"Focus on being productive instead of busy."- Tim Ferriss.
An entrepreneur wears many hats. For an entrepreneur, the constant juggle between different tasks can become overwhelming. And the only way to tackle them is to be more productive.
Do you feel like there are many things on your plate but very little time to finish them on regular days?
If you aren't striving to become more productive, it will only be a matter of time before that plate breaks.
From managing small teams, overseeing operations, and effectively distributing the budget to spending an hour to spend with your family members, you may struggle to make time as an entrepreneur.
And here's everything wrong about it: You are trying hard to make more time for your work instead of distributing it smartly on different tasks.
Being productive doesn't mean you have to work 60+ hours a week and sacrifice your mental health just because you have a business. In fact, a study reveals that if you work more than 40 hours a week, productivity can reduce by 50%.
In other words, working for long hours has diminishing returns. Remember, more hours doesn't mean your business will grow.
So, How to Stay Focused as an Entrepreneur?
Staying focused as an entrepreneur means controlling how much attention you put into the work hours. Productivity is about building a discipline and developing winning habits. Today's competitive landscape may force you to work 24 hours a day, but that's not the best thing to do. Managing the work schedule becomes even more tedious while working from home.
Thus, following a set of productivity tips can serve as a guide to improve professional and personal life. Here are the most effective productivity tips for entrepreneurs that can increase your output:
21 Helpful Productivity Tips For Entrepreneurs
Productivity Tips For Entrepreneurs that Help in Scheduling
- Do Not Multitask: Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn't save time. Instead, it disrupts your attention and fills your mind with distraction. As a result, you can't entirely focus on one task at a time. Studies suggest that multitasking kills your productivity. So, if you are keen to understand how to get more productive as an entrepreneur, you know multitasking isn't the way.
- Prioritize the Most Critical Task: Instead of multitasking, focus on the task that moves the needle of your business. There is no sense in doing things that don't account for growth. Figure out which is the crucial task that you must do every day. Then do it every day as the first thing in your work hours.
- Develop a Routine: Routine means discipline. If you don't have a routine, most of your time will slip off your fist like sand. Thus, it is essential to make a routine and fix your eyes on it. Start working around the same time every day and end it at the same time every day. Commit to yourself that your working hours will solely be dedicated to your business only.
- Ace Your Morning: Morning decides the course of the day. If you waste your morning hours on unnecessary tasks, you will lose the grip on the day. To become a productive entrepreneur, you need to design your morning for maximum success. Start your morning by reflecting on which tasks need your attention. Then categorize them as urgent, important, or if they need delegation. This habit is one of the most underrated of all the productivity tips for entrepreneurs.
- Tackle the Day by Breaking it: Eight hours a day may seem like a lot of time, but if you don't manage, it will be gone in a wink. Hence, it's best to divide your day into parts and categorize them accordingly. For instance, break your day into chunks of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour and then assign tasks to these periods.
Activities such as replying to emails and answering phone calls need attention daily. In contrast, staff meetings and employee feedback have to be once a week. Ensure that you lead a meeting effectively to achieve maximum results. So, assign the chunks of hours as per the time and importance of the activities.
6. Delegate Tasks that Don't Need Your Attention: Being the owner of a small business is a great responsibility in itself. But that doesn't imply that you should do everything on your own. Just like figuring out which tasks are the most important for you, also chalk out the job that you will say NO to. Delegate these tasks to employees and review them weekly.
7. Take Breaks, not Distractions: It's absolutely fine to take breaks between work and do something outside the current task. You can read your favorite article or watch YouTube videos during the day. But make sure the time gap is restricted to a particular duration (say 15 mins). This productivity tip for entrepreneurs may sound easy but requires discipline.
8. Reflect on Your Past Week: If you are continually struggling to find the answer to staying focused as an entrepreneur, learn to reflect. Reflection is the time when you analyze whatever you did in the past week that was effective or not. On Friday evenings or Saturday mornings, you can review your past week to find if something is working and not.
Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs for Business Management
9. Don't be an Email Addict: Email can consume your attention and time without your realization. As a productivity tip for small business owners, remember to limit checking emails to 4-5 times a day. In fact, it will be better if you fix the time for checking emails. For instance, check email once at 10 am and then at 3 pm on workdays.
10. Minimize the Number of Emails for Internal Communication: Communication is necessary for any business to grow. But as a productivity tip for entrepreneurs, you should minimize the back and forth of emails. Instead, use productive apps for communication that can save time.
11. Schedule Meetings Automatically: Meetings are vital as they help the employees and executives discuss plans more effectively. However, it can become overwhelming to schedule and track the different meetings that you have. So, it's better to use apps like Calendly to automatically schedule meetings and make meetings effective for you.
12. Block Distractions During Meetings: One of the main productive tips that small business owners should keep in mind is to stay focused during the meeting. Block distractions like emails, social media, and phone calls while in a meeting. Jotting down notes during a session can also hinder your attention. To tackle this, you can use Fireflies.ai to record, transcribe, and search across the voice conversations.
13. Capture Your Ideas Before They Vanish: Entrepreneurs are always looking for ideas. So, next time your brain creates an idea, quickly capture it down in a notebook. You can also add it to the notes app that you have or you can choose from this list of work from home apps.
14. Create a Flow Between Teams: It's way easier to manage teams and their tasks if you can see them all at once. If you work from home, use project management software to keep track of all tasks and functions.
Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners to Recharge
15. Fix a Stress Buster Schedule: Stress is the last thing you want when you are hustling to grow your small business. Instead of giving yourself all in, it's better to take some time off between work. Take a walk, have lunch, or stretch yourself after a coffee break. Remember, rest is productive.
16. Discuss Productivity with your Team: There would be no success if you become the most productive entrepreneur, but your team lacks time management. Hence, it's essential to think about productivity from the organizational perspective.
Talk about productivity with your team, give ideas, take feedback, and suggest apps that help productivity. In fact, Google has installed nap pods so that workers can re-energize and become more productive.
17. Reward Yourself and Your Team: You've done well! Productivity tips for entrepreneurs aren't just about looking at the weaknesses. It's also about rewarding yourself and your team for accomplishments. When a person feels appreciated, he often does more than expected.
18. Learn the Art of Saying NO: Most productivity tips for entrepreneurs and small business owners emphasize the skill of saying NO. If something doesn't require your expertise or supervision, say NO and delegate it. Focus on more important tasks that don't move without you.
19. Calm Down: Relax and take deep breaths. You're not a machine. When your work gets overwhelming, step back and blow off the steam. You can't work with burnout, so don't try to. Instead, recharge your mind by taking frequent short breaks to rejuvenate yourself. Harvard accepts, ‘Entrepreneurs who sleep tight make ideas bright.’
20. Focus on Yourself: Entrepreneurs are human too. You can't ignore your hobbies and mental health for the sake of profits. As an entrepreneur, you are a one-person army, and the whole business depends on you.
Thus, it's necessary to start doing self-care. Eat well, get enough sleep, manage stress in a way you like, explore your hobbies, and make time for relationships outside of the business. Happiness leads to better productivity.
Manage Your Attention to Become More Productive
The secret answer to how to stay focused as an entrepreneur is managing your attention. Most of the productivity tips for entrepreneurs involve controlling where your attention is going. Once you observe which activities arrest your attention, you can choose to work on only the tasks that matter.
For instance, attending hour-long meetings and taking notes from each of them every day disrupts your attention. Well, don’t worry because Fred (Fireflies Assistant) can rescue you with its automatic note-taking ability. Hence, you will be able to focus on tasks that turn the tide in your business.