No matter your line of work, there are few things that motivate an entrepreneur like the feeling of accomplishment. Basking in the satisfaction of a job well done and using that feeling as momentum to push forward can be empowering and intoxicating. However, few entrepreneurs know how to experience that feeling on a daily basis.
If at the end of the day, you wonder where the time has gone and have trouble identifying what you accomplished, you may be simply drifting through the week. To take charge of your work day and ram up your productivity, try the following:
Keep an agenda.
There are many ways to effectively keep track of your daily tasks. If you have trouble remembering what you’re supposed to do, or you find yourself staring into space wondering what that nagging feeling of “missing something” is for, you need to create and maintain an agenda.
Some entrepreneurs find that a combination of written and electronic agendas work best, and there are dozens of apps that can easily turn your written information into a digitized appointment. Try out several varieties of agendas to see which one suits you best, and then use it consistently.
Create a To Do list.
It’s hard to get things done when you can’t remember what it is you need to do. A good way to keep track of what you want to accomplish is to make lists of your daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Check items off the list as you finish them—the physical and visual encouragement of marking items as “completed” can help you push through to finish the next items.
The Internet is one of the biggest detriments to productivity. Social media, email, and text-messaging can all be productivity killers. Stopping countless times to check email, respond to texts, or monitor social media feeds decreases your concentration and wastes valuable work time. To help you avoid the temptation to check in with the outside world, you should block out specific “work zones,” when you focus solely on being productive. You can schedule breaks for social media checks, but you need to be strict about logging out when it’s time to get back to work.
Instead of hoping that everyone knows what you’re doing or what you expect of them, you need state these things up front. Be clear about what you can and will do, and let employees know specifically the tasks they should be working on. Not only does this avoid wasted efforts, but it also reduces conflict.
In addition to unplugging, it is important to concentrate on specific tasks until you complete them. Although this is difficult if you are wearing multiple hats in your company, giving yourself dedicated “focus” time can increase your productivity exponentially. Establish blocks of time for specific tasks and refuse to be distracted. Let everyone around you know that you are off-limits during this time. Turn off your ringer, shut your door, and use a timer to help you focus during your time block.
Entrepreneurs need to stick to a plan of action to be successful. Once you have established your task list and set deadlines, you need to actually accomplish them. Instead of making excuses about why you haven’t managed to finish your To Do list, you must force yourself to be disciplined.
Do you lack energy? Chances are good your work-life balance has gotten out of whack. Make time during the day for physical exercise, regular meals (especially breakfast and lunch), and quality time with your family. Healthy relationships outside of work will help prevent productivity loss during work hours.
Being indecisive can hinder your productivity by causing you to freeze, unsure of which direction to go. However, by gathering the information you need and making an educated decision, you can finish the task and move on to the next item on your list.
Establish a routine.
There is value in having an established routine that begins the moment you get out of bed. Streamline your morning tasks before work (including eating a healthy breakfast), and then set up a workable schedule to follow during the day. Doing so will not only prevent you from wondering what to do next, but it will also help you get into the flow of work and complete more items on your task list during the day.
Create a work zone.
Your work space can be a distraction and reduce your productivity. Create a “distraction-free” zone by clearing everything out of your work area, including personal memorabilia and all projects and tasks that are not directly related to your current task. Turn off outside distractors: TV, radio, podcasts, or anything else that can draw your attention away from the job at hand.
Implementing simple changes to your work day can have a huge impact on your productivity. This in turn creates a cycle of progress that can carry your business to new heights. Further, accomplishing more leads to feelings of satisfaction that will drive you to achieve more and help you stay motivated.