with you.
Here are a few popular productivity tools used by thousands of entrepreneurs every day:
Keeping track of tasks and projects needs to be as simple as possible. With Todoist, managing a projects is as simple as keeping up with a list. In fact, the entire system is built on using lists, but with features and functions that allow you to take it so much farther. Invite colleagues to projects, delegate tasks, manage productivity reports, add notes and attachments to tasks, integrate it with your gmail, google calendar, and even your chrome browser for an experience that will follow you wherever you go.
Stop wasting time trying to remember your passwords, contacting service providers to reset, or logging passwords in a little black book. With Lastpass, you only have to remember 1 password to get access to a secure, multi-platform password management system that goes with you anywhere you have internet access. Share passwords securely, granting temporary access to your systems to teams without having to change your password and revoke access at any time. A huge time saver for any online entrepreneur seeking confidence in their security.
Entrepreneurs understand that every call their business gets is important, but they also know that they canâ€™t constantly stop what they are doing to answer the phone every time it rings. Productive entrepreneurs have discovered that using a virtual receptionist to cover their business phones is not only a great productivity hack, but it also is a fantastic branding tool that can even help grow their organization through improved customer service and lead capture. Plus, itâ€™s far more cost effective than hiring in-house staff.
It is no secret that Google is going to take over the world. Well, not â€śofficially.â€ť But it is pretty much happening right now. The good news? They offer a killer suite of free tools that can give a MAJOR boost to your entrepreneurial productivity. One of these tools you may not be as familiar with as the rest is Google Keep. This note taking tool allows you to take photos, record voice, integrates with google docs and is accessible from pretty much any computer or mobile device that has access to the internet.
The list of productivity tools at your disposal has no end. Identify your needs, do your research and pick the ones that will best serve you. The sooner you commit to the right habits, routines, and tools, the more quickly youâ€™ll fast track your entrepreneurial endeavor towards success.