Think about something you want — and now consider all the possibible things that may be preventing you from achieving it. You can remove many of these barriers by following these five productivity tricks for entrepreneurs.
1. Prune Your To-Do List
It may feel counterintuitive, but deep down you know that a longer list filled with more meaningless than meaningful details is only causing you to be more stressed and distracted.
What to do instead: The saying “less is more” is the key to increased productivity. Make your to-do list focus on today, and save for subsequent days anything you don’t need to complete by the end of the day. If you truly have more deadlines than you can meet yourself, delegate as much as possible. This is not just for the workplace — you get to do this with your chores at home. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. At the end of the day, preplan your list for the following day so that you waste less time each day trying to figure out where to start.
Although recruiters and hiring managers like to hear candidates say they can multitask, research continues to find that multitasking actually results in subpar performancer.
What to do instead: Take one task at a time, and work on the most important ones first — or the ones with the most imminent due dates on your new and improved to-do list. You might also choose to first complete the tasks that you know will take less time than larger projects. Then when you dedicate yourself to each task, make a point of really committing to it and tuning out distractions.
Speaking of distractions, one of the simplest ways to be more productive is by shutting off distractions around you. These distractions come in all shapes and forms; even people can cause interruptions.
What to do instead: Minimize your distractions starting with the biggest ones — and continue to minimize any additional distractions as you find them. Turn off any electronic device when you’re not using it — or at least put it out of reach. If you discover articles that you want to read while working on your computer, save them for later. Or if coworkers are the main culprit for taking you away from work, bring headphones that you can pop in when you want to stay on task and not be drawn into gossip.
Ir you have a to-do list without any kind of calendar or intraday schedule, you can just feel overwhelmed to the point of not getting anything done.
What to do instead: Take your to-do list and place each item in a time slot on a daily schedule. You should also dedicate a time slot or slots to checking your email, as constantly refreshing and looking at your inbox can also be a distraction throughout the day. This process solves that time-management issue many of us struggle with; plus, it’s great for staying focused. To take this one step further and turn this concept into a daily habit, you can incorporate a timer to remind you to move on to the next project after each time slot.
A messy workspace likely means you lose a lot of time looking for important papers and files. Not only is this stressful but it can cause you to waste money buying supplies you already have.
What to do instead: Tackle one part of your work area at a time and discard things you don’t need — that is, put as much of it in the recycling bin as possible. After you’ve gone through it all a first time, put everything that’s left in labeled organizers that match your style of work so you continue to use it. On the other hand, you also don’t want the system to result in your retaining more things than you need. Perhaps a simple set of in and out boxes on your desktop might suffice. Or if you opt to set up a filing system, create folders that are intuitive so that you can find things again.
Productivity Tricks for Entrepreneurs
Hopefully your increased productivity will advance your career and help you achieve better work-life balance. You might find you have more time to do the things you want to do as a result of following the suggestions avove.
Fellow entrepreneurs, have you tried any of the tactics mentioned here to improve your productivity? Or do you have any other productivity suggestions we might have missed? Please share them in the comments section beneath this post.
Jackie Cohen is an award winning financial journalist turned turned financial advisor obsessed with climate change risk, data and business. Jackie holds a B.A. Degree from Macalester College and an M.A. in English from Claremont Graduate University.