Entrepreneurs are driven to continually improve productivity. Taking a page from Lifehacker's This is How I Work Series, here are some productivity tips that help me work grow my business, and that of others.
Productivity strategies didn't come naturally for me. A diagnosis that left me with a 4-hour workday (on good days) compelled me to be creative with prioritization and getting things done that mattered.
I'm Jackie Nagel, and This is How I Work
1. Start my day with "me". I love to read. It sparks my creativity and fuels my brain cells. Before the flurry of activities begin, I meet each day at 5 am with a cup of coffee and my Kindle.
2. Work my best hours. Each of us has an internal clock that conveys the best time during which we are most productive. Mine is early mornings. I concentrate on key goal-oriented, business growth activities between 6 am - 12 noon. I save afternoons for activities that don't require my brain cells firing on all cylinders.
3. Prioritize goal-related activities. This was counterintuitive to my previous work approach. With a compressed time frame in which to achieve my goals, I shifted my mindset from putting out fires to activities aligned with my business mission, vision, and goals. The Daily Goal Planner re-focused my efforts. You can download it for free here.
4. Move it. I used to be quite active -- until I became an entrepreneur. Pulled by the stress and overwhelm of running a business, exercise quickly went by the wayside…until I was told I would never run a marathon or climb a mountain. These were not events on my bucket list -- until that moment.
Daily exercise clears cobwebs in my brain, helps me get clear, brings new creativity and energy to my business, and gives me a renewed sense of optimism, hope, and confidence.
5. Break often. Have you heard the saying, "All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy"? The same is true for entrepreneurs. "Taking 10" (preferably outside) every 90 minutes boosts productivity and performance.
6. Automate. Advancements in technology have made automation affordable for small business owners. I continually scour the Internet to find automation solutions for any and all repetitive activities.
7. Take control of email. Email is a huge productivity-killer. Frankly, it's not fulfilling, satisfying, or productive to spend my day in my inbox. ActiveInBoxHQ is a tool that I use to quickly turns emails into tasks to be completed based on the priority of my goals. And, I use Evernote as a repository for stimulating articles to read later.
Unsubscribing from all but essential newsletters and turning off all social media notifications easily cut email by 50%.
Around 10 am, I scan email for mission-critical communication. Interestingly, most emails don't require an immediate response, which allows me to quickly return to key business growth activities.
8. Control social media. Oh, how I love (and despise) social media. I love the interactions but I loath the time lost to social media. Clear social media goals and strategies help me engage in social media at a time best aligned with my priorities and goals. As a result, social media doesn't pull me off course.
9. Say "no". Who doesn't get bombarded by a multitude of requests during the course of the day? Join this affiliation program. Connect with me on this social media platform. Attend this networking event. Having clear goals -- and a marketing persona -- made it much easier to know when to say "no" and was a tremendous boost to my productivity.
10. Know when to call it quits. Whether it's for the day or the week, knowing when to push myself away from my desk prevents burnout and renews my energy to perform.
Do I still struggle with staying the course, sticking to the plan, and focusing on the most important activities influencing my business growth? You bet! But, these 10 tips have certainly been a boon to my productivity.
Productivity is a continual process of letting go of what's not working and discovering new ways to become more productive. As long as you're willing to explore your options, you can look forward to achieving your goals more quickly with less stress.
So....What's your name, and how do you work?