Starting a business is challenging. Whether you're a one-person show or already have a small team of workers, you need to ensure productivity remains high if you want to achieve your goals.
Your phone, email, Skype, Slack, office communicator, Facebook, Twitter feed, and whatever else are all distracting you endlessly with their announcements.
But ask yourself, do you need to know when every single email arrives, or when someone commented on a post you liked? All of these disruptions, and that's all they are, disruptions, can be turned off.
If you want to increase your productivity right now, turn off every single notification you have, and only check them 2-3 times a day. Once in the morning, maybe once after lunch, and again in the afternoon.
You'll realize just how distracting all those pings and popups are when they suddenly disappear.
Sometimes it's hard to turn off your brain and just go to sleep - especially when you can't stop thinking about tomorrow's tasks. Put your mind at ease by planning your day before you go to bed.
It doesn't matter if you write it down, create a to-do list, or use a calendar, as long as you create an outline of what you want to accomplish. Take those jumbled thoughts, extract them, and put them somewhere else.
You only have so much willpower and brain capacity to call upon, especially when starting a new business, so plan a clear workflow, and you'll have a strong start to every day.
Why is this so effective?
Take it one step further and keep a notebook and pen beside your bed. If you can't stop thinking about work, or some important task in the middle of the night, then write it down and include it in tomorrow's schedule.
Writing things down is an easy way of letting yourself know that you can't possibly forget about it, so why worry?
Take all the guesswork out of how your day will be by planning it the night before.
Have you ever heard the phrase 'eat the frog'? It means to tackle your most challenging task first thing in the morning.
Your frog is the most painful task of the day - the task you have zero motivation to do and always find an excuse to delay. It's the task that causes you to stress the moment you think about it and adds enormous amounts of pressure.
But, by completing such a difficult milestone first thing, you've removed one of your most significant and most negative mental blocks for the rest of the day. Your shoulders will feel lighter, your stress-levels reduced, and your overall productivity and motivation will be at their peak.
What's your frog, and are you ready to eat it?
One of your biggest productivity killers is trying to multitask. Luckily, there are some simple solutions:
Lots of people and business owners outsource. If you don't have any employees, it can be tricky figuring out which tasks to pass off to other people. Your time is limited, but you can work out the 'opportunity cost' of not outsourcing some of your tasks.
In other words, what opportunities will you be losing by not hiring some outside help?
For example, if you need to write a whitepaper for a client, but also need to include high-quality graphics such as charts or photo-shopped images, you'll allow yourself more time to curate the whitepaper by outsourcing the graphics.
Work out what your opportunity cost is, and then consider whether to outsource some of your tasks.
Ask yourself, "Am I managing my time properly?"
Not keeping an eye on your productivity means you may end up working long hours, but with little productivity to show for it. Depending on your business, it may be hard to measure, though.
Bloggers have it easy; measure your word count to easily keep track of your progress. But, how do you measure something more creative, like graphic design?
You can monitor your progress by breaking up your projects into steps and ticking them off as you complete each one.
A comfortable working environment will do wonders for your productivity. Make sure the temperature is not too hot or too cold, and there is enough light. If your office is lacking natural light, consider installing brighter lights.
It's equally important to set up your desk comfortably:
Whether you're on your own or managing employees, breaking tasks down into smaller goals is a helpful way to get them done. However, just setting lofty goals and hoping you achieve them isn't going to work. Instead, set SMART goals:
With SMART goals, you know you've set attainable goals and can track your progress to make sure you keep to them. Setting impossible goals will only demotivate you (or your staff), so keep them simple, measurable, and winnable.
Include extra incentives for yourself if you achieve each goal, such as taking yourself to lunch or giving yourself a few hours off. Reward exceptionalism, and you'll be more likely to stay motivated and work productively toward the next goal.
Which productivity tip are you going to use first?
Remember that starting a business has ups and downs, no matter how motivated you are to launch. Don't beat yourself up if you have an unproductive day or two, just set achievable goals, remove distractions, and keep pushing forward.
Until next time, Be creative! - Pix'sTory made by Shai Shmarel