By Kane Georgiou
Every business mogul, every company founder, and every successful entrepreneur has found themselves tired and burned out at least once in their lives. But if there’s one thing that separates them from the rest of the crowd, it’s their ability to power through those bad times and get their minds back into the game.
Are you a budding self-starter who’s also having this problem? Perhaps you’re working a full time job and trying to find the time and motivation to make money from home after work. Here are six productivity tips to help entrepreneurs stay productive – even on the occasional bad day.
1. Create a Dream Board
A dream board is useful for reminding you of all the things that motivate you in life. It could be your parents, your pets, your spouse. It could even be your dream of vacationing in the Bahamas or driving the top of the line sports car. Whatever it is, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” “Why am I working so hard?” “What’s my dream?” All your answers to these questions deserve a spot on your dream board.
Not everyone believes in the importance of motivation, but the truth is, motivation is just as important as discipline when you’re out there facing the fierce world of business. When you’re having a bad day and you just want to give up on your dream and go back into your comfort zone, you’re definitely going to need all the motivation you can get. And your dream board can give you just that.
2. Minimize Distractions
Distractions are absolutely detrimental when you’re trying to be productive, regardless if you’re an entrepreneur or not. How many times have you already procrastinated before just because you were too distracted to finish whatever it was that you needed to do? If you’re like most people, that number is simply impossible to count.
For entrepreneurs though, distractions are even more of a threat, since it’s much easier to become distracted if there’s no ‘boss’ standing over you or breathing down your neck every hour or so. Remember to always keep your possible distractions to a minimum, to avoid accidentally getting distracted in the middle of working on something important.
3. Maintain a Strict Schedule
Do you know what’s the difference between a successful entrepreneur and an unsuccessful one? Habits. Just like what Aristotle said centuries ago, excellence is not an act – it’s a habit. The more you do something, the more you excel at it.
The best way to develop good habits is to maintain a strict schedule. Anything that you want to achieve in life, you should put in your daily, weekly, and monthly planner. Do you want to get funds for your startup? Put this in: pitch to investors thrice a month. Do you want to look better for your clients? Write this down: visit the gym twice a week. Do you want to gain more knowledge and insights about your industry? Again, remember the plan: read related newspapers every morning.
Before long, your brain will start adapting to your schedule so well that you won’t even have to think about it. Instant habit right there. If you set your mind to something and develop good habits that go along with it, you can achieve anything.
4. Try the Pomodoro Technique
Developed back in the 1980s by a consulting firm owner named Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique is a time management method that aims to maximize one’s productivity by forcing you to only focus on your task within a specific timeframe.
The way it works is, you divide your time into 25-minute intervals, taking only small breaks of five minutes each in between these intervals. After finishing four 25-minute intervals, you also get a bigger break, which can be anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on you. This allows you to focus all your energy into just one task, giving you a sense of urgency to finish the work while avoiding burnout at the same time.
Interestingly, each interval is called a ‘pomodoro’, named after an Italian sauce made from tomatoes.
5. Delegate Less Important Tasks
You won’t be able to reach your optimum level of productivity if you have too many things crowding your mind on a regular basis. In order to work productively and efficiently, you have to get those less important, yet still vital, tasks out of the way first.
One trick that entrepreneurs use to stay productive is to pass off all the mundane tasks to a separate person, perhaps an assistant or another employee. Social media accounts, market research, payroll, the list goes on – many of these things could be done by someone else without harming the business in the slightest. In fact, in big companies, these tasks are normally assigned to several different employees. Don’t have any employees under you yet? Outsource!
6. Take Breaks
Last but certainly not least, always remember to take breaks every now and then. You’re a human being, not a robot. And even if you were, even robots need the occasional maintenance here and there, right?
Don’t be scared to say no to a new client or to delay an ongoing project if it comes at the cost of your health. There’s a reason why the saying, ‘health is wealth’ exists. You can’t be productive when you’re sick, after all. And when you’re already breaking at the seams, even the tiniest pressure could be dangerous. The more you push yourself, the more you’ll get burned out, which also means the more likely you won’t be able to do your work. Just take a break and get back to working as soon as you feel better.