Today’s entrepreneurs put too much focus on productivity and multitasking. People try to cram as much as possible into their busy days by constantly checking email while running errands, making calls on the run, and well, you get the idea.
Our society preaches that productivity equals success. While this is true to a certain degree, constant, mindless pushing can cause needless stress and subpar results since you aren’t giving your full attention to the task at hand.
So, why not choose to do things differently, while still improving your time management skills? Follow these tips to hack your productivity so you’re working smarter, not harder.
1. Delegate tasks.
You may have a habit of biting off more than you can chew. While this shows great motivation, it can quickly lead to burnout. Start delegating tasks so that just as much is getting accomplished without you doing all the dirty work.
2. Prioritize your tasks by importance.
Sit down each day and prioritize a few tasks that are the most important, and focus on those first. If you still have time, move on to other tasks. If not, no big deals as you’ve completed the most important tasks.
3. Get adequate sleep.
Make sure you’re sleeping at least 7-8 hours a day, which is what most adults need to function at an optimal level.
4. Set time limits for completing tasks.
After you’ve prioritized two or three tasks, give yourself a realistic time frame to complete them.
Set goals such as, “I will focus on this task for two hours,” and set a timer to stick to it.
5. Take a break.
It’s easy to get lost in what you’re doing, which can be draining. Instead, allow yourself a small breather between tasks to clear your head.
6. Learn when to say no.
Already overloaded with work? It’s ok to politely refuse additional tasks to avoid overextending yourself. Instead, focus on work that is important to you.
7. Set a routine.
It’s easier to make the most of your time when you are following a routine. This eliminates the need to stop and consider what to do next with your time.
8. Determine when you’re most productive.
Some people work best early in the day while others are night owls. Focus on when you’re at your best and schedule tasks around that time.
9. Limit multitasking.
While multitasking may feel like a great use of your time, your quality may suffer. It’s better to concentrate on one task at a time.
10. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Many people get hung up on small details, letting perfectionism affect their productivity.
When you’re getting hung up on details take a step back and ask yourself how important this detail truly is in the long run.
11. Take care of your body.
In addition to getting adequate sleep, fuel your body with energy boosting foods. Exercise is also important, not only to your overall health but to working off stress as well.
12. Focus on organization.
Disarray and digging around for things can quickly add up to lost time. Create color-coded filing systems, turn off notifications that are time sinks, and limit how many email lists you’re subscribed to.
13. Don’t procrastinate.
Procrastination affects the best of us but is a waste of time. Be aware of when you procrastinate and nip it in the bud.
14. Eliminate distractions.
Just like procrastination, distractions can quickly add up to lost time. Lock yourself in a quiet area to minimize noise and distractions.
15. Take time to destress.
In this fast-paced society, time to meditate or relax can help you unwind, which will make focusing on your work easier in the long run.
When entrepreneurs put too much focus on working smarter and getting things done, they lose joy for the tasks that originally attracted them to their business.
Entrepreneurs who burn out often do so because they’ve turned growth initiatives into giant, unrealistic to do lists.
A FranklinCovey study with Shea Homes found that as much as 40 percent of time was spent on tasks that were not important to the people doing them.
In order to avoid burnout and still remain productive, every entrepreneur should make sure they not only have a to do list, but that it’s filled with things they like to do.
This may sound unrealistic, but success is achieved by those who learn how to delegate.