When you’re the boss of your own schedule and the sole person in charge of your success, the pressure is on. While many of us dream of the freedom of being at the top, autotomy comes with its fair share of challenges. When you’re the one calling the shots and there’s no one setting your schedule, setting tasks before you, or telling you what needs to be done and when you need to do it, it can be all-too-easy to get derailed and unproductive.
For entrepreneurs and the self-employed alike, vigilance is essential if you want to be successful. You’ve got to have focus if you hope to be productive.
But how do you actually do that?
These are my top strategies for entrepreneurs who want to stay on the ball.
Top 5 Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs
1) Define your work schedule.
A big mistake made by many who work within a flexible schedule is not properly setting boundaries between a work and personal life. If you allow crossover, not only do you risk burnout, but you risk procrastination. If you let work drag on past a typical work day, you’re able to slack when you should be working because you can just do it later. If you’re more rigid with your time and designate it for specific things, you’re going to be able to focus that time better.
A clearly defined work schedule is necessary not only for your mental health but for your productivity as well. Don’t allow work to take over areas of your life it shouldn’t and don’t allow undefined time to keep you from reaching your full potential.
2) Set tasks for yourself.
Though you have no boss to throw the gauntlet down to you, there’s no one to say that you can’t do it for yourself. As an entrepreneur, you can’t keep your to-do list in your head. Get it down on paper, on your calendar, just that makes sense to you. You need to be able to see everything that needs to get done that day and be able to prioritize your tasks.
This is the only way that you’ll be able to truly stay on track because you’ll actually know what you’re supposed to be doing and you’ll have a constant reminder. It aids in time management as the number and scope of the tasks will help you divide your day.
3) Get in a solid routine.
Routines are especially valuable to someone who has infinite flexibility in their time. You’re your own boss. You could sleep until noon if you really wanted to, but that’s not the most productive use of your time. Instead, think about the things that are going to boost your productivity. Getting enough sleep at night. Rising early. Having time in your day to exercise. Setting aside time to check and answer e-mails.
There needs to be time for “housekeeping” tasks, and time to dive deep into your more intensive tasks. What is important is that you can rely on a routine that works. Get up at the same time each morning. Do something that helps you get in the right mindset to work, and get going.
4) Make it manageable.
Oftentimes we’ll find ourselves putting off the things we need to get done if we have too much on our plates. If we’re entrepreneurs and it’s a one-man show, we’re usually the ones who have to do it all. Or, at the very least, we feel like we have to do it all. This is where we really need to focus on making our tasks and schedules manageable. Break up large tasks into smaller ones. Delegate. Knock smaller things out first. When everything is in a big, sweeping scope, it’s a lot easier to get overwhelmed and feel paralyzed by all there is to do.
5) Don’t give yourself excuses.
If you’re at the forefront of your business, especially in its infancy, you know how crucial this time is. You can’t afford to procrastinate. You can’t afford to say “I’ll get to it later.”
This is the time to buckle down and get it done. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll avoid a lot of undue stress and anxiety. Refuse to give yourself excuses and instead keep your eye on the prize. You can’t allow yourself to be self-defeating.
Instead, use this time to achieve the dreams you never could when you were shackled to a desk on someone else’s dime. The future is yours for the taking!
What are you favorite strategies for staying focused and on task? Share them with me in the comments.