Are you working a day job, juggling a family and social obligations while you try to fit in the gym, book club, errands or meal planning? We’re all busy, and if you’re a new entrepreneur, you’re likely fitting business development around all of the other tasks in your life. Sometimes it may feel like you’re pulled in a million directions at once, and your business is the last thing to get your attention. So today, we’re sharing three ways to maximize your work hours & boost productivity by 40% -- or more! Use these techniques to refocus your energy and simplify your routine, so you can devote more energy and attention to growing your business.
Whether you’ve intentionally created a routine or not, your day likely follows a certain pattern. Wake up, eat, get ready, work, family time -- each element of your day is made up of many small steps, tasks, and to-dos. But what’s actually necessary, and where could you streamline your routine?
Take a look at your normal day. What’s a part of your routine that isn’t serving you? Are you spending 10 minutes each hour scrolling through social media? Over a whole day, that’s a few hours of time! Feeling the pressure to create home-cooked meals, or overwhelmed with a long commute? How can you make some small adjustments that ease your day and give you back some time?
For instance, maybe you love to cook, but you could start making larger servings so two days a week, you can reheat leftovers instead of cooking from scratch. This could open up a few more hours of free time!
Your situation is unique, but we challenge you to find at least 30 minutes a day of time that’s filled with unimportant tasks or low priority work. Reclaim this time and devote it to your business.
Create Your Bubble
Now that you’ve found some more time, you need to create your workspace. When it comes to a work environment, the best thing you can do for yourself is eliminate distractions. Here are two ways to recharge your workspace and boost productivity:
Change It Up
Used to working from the kitchen counter or the living room? If you can leave the house, and it’s not too much of a time cost, break up your routine and work from a different location. A coffee house or a library are great options, but on a nice day, a park could work just as well. Wherever it is, a fresh scene can fill you with new ideas and perspective. And bonus -- getting out and about gives you opportunities to meet new people and build your network!
If you’re tied to the house, working during naptime or other breaks in the day, then create a space that’s just for you. Maybe it’s a small table in a guest room. Perhaps it’s even in the laundry room or other out-of-the-way space. Wherever you make it, when you sit down, you’ll signal your brain that it’s time for work -- not for Netflix, dishes, or wondering whether you’re out of milk.
Headphones are a miracle product for the busy entrepreneur. Whether you use simple earbuds or purchase a fancy cushioned headset, by putting on headphones you’re signaling to those around you that you’re focused on something important. Your brain will also thank you for screening out all of the external noises that so easily draw attention.
But headphones will only take this so far -- you’ve also got to silence your devices. For at least part of your work time each week, make it a notification-free zone. Most phones allow you to set priority contacts, so you don’t have to worry about missing an emergency call from your partner or your child’s school. For anyone else that might be calling, turn off the phone. You can always call them back. Same story for your social media and other app alerts. We’re so easily distracted by dings, sounds, alerts. After all, notifications are meant to interrupt your flow. So when you’re working your business, turn off the noise and turn up the productivity.
Single Task & Start Big
Now you’re ready to work - you’ve set aside the time and you’re settled at your desk, ready to focus. Time to start checking all of those little tasks off of your to-do list, right? And you can create your Facebook graphic for the week while you listen to a podcast. Oh, and in the meantime, maybe you should watch that video from your business partner to hear her tips….
We’re all tempted to multi-task. We’ve been trained to do it by our devices, by our surroundings, and by society. But is it the best way to work?
When you scatter your time and attention, everything tends to take longer. Switching between tasks drains your energy, reduces your ability to devote focused attention to any one task, and draws you out of creative, important work. Even if you think you’re good at multitasking, it’s worth the effort to try single tasking and see how much more you can accomplish. We bet you’ll be surprised.
Once you’re ready to single-task, start with the big, hard thing. By doing the big thing first, you’ll make sure that you’re hitting the most important milestones, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that the big task has been completed so you can move on to the next task.
We know that sometimes the big task isn’t something you can finish in just one day. However, any project, task, or goal can be broken down into steps. Identify what’s next for your big project, and make that today’s first focused priority.
A final way to help yourself focus and create some momentum on single-tasking is to implement a “power hour”. Identify your task, eliminate your distractions, and dive deep into completing it during this period of time. This way, you can reassure your distracted, multi-task-accustomed brain that after your power hour, you’ll tackle the other items on your list. But for right now, you’re focused on single-tasking. (By the way - it doesn’t always have to be an hour. Have 30 minutes? Power up for the time that you have!)
Ready To Go? Take Action Now to Boost Productivity:
- Review your daily schedule and find something you can cut to give yourself some more time for business.
- Identify your workspace and get yourself some nice headphones. And turn off your alerts while you work!
- Start with the big task, and focus on one project at a time.
Not using Traktivity yet to take control of your business growth? What are you waiting for?