One of the biggest challenges all people have, especially entrepreneurs like me, is finding enough time in the day to get everything done! Here are some tips to not only make you more productive, but also increase your efficiency. After all, the goal isn’t to work more, but to work smarter and get more done in the time that you have, right? Here are 9 simple ways to boost your productivity:
Tweak your email routine
Stop checking your email every 5 minutes! And turn off the email alerts as well to reduce temptation. Make set appointments to check your email two or three times a day. Unsubscribe from non-essential mailing lists and services. If you’re not using the information, product, or services, it’s an unnecessary distraction. This will be hard, but you will see the pay off immediately! You’ll have more time to focus on getting other tasks done without the distractions that email can cause. When you do check your email, choose a convenient time to respond to all of the emails you’ve received.
Limit your social media use! It takes a whopping 23 minutes to get back on track after using social media. With that in mind, is it really worth it to see if your high school friend posted another cute animal video on Facebook? I sure hope not! Set up a schedule for how often you will use social media akin to how often you will check email. Less really is more! You might miss your friend’s 1,000th selfie of the month if you’re only on Facebook for 30 minutes a day, but your life will thank you.
Focus on one task at a time. You might not realize it, but a tremendous amount of time is also lost when switching between tasks (aka multi-tasking). Even more time is lost when the tasks get more complex. We’re talking about as much as 40% of productivity decrease! Instead, focus on one task at a time and you’ll finish the task faster and it’ll be easier.
Make a Plan
Without a plan, you’ll flounder throughout the day and won’t use your time efficiently. At the end of the day, be sure to take 5-10 minutes to make a plan for the next day. Productivity is a direct result of planning and preparation. And make sure to also stick to your plan, unless there’s a true emergency! Cancellation of your favorite TV show is not a reason to abandon your plan.
Set realistic goals
Your to do list shouldn’t be 2 miles long. Having unrealistic expectations with an overly ambitious To Do list sets you up for failure. Instead, focus on a list of a few do-able tasks to complete in any given day. Identify what really must be done in a day rather than listing everything that could be done that day. Align your To Do List with your goals by prioritizing what is most important and attack the list with focus and commitment. Completing the shorter To Do List makes more of an impact that starting several tasks, but finishing none.
Release your inner Ninja
Ninjas are stealthy beings who slay tasks and just get the job done. To find your inner Ninja, identify the times of day that your energy and creativity are at peak levels. Work on the most challenging tasks that require full focus and energy during that part of the day. Save less draining tasks for your off-peak times.
Take a break
It’s not possible to remain focused and energized all the time, so don’t be afraid to build in breaks to your work schedule. Time spent away from active development of your business is not time wasted. You’ll actually be more productive and efficient after the break than without! If you have trouble limiting your breaks, try the Pomodoro method: Work for 25 minutes straight and then take a 5 minute break. After four rounds, take a 30 minute break before returning to work on the task.
Apply the 2 minute rule: if a task will take 2 minutes or less to complete, do it now! Putting it off until later will just take more time to complete. Procrastinating smaller tasks like RSVP’ing to a party or making a doctor’s appointment can snowball and be overwhelming later.
Some entrepreneurs feel they must do everything themselves. There are ways to help with some low-payoff tasks (both paid and free), so try delegating tasks that can be done by someone or something else. With the smaller tasks taken care of, you’ll have time and energy to devote to the tasks that only you can complete.
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