When you are an entrepreneur especially when you first start your venture the only thing you have is time. Every minute is precious yet so many of us waste it on tasks that are not important or we think they are important but reality is they do not have a big impact on our business.
If you want to be more productive you need to become master of your minutes. – Crystal Paine
It’s essential to maximize your productivity as much as you can to achieve your goals because let’s face it nobody gets more than 24 hours in a day.
Here are 5 tips to maximize your day:
Get a good night sleep
One of the most important things we can do to start our day is to get a 7-8 hours of sleep every night, yet sleep is one of the things that people will sacrifice, thinking one extra hour of work instead of sleeping will help them get more done. Craig Ballantyne, a leader in productivity says planning your day has to start with a good night sleep and he a has formula to achieve that called the 10-3-2-1-0 formula it states:
10 hours before bed – No more caffeine.
3 hours before bed – No more food or alcohol.
2 hours before bed – No more work.
1 hour before bed – No more screen time (turn off all phones, TVs and computers).
0 – The number of times you will hit the snooze button in the morning.
If you follow this formula he says you will feel more refreshed and energized when you wake up every morning.
Develop morning routines
Kevin Kruse, the author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, interviewed over 200 ultra-successful people, including 7 billionaires, 13 Olympians, and a host of accomplished entrepreneurs for his book and found most successful people share the following morning themes:
- Most wake up early- 6:00am. Or earlier.
- They hydrate by drinking a lot of water.
- They eat a healthy breakfast, although each has a different definition of what that is.
- They exercise.
- Many meditate, journal, or read.
Having morning routines is essential in setting the tone for the rest of your day. Things like positive self-talk and affirmations may seem silly when you start doing them but have a huge impact on your life. The Pacific Institute (the company founded by Lou Tice) describes affirmations as positive, emotionally charged, present-tense statements describing a desired end-result. They are what you want to be and do – not what you don’t want or are trying to change. Even if you don’t use affirmations, try positive self-talk about what you need to do and what you would like to achieve for the day.
Plan your day
Brian Tracey the author of Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time says: “To double your productivity, first, plan each day in advance, select your most important task, and then start on that task first thing, before you do anything else. Second, work nonstop for ninety minutes with no diversion or distraction, and then give yourself a fifteen minutes break. Third, start again and work another ninety minutes flat out.”
But if you have a long list of tasks on your to-do list how do you prioritize them? Brian says ask yourself these three questions:
- What are my highest value activities?
- What can I and only I do, that if done well, will make a real difference?
- What is the most valuable use of my time right now
Knowing the answer to these questions will help you prioritize your tasks but also help you get rid of the ones that are a waste of your time because they do not have a big impact on your business.
Research suggests that only about 2% of people can actually multitask effectively. The rest of us think we’re being productive when in reality we’re not at all. What we’re doing instead is “task-switching,” which is the process of focusing your mind on one task at a time, then switching to another and re-focusing. In the end, each task takes longer than if you’d just done them separately. The only true way you can multitask is if you’re doing automatic tasks like walking and talking (which don’t require much thought).
Matthew Toren Serial Entrepreneur and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com states: “we might feel like we’re multitasking, and we might even appear to others as though we’re multitasking, but we’re actually completely switching from one task to another over and over. As much as you might feel like you have the ability to read your email, talk on the phone and engage in Facebook Messenger chat all at once, it’s literally impossible. What you’re actually doing is playing multiple games of “red light/green light” in your brain — constantly starting and stopping each task repeatedly. This is known in psychology as “serial tasking,” not multitasking.”
So what should you do? Toren suggests to focus on one task at a time until it’s finished and to avoid distractions by turning off email notifications, Facebook message popups and not answering calls unless they are necessary.
With all the apps and websites on the market today, there is really no excuse not to use technology to help you save time and be more productive. Tools like Brain.fm makes music designed for your brain, the music is generated by an AI that the company’s team invented. It helps improve focus, relaxation, and sleep within 10 to 15 minutes of listening, Our product ezClocker helps small business owners run their business remotely by allowing employees to clock in and out using their own phone and using the GPS to verify the employees showed up at the correct jobsite, this allows you to save both money and time.
Workflowy can be used by an individual to organize his or her to-do list, or teams of people can use it to track the tasks in their projects. It’s designed around how the brain works and thinks about tasks. You can use it for your meetings, setting agendas, or journaling, RecurPost is one of my personal favorites, it helps with Social Media automation, and Asana a project management tool where you can keep track of projects/tasks and assign team members to tasks. It makes it easy to know who’s responsible for what and what are next steps.
Learning how to manage your time can be one of the biggest challenges you will face as an entrepreneur but getting a good night sleep, planning your day right and following a morning routine will help turn every day into a productive day.
Author: Raya Khashab
Raya is the CEO and co-founder of ezClocker. She is passionate about customers and building products that change the way people run their business. She is also a big supporter of the startup community and helping people achieve their dreams.