Seven Simple Hacks to Boost Your Entrepreneurial Productivity
A growing company will pull you in a thousand directions. Every entrepreneur plays multiple roles in the company, juggles numerous projects, and deals with a monumental list of tasks. Staying focused and productive becomes an ongoing challenge. Here are some tips and hacks from successful entrepreneurs who fight these battles on the front line.
The Pomodoro Technique
Busy Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo named this technique after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. Select a specific task, set a timer for 25 minutes, and focus. You may jot down other thoughts that arise, but you must stay focused on your task until the timer ends the session. Give yourself 3- to 5- minute breaks between each Pomodoro session, then take a 15 to 30 minute breather after four sessions.
Delete Rollover Tasks
In a recent article on Lifehack.org, Omer Perchik, the founder of Any.do, advises busy people to pay attention to those tasks that keep getting put off for another day. He reasons that important tasks will usually make it into the high-priority end of your to-do list, and those that don't get done might not belong on your task list at all. "Deleting tasks that aren't relevant," according to Perchik, creates one way for busy people to achieve success.
Do The One Thing That Matters
What if that task really is important, but it's getting put off because it's overwhelming or unpleasant? The same Lifehack article quotes Greg Archbald of GreaseBook on the subject of focusing on what's most important and getting it done. He says, “Ask yourself, 'what’s the one thing I could accomplish today that would make me satisfied with my day?' Now, block out at two to three hours to focus on that one, stinking item. Let the rest of the urgent [unpleasantness] fade to the background.”
Shut Out the Distractions
The entrepreneurs Lifehack interviewed were adamant about shutting out the constant distractions of email, phone calls, and notifications. Several of their tips focused on this topic. Marc Guberti of Teenager Entrepreneur turns off his email notifications and even hides his mail icon from his home screen.
Jenelle Augustin of RESTore Silk uses a similar tactic, setting aside one time each day for responding to emails. Tiffany Mason of Mason Coaching and Consulting recommends a similar tactic. She answers all her emails at 1:00 p.m., and returns phone calls at 2:00.
Use The Best Tools
In a similar roundup article on the Entrepreneur site, Isaac Westwood of Outbox Systems says, "When it comes to the software and tools we use in the office, we always find the best solution and then worry about the price after the fact. This has allowed us to be infinitely more productive...They have features and time-saving aspects that you just can’t find in many free alternatives.” It makes sense to leverage your productivity on a smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, learn your way around the time-saving features in your upgraded OS, and find the apps that make your tablet into a virtual assistant.
Many of the tips from business founders in both articles concentrated on staying focused and keeping a broad view. Different tools work for different people; one business owner recommends meditation, another takes the time to journal every day, and a third won't start his work day until he's had his workout and read the news. What they all have in common is their insistence on giving their brains a rest from dealing with details and putting out fires.
Keep an Overview
Meditation, journaling, and time in the gym also give business owners the chance to step away and look at the big picture regularly, which helps them prioritize tasks. Jason Parks of The Media Captain goes even further, spending an hour or more each Sunday coming up with a strategy document for the week that includes his goals, to-dos, and proactive ideas for growing his company.
Test drive some of these ideas or come up with your own strategies to increase focus and decrease distractions. Your business depends on your ability to get the most important things done every day.