Taking the plunge and entering the magical world of self-employment could be the best decision you ever make.
Unfortunately, productivity actually matters when you are self-employed. If you are not maximizing your time, you are unlikely to make your business a success story. With 15 million Americans currently self-employed, most of them fail.
Here’s how to properly take on the day and make the most of every minute available to you.
1. Eat The Frog
Did you spend a whole morning answering emails and creating to-do lists for the week ahead? These actions make people think they have had a productive morning. Yet how many sales were generated by these actions?
Everyone has a natural fear of doing the day’s most challenging task. So use the strategy known as eating the frog.
The frog is your most arduous task. Eat it. Make it the day’s first action because this task usually yields the biggest results.
2. Hire A Virtual Assistant
Approximately 58% of entrepreneurs say they work odd hours. It includes everyone from the people grinding out 100-hour weeks to those working half that.
You would spend less time in the office if you stopped trying to tackle every single task by yourself. Small business budgets are tight by nature, meaning entrepreneurs need to wear many hats.
However, outsourcing many of the more erroneous, tedious tasks to a virtual assistant can give you back several hours of your week.
Virtual assistants do not have to be expensive because you can outsource this job overseas with the help of platforms like Upwork. For just a few dollars, your virtual assistant can take on many of the administrative and research tasks that would otherwise fall into your lap.
Virtual assistants vary considerably in scope, so establish your expectations from day one to avoid conflicts later.
3. Avoid The Temptation To Multitask
Multitasking may seem wise because you can complete multiple tasks simultaneously, especially if they are relatively small and easy. Yet time and time again, studies have shown that multitasking is less efficient because our brains are not focusing on more than one task but constantly switching back and forth.
Give your full attention to each task individually. Not only will you find yourself completing the job quicker, but you will also see fewer mistakes. You might be surprised at how much you get done on any given day without the specter of multitasking.
Multitasking should be avoided at all costs. It is why many entrepreneurs choose to carefully schedule their day to avoid inadvertently trying to perform multiple functions at once.
4. Get Moving With Short Breaks
Workaholism among the entrepreneurial community is rife. Not taking work breaks may feel more productive, but it is actually a mistake. No human can maintain a high level of productivity without taking a break, whether your name is Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos.
Eventually, burnout will happen, and getting even the most minor tasks done will feel overwhelming. You will also begin to spot more mistakes in your work.
Take breaks throughout the day. For example, go for a short walk and allow your mind to decompress. You will notice that you feel not only happier but have a higher level of focus.
These breaks do not have to be long. For example, a ten-minute walk around the block before returning to your desk can give you the energy boost you need to make every hour of the working day a productive one.
5. Implement The Two-Minute Rule
The two-minute rule was one coined by David Allen. In his book Getting Things Done, he put forward the theory that a task or action that can be completed in two minutes should be done throughout the tiny windows at work or home.
For example, if you have a two-minute task that involves getting the mail, do it immediately. There is no reason to add these tasks to your to-do list or let them fester for later.
Seeking out those microtasks and completing them in two minutes or less will empower you to save time in the long run. So if it’s less than two minutes, get on it now.
6. Learn The Value Of Saying No
Entrepreneurs are notorious for taking on too much and experiencing burnout. If you collaborate with other entrepreneurs, you are likely frequently field requests. It’s nice to be nice, but ignoring your own goals for the day in favor of someone else’s is not the way forward.
Assess the situation and think about how much time it will take to help somebody out. Then, of course, you will occasionally need to say yes, but saying no more will help you set healthy boundaries and avoid compromising your own journey.
Never allow a social obligation to drain you of your creative juices. Instead, illustrate clarity as to what people can expect from you.
7. Accept The Learning Process
Not every day will be your best day. Everyone has a down day here and there where they fail to complete their tasks, and productivity becomes sub-optimal.
Productivity is a learning process. You will get better at it in time. A bad day here and there is no reason to criticize yourself or question your methods. You cannot expect to change your life overnight.
Figure out what works best for your workday and your schedule. Every entrepreneur finds their groove in time.
Productivity is an ongoing process. It is a goal to strive for rather than achieve because there will always be more you can do. During your entrepreneurial journey, remember to carve out some time for yourself to stave off the potential for burnout.
What are your top tips for improving your productivity while running your own business?