10 Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs
Set yourself up for success by creating and sticking to your boundaries, minimizing distractions, and getting over the idea that you’re the only one who can do what must be done.
If you only apply these three principles without adding in any of the tips listed below, you will see a definite increase in your productivity.
If you want even more productivity, though, here’s how to get it:
1. CHUNK IT
How long can you stay focused on a task or project? Whether it’s 20 minutes or two hours, break your day into chunks of time and schedule tasks that can be completed in those chunks. Take short breaks between each chunk.
2. MAP IT
Project mapping is a great time management technique in which you plug tasks from a project into the available time slots on your calendar, just as if you were scheduling an appointment with a client. We get so overwhelmed when we have a massive project and a looming deadline. By mapping the project tasks out on our calendar, we set aside specific time to work on them so they get done.
3. CALCULATE IT
The Pareto principle, or the “80/20 rule” as it’s commonly referred to, says that 20% of whatever you are talking about is vital and 80% is trivial. Apply this to your task list: 20% of what you do will yield 80% of your progress. Out of all the tasks that must be done, can you pick out the 20% that will move you closer toward your goals?
4. QUARTER IT
On a sheet of paper, create a to-do list. Make this list as inclusive as possible. Divide a separate sheet of paper into four quadrants. In Quadrant 1, write down all of the tasks from your list that make you money. In Quadrant 2, write down the tasks on your list that make it possible for you to make money, like marketing activities. Quadrant 3 should include tasks that don’t make money but most be done. These are your business operations like email administration, managing the team and meetings, paying bills, etc. In Quadrant 4, list all of the activities from your list that are truly tasks that could be delegated to someone else or simply deleted from your to-do list altogether. Always challenge yourself to put at least 5 items in Quadrants 1 and 4, and spend your time focusing on doing the tasks in Quadrants 1 and 2 as much as possible.
5. TIME IT
You are likely more productive at certain times of the day than others. Schedule your hardest and most important tasks during your most efficient times of day, and save your easier/less important activities for your low-energy periods.
6. QUESTION IT
If you notice that certain tasks on your list never seem to get done, it’s time to question whether it’s worth doing at all. Can you move these tasks to Quadrant 4?
7. MAXIMIZE IT
Maximize your time by grouping together tasks that are similar. For instance, if you have client meetings, plan to run errands while you’re out. Then schedule multiple tasks you can do on your computer for another part of the day or a different day.
8. PLAN IT
Planning impacts your productivity in so many ways. Set yourself up for success by taking time to prepare for the next day. Study the time you have between appointments and deadlines and make a plan the night before for the tasks you will accomplish.
9. BREAK IT
As counterintuitive as it may seem, taking a break is actually a very effective way to be more productive. Take a shower. Go for a walk. Get lost on Instagram for 15 minutes. You’ll be refreshed when you return to your work.
10. FOCUS IT
When you’re overwhelmed with to-dos and need to get back on track, sometimes it helps to focus all your energy on the tasks you have to complete. This means letting go of some things you normally do to maintain life as usual. Housework, your favorite TV shows, or your weekly night out with friends might be a worthwhile sacrifice for the short term to allow you to focus all your energy and be more productive.