By Emily LaDrig
Time. Almost all entrepreneurs struggle with it.
There's just never enough of it. Right?!
With all the things coming at you throughout the day it's hard to stay on top of everything. Sure, you can read a book, talk to a mentor, or delegate to help organize your time, but in order to be a successful entrepreneur you need to plan and exercise conscious control of your valuable hours.
If you're feeling stuck, unmotivated or unable to make decisions, these 20 time-saving tips will provide an avenue to get your time back and find your purpose.
Schedule for energy
Accomplishing your biggest or most important task will take the most amount of energy and focus. Find the time of day that you have the most and create a schedule around it. By doing so, you can create a routine that ensures you're as productive as possible.
Want more time? Then start waking-up earlier. This way you have the time to read, exercise, respond to emails, and plan out your day properly.
Keep a time journal
Write down how you spend every hour of your day for a month and see how you are spending your time. You’ll begin to get a clear picture of where time is being wasted and perhaps where you are not spending enough time.
Make a list
You have a lot of things in your head. Write them all down so it clears your brain and prevents you from getting overwhelmed. Sometimes making that list feels like a big accomplishment and that alone can set you up to be more productive.
At Excelerate America we like to say that if you're going to fail, fail fast. That way you can move on and fix your mistakes much quicker. Spending too much time making a decision could ruin your productivity for the day. Make a decision, live with it, react and adapt to it, and move on.
Cross it off
Obviously if you complete a task you should cross it off your to-do list. Now it's time to start crossing off items that you’re not going to do. Be honest, we all do it. We keep writing the same thing on the to-do list but never accomplish it. Let's get real, cross it off, and move on.
Group your work
Start grouping similar tasks together. To do this, spend one day solely dedicated to design, another to meetings, and another to sales calls.
Here’s some truth for you. Multitasking doesn’t work. It actually takes longer to complete a task when we multitask because our minds are shifting back-and-forth. Instead, focus on one task at a time. Train your brain to slow down a little.
Dedicate a day to no meetings
Pick a day of the week that your entire organization can dedicate to no meetings. Instead, make the day's focus on important individual tasks.
Turn them off
Turn off all notifications for email, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. That is all.
Make plans for interruptions
It’s inevitable. You can plan your day down the minute, but there will be interruptions. Plan for these in advance by having a flexible schedule so you don’t get behind, or frustrated.
Another tip is to automate repetitive tasks. QuickBooks can help make payroll and payment management easy.
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Have a hard stop
Set a specific time to end your work day. Completely check-out from work so that you can recharge your batteries. Doing so ensures you’ll be fully energized the following day.
Not a break. Although that could help too. This is about taking five minutes before a call or meeting to determine what you want to get out of it. This will help you to understand what success looks like before you begin and it will help you slow time down.
Develop a positive mindset
Believe that you can achieve. Knowing that you can accomplish anything puts you in a great mindset to move forward with your day. It's important to remind yourself that your dedication and hard work will pay off.
Write in a journal
Every night write down one positive experience that happened that day. Include a few details about the experience. This will help your brain to label it as meaningful, which makes you happier.
Get an easy win
While you should usually focus on accomplishing the hardest tasks first, sometimes you need an instant victory. Even if it's something small like exercise. It’s a simple way to feel accomplished and build momentum for the rest of the day.
Own your mistakes
We all make mistakes. Learn from them so that you won’t repeat the same ones in the future. Then give yourself permission to move on.
Define three daily outcomes
This is not completing a task from your to-do list. These are three outcomes that you want to accomplish by the end of the day.
Don't be perfect
Stop worrying about something being “perfect.” It doesn't exist and it may not ever become a reality. The idea of perfection is just that—an idea that's only a figment of your imagination. Do your best and keep on moving forward.
It’s no secret that rewarding yourself when you’ve reached a goal or milestone is an effective way to keep you motivated and productive. So get yourself a massage or those new golf clubs you've been waiting for.
Emily LaDrig is the Chief Execution Officer at Excelerate America, the ultimate resource for modern entrepreneurs. What sorts of ways do you help yourself stay productive? Share those tips with Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.