Being an entrepreneur is a fulfilling accomplishment yet not an easy feat for everyone. In the eyes of others, you might seem successful and all composed but behind the scenes, entrepreneurs struggle with a lot of issues and clutter around their work. Their employees think of them as the know-it-all, go-to person but that is rarely the case. Entrepreneurship comes with a lot more hustle and bustle way higher than an individual who just settles for a daytime 9 to 5 pm job.
Below we share simple life hacks that we believe will help you (the entrepreneur) reduce the burden on your shoulders, and above all, help you check off your to-do list quickly and effectively. Follow these productivity hacks and sooner than later, you’ll start to see how much more you can accomplish within your startup!
There is no specific order in the list in terms of importance or preference. All the tips are essential and will help you improve your productivity if they are all practiced! They technically fall into two categories; the prioritization stage and execution stage.
1. Organize your desk and work environment.
The first basic step to productivity is organization. Before we even talk about organizing meetings and events and the likes lets first focus on personal organization. Your desk and environment need to be well organized. Remove all the clutter which tends to be distracting, and even stress-inducing at times. A jumbled up work station makes the situation worse especially if you already have a jammed schedule. So let us start by filing away documents, putting unused stationery back in the desk drawers, moving empty coffee cups away, and reducing the mess. Keep your work environment neat and clean.
2. Start With the Most Difficult and Demanding Tasks in the Morning
There’s no generic answer as to what you should do first and last. Whether it is going to the gym first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening it is up to you. But always remember to start with whatever is the hardest task that you need to do during that day. This is because in the morning your efficiency and productivity are still high and you might just crack it faster on a fresh brain. As Mark Twain says,
‘If your job is to eat a live frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.’
It’s that simple. Once the heavy duties are over, the rest of the day will feel like a walk in the park.
3. Use Simple Apps and Tools to Organise and Simplify Your Work
Technology has made planning and execution relatively easy! Why not leverage the advantages of simple tools and apps to become more organized? Here are 15 must-have apps that every entrepreneur should consider using for team working. We are just going to mention them for now maybe we will dedicate more time to discussing them at length later.
We are tempted to add ‘in the morning’ but we will leave that to your discretion. Exercising (especially in the morning) can give you a much-needed productivity boost. It has been scientifically proven that exercise can help you eliminate stress, put you in a better mood, and increase your overall efficiency and productivity. So please spare some time on your busy schedule and do some jogging, or just hit the gym.
5. Plan your next day and choose your outfit before going to bed
This one is especially important for ladies when it comes to dressing. We all know why! This does not in any way excuse the gents. It is extremely important to settle on what you will wear the next day from head to toe before hitting the sack.
Think about everything you need to do the next day the night before. Schedule them in the order of their importance and urgency and write them down. Apps like Trello that we mentioned above will come in handy here. Get all of your tools ready and prepare in advance. This shouldn’t take you more than 10 to 15 minutes, and it will help you get your next workday off to a great start.
6. Eat Healthy and Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day.
It is often said that if you don’t eat food as your medicine, you will end up eating medicine as your food. We can’t emphasize that more. But yet so many of us dismiss it or just skip it. We are not going to go into the whole cliché “you are what you eat” or “food is the fuel and you are a Ferrari”. But they are true as they sound. You aren’t going to perform at your best if you eat at your worst. Talk to your nutritionist, drink plenty of water, and please avoid soda and fast-food. Give your body what it needs, and it will give you the resources you need to stay productive.
7. Delegate work to teammates.
Repeat, delegate work to teammates. As entrepreneurs, we all want to be aware of what is going on in our venture and will have the tendency to want to have our hands in every minor detail of our organization. But this does not make things any better. First things first, choose teammates carefully and ones that add value to your organization. Once you have them, delegate work effectively so that each one of you is handling a specific task at a time with less interference from the others. Give your teammates the autonomy each one of us craves and you will see them deliver. This will also help you to assess the efficiency of everyone on your team.
8. Outsource and hire assistants.
In the event you have too much work on your plate it is always advised to outsource help. The help might be for a short period of time or you might as well hire a personal or virtual assistant. This will especially prove helpful if you are surrendering a good portion of your time to low-level tasks that aren’t making the best use of your skills. Train your virtual assistant to take over a lot of the necessary but repetitive, mundane tasks so you can spend more of your time engaged in strategic activities.
9. Take a few breaks during the day and Rest!
It is perfectly healthy to take a breather here and there, as your mind isn’t really designed to work at full throttle all day long. We all get it, entrepreneurs are hard workers, and often don’t want to peel away from their work to get some fresh air. But don’t allow yourself to wallow in the quagmire of this feeling. Remember to achieve a healthy balance you need to take regular breaks, which will allow you to distribute your energy more effectively.
10. Use Music To Your Advantage
Music has proven to be a great mood booster. The musical rhythm in some songs adds rhythm and efficiency to our work too. Now, it is some songs and not all songs; get that right. But as with any good idea, there is always a particular way to get the maximum from it. Not all types of music are the best for concentration. Preferably listen to calm and harmonious music (ie. Classic music) or Meditation and environmental music (rain, sea, forest) are also great options. Remember work is always the priority, not jamming to NSYNC, so remember to keep it low volume and as back
And here are two bonus tips for you!
Keep at Least One Day a Week Completely Meeting Free
Different entrepreneurs have different days that they choose to go completely meeting free. It might be a Wednesday or a Monday or whatever day you prefer. Everyone needs to have uninterrupted work time to make progress on their projects, so having a day that’s free and clear of meetings is extremely valuable for everyone involved. As a rule of thumb generally reduce the number of meetings that you have and focus on other ways and forms of communication. By giving yourself one meeting-free day per week, you reduce the context-switching that can slow down dedicated project work.
Remember to stay flexible. Productivity is all about developing effective habits, and habits can take time to implement. Some of your experiments may not pan out, but as you continue to try new and different things, you’ll find what works for you.
If you want to be productive, you’re going to have to get good at prioritizing and eliminating. More than likely, there are a lot of things on your schedule that don’t need to be there, and it’s up to you to figure out what you can automate, delegate, or eliminate.
Ten Hacks for the Entrepreneur to Boost Productivity was originally published in FrankfurtValley on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.