If you ask ten different entrepreneurs about the one thing that is essential for staying productive, they will give you ten different answers. That’s because building a thriving business is quite a complicated process that implies a lot of different factors. More than anything, successful entrepreneurship is a balancing act. It’s about knowing how to put your ideas into practice, learning how to manage your time properly, prioritizing tasks, finding the right people for the right job, finding time for yourself, and so on.
Although most entrepreneurs know the theory and are well aware of the challenges they’ll face along the way, applying this knowledge in real life is not always that easy. With so many tasks to handle, it’s understandable that sometimes entrepreneurs can lose track of the things they should focus on and that has a direct impact on their productivity.
So, if you’re a busy entrepreneur wondering what you could do to keep your productivity up at all times and maintain a constant level of performance, here’s a short guide that can provide the answer.
Start Your Day With a To-Do List
Talking with employees, answering emails, attending meetings, making phone calls and all the other tasks that you need to manage on a daily basis can make you feel like you’re on a never-ending rollercoaster, always trying to keep up with the workload and failing miserably at times.
Proper organization can help you cut through the chaos and find your focus. And the oldest trick in the book for better organizing your time is creating to-do lists. As basic as it may sound, having your to-do list ready at the beginning of each working day is a very effective strategy that gives you clarity and peace of mind. These lists will guide your actions and keep you on track, making it less likely for you to overlook important tasks.
Know When You’re Most Productive
You may have heard that some people like to handle the most demanding tasks early in the morning, when their energy levels are high, so they can get them out of the way and leave routine chores for later.
That can work wonderfully if you’re a morning person, but it can be a terrible strategy to employ if you’re more of a night owl. The secrete here is to identify those times of the day when you feel the most productive. Once you find out when your energy peaks, you’ll be able to schedule the heavy-lifting work around these hours, so you can make better use of your time.
Don’t Fall Into the Multitasking Trap
We live in a day and age when doing ten things at a time is considered the bare minimum. Business culture also seems to glorify multitasking as the ideal approach to handling a heavy workload and increasing productivity. We’ve been conditioned to believe that if we don’t try to bite more than we can chew, we’re not doing enough.
But here’s the truth: if you consider yourself a multitasker, you’ve been living a lie. Our brains are not equipped to handle more than one task at a time. What you’re actually doing when you think you’re multitasking is just jumping from one thing to another really fast, which actually makes you lose time and thus decreases your productivity.
Focus On What Matters
If you want to get things done properly, you have to focus on one single task at a time, which is the very opposite of multitasking. However, not all the things that you have to do are as important. That’s where prioritizing comes into play.
You have to arrange your tasks in the order of importance and then handle each individual task separately. Start with the most difficult items on your agenda and then work your way through to the less urgent ones. This allows for increased efficiency and ensures you do things right the first time.
It’s a well-known fact that entrepreneurs have to wear multiple hats, especially in the early days of starting a business. They have to juggle a variety of jobs, filling in multiple roles at the same time. However, it’s impossible for one person to be an expert at everything and do the job of ten different people. That’s why delegating is such an important aspect when running a business.
You don’t have to turn into a control freak and insist on doing everything yourself. Not all the tasks that have to be carried out require your personal involvement. You can always delegate routine jobs to your employees or hire a virtual assistant to carry out these tasks for you. As the specialists at Virtalent explain, a virtual assistant can help you manage the demands of a growing business, and provide the support you need to do what you do best, thus helping you become more productive.
Cut Out Distractions
Distractions are the biggest productivity killers, as you may already know. But how do you stop these common interruptions from interfering with your work and affecting your productivity?
It’s through simple actions that you can make a difference in this respect. Things like turning off unnecessary notifications on your phone, or even putting your phone away when you want to focus on a certain item on your agenda, installing a distractions blocker on your computer, or turning off the radio/TV can help you keep distractions at bay.
Being productive doesn’t mean working non-stop and never taking a minute to catch your breath. In fact, if you work yourself to the point of burnout, productivity is definitely off the menu.
If you want to be productive, you must learn to work smarter, not harder. And that means you have to listen to your body and take regular breaks when you’re feeling too stressed out or exhausted. Focus on your mental and physical health and maintaining a good work-life balance is just as important as focusing on running your business.
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