Show me a successful entrepreneur who doesn’t have a packed calendar and I’ll show you a person who will never face the prospect of death. The reality is, neither one exists.
Of course, this is partially why this type of entrepreneur is so successful, because every task is attended to, regardless of there being only 24 hours in a day. Time is never an excuse since, “if there is a will, there is a way.”
That said, you can only keep a busy schedule for so long before it starts to take its toll on your physical and mental health, not to mention what it can do to your relationships. With that thought in mind, here are a few productivity enhancing tips that can help lighten your entrepreneurial load.
Start Each Day with a Top-3 List
As an entrepreneur, you likely have a to-do list that stretches for miles. This is good because it helps you keep track of all of the things you’d like to get done, but it can also leave you running in a number of different directions at once, negatively impacting your ability to ever cross anything off.
One way to avoid this pitfall is to start each day with a list. Write down the top three things you want to get done that day and concentrate solely on those. Letting everything else go for now will improve your focus, thereby allowing you to get more done in less time.
Set Project-Related Goals
If you’re working on a big project, it can be difficult to stay motivated every step of the way. This is especially true during times when it seems like you’re taking more steps back than you’re able to go forward. Yet, keeping your inner spark going can be achieved by setting project-related goals.
Take your large project and break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Set goals for each, also designating a few rewards along the way. By constantly seeing and feeling the progress you’re making, you’ll find it easier to stay passionate about what it is you’re doing. This one little action can increase your productivity tremendously all on its own.
Designate Uninterrupted Time Blocks
Entrepreneurship and working long days often go hand in hand. Yet, the problem with this approach is that research shows that our attention spans are rapidly declining. Add to this all of the notifications you receive on your smartphone and other electronic devices throughout the day and it can make it difficult (if not impossible) to stay focused on the task at hand.
If this is you, designate specific blocks of time in your schedule where you will limit all outside distraction. This means turning off all social media and email notifications, setting your phone to “do not disturb,” and preferably working somewhere with no one else around. It may take a while to get used to doing this, especially if you’re typically surrounded by people and chaos, but the increase in productivity you’ll ultimately create will be well worth the initial discomfort.
Take Time to De-Stress Daily
Stress is not only harmful to your health—sometimes showing up as chest pains, fatigue, anxiety, anger, and social withdrawal—but it can negatively impact your productivity as well.
When you have something nagging at your mind, it’s all too easy to totally disregard everything else. The result is that you’re unable to handle your work-related activities as well as you normally do.
That’s why it is so important to set aside time to effectively deal with your daily stressors. This could be by meditating early every morning, mentally preparing yourself for the day ahead. Or it might involve making sure you hit the gym every night for a high-intensity workout, working the aggressions out of your body so it can rest and relax healthily once you get home.
It doesn’t matter so much what you do to de-stress, just that the activity you choose works for you. Be creative and play around a bit until you find something that lightens your mental load and you’ll likely notice that your workload is lightened too.