A problem entrepreneurs have faced for many years is balancing our work and our life commitments whilst also being as productive as possible. A company’s productivity is relatable to its entrepreneur’s personal productivity. Within the larger context, the actions or selections of the business owner mostly influence the company’s productivity.
Here are some of my key tips to stay productive for entrepreneurs or anyone really 😉
Dedicate certain time in the day to do the tasks that need and must be done, for example, you could do all your emails between 8 and 9 am and then focus on the core elements of your business between 9 and 11:30 am, then break for lunch and after lunch, you can catch up on emails.
For me I know I’m most productive later in the day, so to ensure I don’t fall behind with my team and clients, I schedule and write a lot of my emails in the evening for 8/9 am send out the following morning, by the time I’m at my most productive I’ve got replies and ready to delegate time to the urgent matters. I work in PR, so responding to emails and media requests which come in overnight is usually the priority.
Whether it be in a draft email, notes on your phone or an actual notepad – make some lists! Note down everything you need or intend to do for the day ahead. You could also categorise your tasks under subheadings for example, urgent, must do today, clients, internal etc.
One of the biggest productivity killers is going at 100mph all day, every day.
Whilst some say working non-stop is the nature of being an entrepreneur, it may be to them, but to most this just leads to complete burnout and after a while, the buzz will disappear. Having a routine, structured or rough, is very important.
When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s easy to work and have your business head on all the time. However, this can damage your entrepreneurial and creative flow which will impact your growth, scalability, and effectiveness. Allot some time aside to take the dog for a walk, or just sit in the garden with your favourite drink or listen to a podcast (P.S. we are launching our own very soon).
It is always a good idea to take time to unplug – your business will thank you.
Always schedule in a day which is free
Never have a week where you have back-to-back meetings constantly and no time for your actual work, strategy or planning, as you will quickly become overwhelmed.
Perhaps have one day a week in the calendar when you only deal with meetings on an ad hoc basis and don’t schedule anything in – that way you can avoid long travelling, wasting time talking about things which aren’t going to improve the business and it allows you to have some blue-sky brainstorming. Meetings aren’t always bad, but they often lead to distraction from your individual priorities.
Set a few self-created deadlines
Sometimes we can view deadlines as pressure, but, if you set your own realistic ones, they become targets. Setting goals and objectives never get bad press, so why do deadlines? If you have a client report to finish by the end of the day, set some timers and see how much quicker you get it done.
Use your time effectively
Picture yourself presented with a day which has a few meetings located a decent drive away from one to another, you could look at scheduling in other calls during the travel time using your car’s hands free/Bluetooth whilst you enjoy your Starbucks drink and croissant – maybe a catchup with your team, an update with investors or a diary check with your PA.
Fun fact – you can join Zoom and Teams meetings with audio only via your hands free too, download the Apps on your phone and have audio only to avoid being distracted from the road.
The Jeff Bezos saying – ‘keep meetings small with the 2-pizza rule’
One of my favourite famous sayings is from Mr Amazon, who says if two pizzas can’t feed the meeting attendees, then you have too many people in the meeting for it to be productive.
Bezos’ calculation obviously isn’t precise, as two people could have a pizza each, but it means only people who matter to the topic the most in the room. For example, marketing doesn’t need to attend a finance meeting, and finance don’t need to attend a PR strategy meeting.
If you have too many people in a meeting, it’ll likely run over, you’ll digress, or you won’t have enough time to cover the agenda. My alternative would be to just send a blanket email to those you would have included with the questions and topics that need to be discussed, ask for replies to be the answers or project progress updates etc.
Oh, and don’t forget that time is money.
I hope you enjoyed this read and hope some of my ideas will help you.