When asking any successful entrepreneur about their priorities, you’ll find that optimizing productivity is high on the list. Entrepreneurs are very busy individuals, and without analyzing their use of time, they can quickly get buried with work. When it comes to improving productivity, it is not about working harder or longer. Working smarter is what will ultimately be the key to unlocking an increase in productivity. So, with working smarter in mind, here are some top tips for entrepreneurs to think about when sitting down to scope out the year ahead.
Less Planning, More Doing
Although a little planning can go a long way, be mindful of the amount of time spent in this phase of idea development. There is surely a time for planning, as well as a time for doing, but don’t wait too long to take action. This causes you to miss out on opportunities. Your competitor can be 5 ideas down the road because they actually tested them and found out if they were profitable or not. A plan can only go so far, and then it is time to get out and see if it works. This is part of the fun of being an entrepreneur.
Write Things Down
Next up is writing things down. Although, you may have a grasp on your daily to-do list, writing it down helps with the process of prioritization. This also ensures nothing slips through the cracks. Technology helps tremendously via mobile apps for smartphones or tablets which can be accessed anywhere. This way all of your notes are organized and accessible when you need them.
Learn To Say No
According to Warren Buffet “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.” Learning when to say “no” is an essential skill in order to be more productive and successful. This can be a challenge because saying yes pleases other people in that moment, but as an entrepreneur, you always have to look at the bigger picture. You have a limited amount of time, and simply cannot spread your focus and energy to every task. By focusing on what you need to do to be successful, and sticking to that path with steadfast focus, you will be able to reach your goal.
Alternate Meeting Weeks
Between managing tasks, client appointments and staff meetings, there are a lot of interruptions which can wreak havoc on productivity. Instead of trying to do everything at once, try alternating meeting weeks with work weeks. Dedicate one week to handling all your meetings and the following solely to getting work done. By doing this, you allow yourself to compartmentalize your time and ultimately become more productive by fully focusing on each.
Take Time to Reflect and Connect the Dots
Lastly, to go faster, one often needs to slow down. This may sound counterproductive, but studies show that taking some time out of your busy schedule to just relax and clear your head is a real productivity booster. One interesting technique is to schedule time once a week to sit down with a notebook and just jot down all your work related thoughts. Then, spend a few minutes reviewing them and “connecting the dots” prior to diving into the following week’s activities. You’ll be surprised at how effective this technique can be for identifying new opportunities to increase productivity and profits.
If you’re an entrepreneur who has included productivity on your list of to-do items for 2015, try putting the techniques above to work for you. The most important takeaway is that time is a precious commodity, which needs to be protected and used wisely. Remember to always be analyzing how you invest your time and questioning if there is a better way. This mind set will keep you at optimal productivity. Are there any tips that you would include to the above? Let us know below in the comments!