As entrepreneurs, we’ve all experienced it at some point -- that moment in the day where you are sitting at your desk and have lost all focus. You grab your phone and check out social media, reply to some text messages and surf your favorite websites. You have a mile long list of tasks to get done but you can’t seem to focus on them.
Here are 13 hacks to help increase your productivity:
1. Exercise first thing in the morning.
Entrepreneurs tend to work long hours and stay glued behind computers for a majority of that time. This is an unhealthy lifestyle, so make sure to get some daily exercise in. Not only are people that exercise in the morning more likely to stick with it, but it also promotes better quality sleep. A shorter quality sleep trumps a longer sleep of lower quality, and a deep sleep will make you more productive the next day. Prioritize your morning exercise just like you would a business meeting or conference call -- don’t skip it for any reason.
2. Tackle your least desirable tasks first.
Every now and then you are going to have tasks on your to-do list that are completely undesirable. They have to get done, so get them out of the way first. If you put them off they will continue to be on your mind, dragging down your overall productivity.
3. Empower your employees.
When your employees feel like they are all equal parts of the team it improves company morale as well as productivity. You shouldn’t have to micromanage them -- if there are situations that require you to micromanage your team then you obviously made some wrong hiring decisions.
4. Quit social media.
Our culture has such a fascination with what is going on in each other’s lives. Taking time out of your day to check Twitter and Facebook does nothing but waste time and cut into your productivity. Is seeing what everyone is having for lunch or building your business more important to you?
5. Immediately knock out simple tasks as they come in.
If an email or task comes across your desk that you can knock out in less than five minutes, do it right away. If you put it to the back of the line or spend time scheduling the task for later it will end up taking you longer than five minutes in the long run.
6. Get out of your office.
Try to spend one day each week working away from the office. We live in a mobile world now, making it possible to work in different creative spaces while still getting your work done. This sparks creativity and prevents burnout, so try extending this to all members of your team and watch company productivity increase.
7. Use technology and make tasks simple.
Often there is an app or tool that can help us complete tasks more efficiently and stay organized as we navigate through this entrepreneurial journey. Don’t be afraid to try new apps or tools and see how they impact your productivity. Check out this list of productivity apps to find some that might be helpful to you.
8. Fuel the machine.
You need to eat and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Skipping a meal because you “don’t have the time” is inexcusable. If you don’t eat and stay hydrated you will become sluggish. This causes your productivity to go down the toilet. Keep protein bars in your desk for those times that you really can’t break away to go eat.
9. Disconnect from technology during crunch time.
When you really need to roll up your sleeves and get a presentation or report done, eliminate all possible distractions. Shut down your email, forward your office calls to voicemail, switch your mobile device to airplane mode and unplug all other technology.
10. Unclog your email.
Use a dedicated “offers” email for newsletters, trials, etc. -- and don't check it as often. The less your phone is chiming with email notifications and your outlook is importing new messages, the less distracted you will be. Special offers, promotions and newsletters don’t need immediate attention. Check your offers email a couple evenings a week as you are ending your day to stay on top of it without it interfering with your work.
11. Keep one day off limits each week.
I have found that keeping one day consistently blocked off each week allows you to really get caught up on tasks. For example, if you designate Wednesday to be your "off limits" day when you wouldn’t schedule company meetings or conference calls -- your entire team would know that there will not be any distractions, allowing your business to clear tasks and get ahead of the game.
12. Work Sunday evening.
Wait, aren’t entrepreneurs supposed to be on a yacht sipping champagne every Sunday? Taking an hour every Sunday evening to map out your next week not only helps you have a more productive week, but it gets you in the right mindset to start the week strong. I spend an hour before bed every Sunday planning several aspects of my business. You hit the ground running each week when you put in that little hour of preparation.
13. Automate and systemize everything.
Identify every moving part of your business, from your marketing process to your customer acquisition to purchase fulfillment and create ways to make every step easier. Is there a part of your business that slows you down or frustrates you? Find a way to make challenging aspects work on autopilot and it will free you up to tackle other responsibilities and make your business run smoother.
What are some of your favorite productivity hacks? Share them with us in the comments section below.