Do you ever feel like you look up at the clock and its 1 pm and you are not sure where the day went or what you did? You and me both sister! As an entrepreneur sometimes it can be hard not to get caught up in putting out the fires or feel like you are spending time on who knows what. Here are some tricks I use to stay on task, accomplish more things, and increase my productivity!
1.Create a Routine
Man, I don’t know about you but I didn’t become an entrepreneur so that I didn’t have to have a routine. Routine grounds me. I love that I get to do new and exciting things every day in my job but I still have my routine. Dave and I switch off hanging out with Noah in the mornings (I talk more about dividing and conquering here.) So I have my routine with Noah and my routine without Noah.
Every morning I go to Starbucks every morning and on my drive to and from I listen to a podcast or some upbeat music to get me in the right mindset. I cannot stress enough how important that time is for me in the morning. If I were to just slowly roll out of bed and meander around I would never get in that work mindset. Getting up and out the door is so important for me to get in the conquer the day mindset. Starting my day out on the right foot is so important!
2. Don’t Let Email Run Your Business
Wake up, roll over, look at emails, spend all day putting out fires. Sound familiar? Yea I was you too. I would look up at 3 pm and realize I got nothing done that I wanted to accomplish because I was too busy working IN my business, not ON my business. Now I can’t tell you how many billionaire/millionaire entrepreneurs preach this method of making the list of your top three things, accomplishing those, and then looking at email, BUT they also have a big team that is putting out some of those fires so let’s take that with a grain of salt. Let’s scale that mentality back to where you probably are in your business as a solopreneur.
What I do is set a timer for 10 minutes first thing in the morning and I scan my email to make sure there are no IMMEDIATE fires. I know that sounds dramatic but what you think is immediate and what actually is immediate are two different things. In construction, a simple email might help my job site keep moving forward so if I can respond quickly I do. I make sure I mark other things as unread and I come back to those later.
As an entrepreneur, my goal is to make sure that the “ball” is never in my court. I want to quickly respond and get my team the things they need to keep my business moving forward. Whether that’s my architect who is waiting for an answer to make changes to my plans or my attorney who has a question about closing, I want to keep that ball in someone else’s court.
3. Make A List Of Your Top Three
At the beginning of each week, I make a list of things that need to get accomplished and then I space these things out over the week, usually leaving some spots open later in the week for things that will inevitably pop up. So after I check my email for 10 mins in the morning, I start accomplishing my top three. If I have appointments then I fit them in between appointments. This helps me not get sucked into putting out fires or only working IN my business. To grow you need to set aside time to work ON your business and move the ball forward.
4. Set Aside Time To Be Creative
I try to set aside an hour or so a week to just think up fun new ways I want to grow my business. I get energy from being creative and adding in that aspect to my business. So much of what I really do is email and admin so this really is what gets me through those more boring tasks.
5. Batch Work
This is a very new concept to me but I can tell you it has changed my productivity level in a hugeeeeeee way! I am infamous for listening to a podcast while I check email, and make to-do list. I think its a little bit of squirrel brain but also was just trying to accomplish more. But multitasking DOES NOT WORK. Let that soak in. I know you might be thinking, “she is wrong! I am great at multitasking.” But I am not. It is science! You can not effectively do two things at once.
Now I still listen to podcasts while I grocery shop but I guarantee you that I am missing some things both in the grocery store and in the podcast because I cannot focus on two things at once. I hit the rewind button A LOT!
So for my business when I talk about creating a routine, part of my routine is setting aside timeslots for weekly tasks and focusing solely on those tasks! For example, pinning to Pinterest. Nothing drives more traffic to my website than Pinterest. 767 views this month to be exact. So I have set aside time to schedule pins in Tailwind once a week for an hour. I do this for all the weekly tasks. It has been a game changer! I will do another post on how to batch work effectively so stay tuned!
6. Work In a Positive Work Environment
There is nothing more important to me than a good work environment. When I was in college I loved studying on the first floor of the library where there was a lot of coming and going. All the commotion helped me laser in and buckle down. Now, I don’t know if its the old age lol but I can’t do that anymore. I need a quiet environment with lots of natural light. Whether that’s a Starbucks, your home office, or making the investment in a coworking space, don’t discount the importance of a good work environment.