You know that there are only 24 hours in a day, but you could do with a few more to get through your never-ending To Do list.
There’s also an unfortunate side effect to BEING HUMAN that means you also need to fit sleep in there somewhere too. We all know that we need plenty of good quality sleep to perform at our best, so there’s no point cutting back there.
So how can you get the MOST OUT OF YOUR WAKING HOURS, when you’re juggling the demands from your business, family and health?
Here are my favourite hacks to help entrepreneurs boost productivity, focus more, and grow their business:
1) Don't try to Multi-task
In order for entrepreneurs to boost productivity, recent research shows that multi-tasking (particularly switching between media and complicated tasks) is NOT something that we’re good at.
How many times have you been asked if you’re GOOD AT MULTI-TASKING when you’ve been for a job interview? For years we’ve been told that it’s a skill we all need, but it turns out that flitting from one task, to answering a phone call, to checking emails, to scrolling through Instagram can actually LOWER YOUR SCORE on an IQ test and make you much less efficient at getting things done.
The STANDARD of your work will also be lower, which means more time spent correcting mistakes that could have been avoided if you’d focused your attention on whatever you were doing.
Schedule in a block of time to concentrate on tackling a single task, WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS and you’ll find you get it done more quickly and to a much higher standard.
2) Switch off the notifications on your smartphone and PC
Nothing DOES LESS to boost entrepreneurs’ productivity like distraction. And nothing causes more of a distraction than notifications from your favourite shiny objects.
I used to worry that there was something wrong with me because every time my phone DINGED I went into autopilot and grabbed my phone to see what was new. Does this sound familiar? There’s no need to beat yourself up about it because phone manufacturers and app developers have done this ON PURPOSE.
The techno elves that built your phone, tablet and the apps that go with them know that our prehistoric brains CAN’T RESIST the notification banners, the flashing lights and the musical reminders that we might be missing out on something.
They're creating FOMO on purpose.
So how can you avoid the temptation that’s hardwired into your brain? I’ve turned my phone on to SILENT MODE FOR EVERYTHING except phone calls. I don’t want to miss genuine emergencies, like one of my children needing picking up from school with an illness, and I know that if someone REALLY needs me that badly, they’ll pick up the phone and call.
It’s also helpful to GO INTO YOUR MOST DISTRACTING APPS and turn off the banners, counters and dings which pop up for every Like, Comment or Share of your posts. It’s so tempting to jump on to Facebook to see who’s commented on your post but I find that usually turns into 20 minutes of mindless newsfeed scrolling and a whole lot of wasted time.
It takes a bit of time to set this up but once you’ve done it you’ll find that the magnetic draw you felt to check your apps, isn’t half as bad and that you’re able to concentrate on what you’re doing for much longer.
3) Break your goals down into baby steps
Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks) where you got nothing done because you couldn’t figure out where to start? Sometimes we set goals that FEEL SO BIG and overwhelming that we spend the day aimlessly tinkering with things without really achieving anything.
Gary Keller, Author of bestselling book (all about helping entrepreneurs boost productivity) The One Thing and self-made multimillionaire suggests Goal Setting to the Now. What this means is, breaking down your long-term goals into goals that you can achieve TODAY.
By splitting down goals into ACHIEVABLE BABY STEPS you’ll be able to create a pathway that takes you to your goal in manageable chunks that you can complete in just a couple of hours.
You’ll spend much less time feeling jumbled and deflated, and more time feeling in control of your To Do List.
4) Prioritise what you NEED to do NOW
I have to admit that I’m pretty bad at this – I’m someone who likes to have a clear inbox, with no unanswered emails and a To Do List with EVERYTHING CROSSED OFF.
But running my own business and juggling a young family has meant that I’ve had to get used to a fuller inbox and a never-ending To Do List because trying to do it all every day is IMPOSSIBLE. There just aren’t enough hours in the day so something’s got to give.
Trying to do it all every day is IMPOSSIBLE
What I’ve forced myself to do is prioritise what needs to be done NOW and what can be done LATER. Once you start to be honest with yourself you’ll realise that there are probably only 5 things you actually NEED to do, and that the rest will wait until they become more urgent and need your immediate attention.
By focusing on tackling tasks that have to be done today, you’ll find that you spend less time spinning plates and that you may even start to ignore unimportant tasks entirely. As Jay Papasan, Vice President of the world’s largest real estate company, puts it, ‘Activity is NOT the same as PRODUCTIVITY’
If you find that your days whizz by in a blur of thousands of jobs that you feel like you need to get done, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Once you begin to FOCUS AND PRIORITISE you’ll begin to see that what felt like a steep climb up a tall mountain, can be broken down into a series of small, manageable steps to get you to the top.
If you implement just one of these productivity hacks you’ll start to see some serious improvements in how much you get done each day. There’ll still only be 24 hours in a day, and your body still won’t let you give up on sleep but you’ll be able to achieve so much more!
Make sure you come back for our next blog where I’ll be talking about Why Entrepreneurs should hire a Virtual Assistant to boost their business.
If you want to learn more about how to get more productive in your business here are some of my favourite LEARNING RESOURCES to help you boost your productivity: