Sometimes it’s easy to allow the day to manage an entrepreneur instead of the entrepreneur managing their day. Tasks take longer, people interrupt the daily flow, and before they know it the day is over before it has already begun. Starting a new business is challenging enough already, but when managing time gets added to the mix, it can be even more challenging to accomplish everything. To stay on task and get everything done without going insane, here are some easy ways to follow through and get the job done. For more productivity tips and techniques to thrive while developing an online business, join us for our next free webinar training.
Forbes recommends not multitasking, because it’s too easy to get distracted and in the process not understand the task at hand. Do yourself a favor and stick to one activity at a time.
It can be tempting to want to take care of a few tasks at once, especially if they seem small or easy. But it simply doesn’t work. According to neuroscience professor Earl K. Miller, “multitasking is not humanly possible.” We’re fooling ourselves when we say we can easily juggle phone calls, presentations, and eating lunch. Focus on one task at a time, and you’ll actually end up completing it faster.
New York Times adds to Forbes’ claim about multitasking by stating that to get stuff done; you need to eliminate distractions.
The tendency to become distracted is primal, so forgive yourself if you do. It arose in our earliest days as humans, when we needed to respond instantly to lions, tigers and other predators that threatened us, said Dr. Miller. Every sensory input was deeply interesting, and our response to it was sometimes a matter of life or death. Our brain has not let go of this ancient survival mechanism; we still crave that informational tap on the shoulder, he said.
Fortunately, the more we work on focusing on one task at a time and ignoring distractions, the more we exercise the prefrontal cortex – the more evolved part of our brains. Then it becomes easier to focus.
Work can get overwhelming, and when there’s a lot to accomplish, you may be tempted to throw in the towel for the day. Instead of doing that, set small goals. Forbes says you’re much more likely to follow through without getting overwhelmed.
Sometimes, looking at our goals can be overwhelming. Seeing a handful of big projects on our calendar can be stressful… but if you break it up into smaller tasks, you’ll feel more in control and will be much more productive. Rather than write down “finish project,” break that into all the tasks it will take. This will keep you on track in your day-to-day and make the bigger projects seem less daunting.
Inc. says to give up the idea of perfection and to take breaks, preferably by working out. Exercising can give you the chance to unwind and get rid of some of that energy. Nothing is going to go all of the time smoothly, but you can do your best to deal with it and not beat yourself if all doesn’t go well from time to time. Plus, keep track of your time. You may find that specific tasks are eating up your time when it doesn’t have to be that way.
Give up on the illusion of perfection.
It's common for entrepreneurs to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task–the reality is nothing is ever perfect. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on. It's better to complete the task and move it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later.
Take exercise breaks.
Using work time to exercise may actually help improve productivity, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. If possible, build in set times during the week for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what's needed to clear your head and get your focus back.
Take regular breaks.
It sounds counterintuitive, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.
Track and limit how much time you're spending on tasks.
You may think you're pretty good at gauging how much time you're spending on various tasks. However, some research suggests only around 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. A tool like Rescue Time can help by letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and apps.
Want to know another way you can stay on your game? Get rid of those dreaded tasks first thing in the morning. Do this, and you’ll feel much better as the day progresses, and maybe you’ll end up being more productive too. Check out what Lifehack has to say about the matter:
Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.
Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.
Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.
Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.
Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!
If your online business takes off in the future, and you end up having a team, Hubstaff recommends trying time tracking apps. Time tracking apps will help you keep track of which tasks are taking you the longest and what you can do to improve productivity.
There are only a limited number of hours in a work day, and an infinite number of tasks your team has to complete. This is where time tracking apps, like Hubstaff, come in. Hubstaff makes it easy to track your team’s hours and productivity with activity rates, so your business can improve workplace efficiency. With Hubstaff, you can assign specific projects and tasks to each team member, so they know exactly what needs to get done and can track time more accurately. There’s even optional random screen capture and app and URL tracking for a closer look at employee productivity.
Last but not least, The Balance Small Business provides us with a few more tips on how to improve your productivity and develop a business that’s successful and goal-driven. Remember how to make a to-do list? That’s good because you’re going to need one to get stuff done. Or, at least, a method that works, so you know what’s essential to get done day to day.
To-do lists are invaluable productivity aids. They get you organized, provide you with focus and reward you with feelings of satisfaction when you’re able to check off things that you’ve accomplished. In my opinion, everyone should use them!
And making (or updating) a to-do list each night means that you won’t waste time at the start of the workday looking for your task. But using to-do lists is just getting out of the starter’s blocks when it comes to increasing productivity. If you want to really ramp up your production, there are two productivity hacks that will speed you to the finish line.
The first is to talk through your to-do list the night before with someone. Leo Wildrich explains the power of this technique in What Multitasking Does To Our Brains:
“When we sat down for just 10 minutes every evening, to briefly walk through the tasks of the next day, everything changed in terms of productivity. The reason was that instead of just writing tasks down, I was forced to also think through the tasks and explain them… The to do list I jotted down didn't change, but it felt as if I had done half the work of it all in my head already. The next day, all I had to do is look at the task and get it done.”
Being productive doesn’t happen overnight, but there are some steps you can take to improve your productivity and use it to your advantage. Join us for our upcoming free webinar training to learn how to create an online business that does well and continues to grow thanks to your productivity approaches and dedication.
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