Entrepreneurs typically have a very dynamic and energetic vibe about them. All that vision, passion, and drive can really drive you through all the roadblocks any aspiring businessman/woman is bound to encounter on the road towards commercial success.
Unfortunately, human energy has its limits, even for the most seemingly unstoppable start-up founder. As with any finite resource, it should be deployed in the most strategic way so that it can be maximized.
So, how can we get more work done without running ourselves ragged? Read on and find out.
Most entrepreneurs end up doing everything from inventory management to accounting when they start out, but once you hit your stride, you should outsource part-timers to take care of the menial work for you. That way, you can devote more of your time and efforts towards activities that actually grow your business, such as developing a better product or service and/or reaching out to potential markets on and offline.
Virtual assistants, for instance, can handle your phone calls, schedule your appointments, do a bit of bookkeeping, organize events, and pretty much any task that needs to get done, but doesn’t really require your presence or focus. Best of all, thanks to remote work, you can hire them from anywhere in the world and thus take advantage of lower labor costs abroad.
2. Set yourself up for accountability.
Public accountability, that is. Setting a few goals for the day or week and then sharing them with a co-worker or friend can make you more determined to accomplish them, if only so that you won’t have to explain why you weren’t able to do so.
This is also where social media can be put to good use. Posting your goals on your wall, albeit making them visible only to your mentors and colleagues, can also hold your feet to the fire and actually force you to be more productive.
3. Make lists – and stick to them.
Personally, I like making to-do lists. They keep me on track throughout the day and help me prevent any crucial oversights. Plus, there’s something really satisfying about crossing something off your list once it’s over and done with.
Furthermore, lists can compel you to stay organized. To get through one in the most efficient way possible involves carefully scheduling your day and prioritizing things, as opposed to just bouncing onto whatever you can think of next.
4. Find your peak productivity times, then schedule your day around them.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you run out of steam by 2 PM each day, or does your energy usually spike after midnight?
Knowing when you’re most productive is the key to getting your time blocks in the order that they should be in to make you more effective. For instance, if you’re a morning person, you can slot in answering your emails shortly after breakfast, say from around 9-9:30 AM, and then work on resolving the previous day’s issues before noon. Other activities that require less focus, such as presiding over a team meeting, can thus follow afterwards.
In the same vein, you may also want to avoid multi-tasking once you’ve laid your schedule down. For instance, if you’ve allotted early mornings for responding to client or supplier emails, don’t squeeze in working on your spreadsheets too. This will just divide your attention and making you more prone to making mistakes, possibly requiring you to do things over the following day.
5. Don’t be afraid to say “no.”
Save your time and efforts only for the most worthwhile tasks, even if this means giving new clients and projects a hard pass if they won’t help you grow towards the direction that you’d like.
It also goes without saying that you should also cut distractions down to a minimum. You know what I mean. Do you really need to see what *insert random social media celebrity here* is doing every fifteen minutes? Does that invitation to Happy Hour on Friday really need your response now? Obviously, no.
So, either log out of your social media accounts during working hours or install some productivity apps that will lock you out during that time.
Lastly, this may seem counterintuitive, but you should also carve out time to be unproductive (i.e., relax).
Entrepreneurship is one of those career paths that don’t have any paid leaves built in, and it’s all too easy to have your work face on all the time when you’re incredibly driven to achieve your goals.
However, working yourself towards a mental burnout won’t do your mind and your business any favors. Occasionally decompressing, on the other hand, can bring you a fresh perspective and increased well-being, both of which will serve you in good stead when you do get back in that ring.