by Theresa B. – Get free updates of new post here.
As an entrepreneur in charge of my own fate, I have to work hard. My day is filled with networking, research, and wracking my brain for original ideas. Being responsible for everything takes up so much time that I can get off track and forget my priorities. If you’re in the same boat, here are 5 things you can do every day to remain productive.
Table of Contents
1. Split your day into 15-minute blocks
The surest way to become distracted is to get the idea that you can multi-task your way through the day. I find there’s just too much going on to keep my thoughts focused. Approaching many tasks by focusing on one at a time, however, seems to work. Trying to do it all means you’re surrounded by distractions, and that can severely reduce productivity, not increase it.
I approach my workload by laying out everything I’d like to accomplish in the week ahead. Then I schedule my day in 15-minute blocks that allow me time to get tasks done. Why 15 minutes? Because it doesn’t allow me much time to waste, either. It affords a realistic timeframe to get something done. By gauging results, I get some idea of just what I’m capable of.
2. Trash your to-do list, schedule everything
Relying on a to-do list is too vague and allows for too much variation. I start with the assumption that my workday will end at 6:00 p.m. and schedule backward based on priorities. Then I try to make it all fit into the day, even if that means turning people away or passing on obligations. Trivial tasks get put aside, but working to meet the schedule forces me to make smart decisions.
This helps me find solutions that deal with my issues in the time allotted. It gives me a better sense of timelines on regular activities and reduces any tendency to procrastinate. I don’t have to stop and think about what to do or not do. I optimize my time and stick to the schedule.
3. Set clear objectives and remind your staff frequently
One of my favorite approaches is to break down core objectives into quarterly goals and write those down as a list I carry with me. I can set it down on my desk so that when I become absorbed in something else, I can glance over at it and question whether my time is being spent in achieving the next goal. I also bring it to team meetings to share with my staff so that we can all work toward the same purpose. If anyone has gone off track, then changes are made to get them back on the same page as the rest of us.
Even more subtle reminders such as catchphrases, photos, and also spoken keywords can serve to re-focus the team’s energy. These reminders help motivate us to get this phase of the work done. Sharing and discussing goals engages them more than parceling out tasks.
4. Track the time spent ‘on’ business vs. ‘in’ business
I log my time spent on various tasks, transactions and projects using Trello and use a color-coded system. Using a platform like Trello to track my time allows me to have a high-level glance at my activities and drill down into more detail if I need to. To get an in-depth look at how I use Trello uncomplicate and prioritize my checklists, check out my blog post here.
I discovered the importance of seeing where my time was spent when a busy day of hands-on managing left me with the realization that I hadn’t spent any time on developing the business itself. It’s way too easy to get lost in the details of a specific project or problem.
5. Tackle easier priorities before harder ones
I find that things go more smoothly if I address easier tasks before taking on the harder ones. Doing things that can be knocked out more easily helps me get geared up for things I know will take more effort. If you’ve prioritized your schedule so that you’re looking at things of the same urgency, getting the more straightforward tasks done will have an impact, where getting mired down in the tough ones first means simple tasks don’t get done.
When planning things out, be sure to identify the easier important tasks vs., the more involved business issues. Making our tasks simpler helps increase our willingness to get them done. Completing smaller goals brings a sense of confidence that we can carry on to the more complex tasks.
What tips do you have for other entrepreneurs to be productive? If you find you’re losing sleep trying to hold things together, it’s time to step back and re-examine your time management and business processes. Contact me to see how I can help you get back in control.
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