There are many benefits to being an entrepreneur or business owner, including the fact that you get to set your own hours. However, like so many other careers, the better you do as an entrepreneur, the busier you’ll be. Juggling multiple responsibilities, projects, and tasks at once can be exciting and challenging, but it can also sometimes lead to stress and chaos.
One of the biggest keys to success as an entrepreneur is managing your time to be as productive as possible. There are only 24 hours in a day, and we want you to use them wisely, so here are eight tips for improving your productivity as a busy entrepreneur.
1. Use Time Blocks
One of the most important factors in being as productive as possible is having a good understanding of yourself—especially your flaws. That way you can work around your flaws and your work won’t suffer for them. If you struggle with focusing on or prioritizing tasks, time blocks may be the answer.
Time blocks are mini blocks of scheduled time throughout your day that you can assign certain tasks to. For instance, you can set aside 9:10 to 9:30 am to answering emails. Setting up a schedule like this can help you keep a clear view of everything you need to get accomplished in a given day. When creating time blocks, it’s also important to know when you’re most productive, so you can assign those blocks of time to more difficult or important tasks.
2. Implement Accountability
Setting goals, whether they’re long-term or short-term is essential to finding success as an entrepreneur or small business owner. Even if it’s just being set on completing your to-do list for the day or week, setting goals is one way to keep yourself accountable for your productivity.
Another great technique for keeping yourself accountable is to then share your goals with a co-worker, friend, or your team. This will help you stay motivated to keep on track, as your peers may ask you for updates on your progress periodically, and you’ll want to be able to give them a positive report.
3. Don’t Multitask
We understand that your days are inexplicably busy and that with so many projects or tasks on the go, it might seem like a good—or even necessary—idea to multitask. However, multitasking can mess with your concentration and, in the end, both tasks may suffer.
When possible, avoid multitasking and hone your focus on the job at hand to give each task the undivided attention it requires. In other words, as Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation says, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
4. Cut Out Distractions
Some days, when you have a lot to do, but can’t seem to focus the way you need to, it can feel like there are a million and one things around to distract you. Try to cut out these unnecessary distractions throughout the day by either removing them, or setting aside dedicated time blocks to ‘distraction time.’
You can remove distractions, for instance, by putting your cell phone across the room. And we all know how distracting social media can be, so set aside 10 minutes for social media browsing so you don’t get distracted by it when you should be working.
5. Learn the Power of No
It can sometimes be tempting—especially when you’re first building a project or business—to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. However, this is probably the quickest way to burn yourself out. Assess your goals and determine what you need to do to meet those goals, and don’t let yourself be distracted by saying yes to things that won’t help you attain your goals.
Only allocate your time to the most worthwhile tasks, which are the ones that will help you meet your goals. Say no to anything that will draw your time and attention away from the important tasks.
6. Make Lists
It probably sounds like the simplest trick in the book, but never underestimate the impact of making lists. Plan your day the night before and write down everything you wish to accomplish. These lists can not only help you stay on track, but are also a small way to help keep yourself accountable—you are setting a small goal for yourself to meet and putting it in writing.
Additionally, if tasks are written down in front of you, you decrease the chances of them being overlooked or forgotten, which can easily happen when you have a lot going on.
When you’re working on a project and taking ownership over it, it’s really easy to want to be the only one in control of it. However, overworking yourself on small tasks that can easily be performed by someone else is a sure way to make yourself less productive.
Hire a part-time assistant or get help from a freelancer site to help cross tasks off your to-do list that are simply wasting your time.
While you might feel like you always have to be working in order to grow your business, one of the most helpful things you can do is to actually stop working every now and then. Take time to regularly decompress and do something that has nothing at all to do with work.
Keep in mind that you are your number one asset as an entrepreneur, and if you aren’t working at your best, then your business will suffer. It’s better to take some time for yourself every now and then to keep you energized and motivated. So unplug for a while—your mind (and business) will thank you.
Being able to manage your time wisely is one of the most important skills required to avoid failure in business. However, these easy tips will help you keep your priorities set and your productivity up, and your business will benefit immensely from that.
If you want more tips and tricks on how to keep your business running smoothly, then visit our other blog articles at Cereal Entrepreneur Academy. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for more helpful content weekly.