As I’m sure you know, when you are a business owner, you do all the things and wear all the hats; at least right at first.
Sometimes, it can feel incredibly overwhelming not to mention chaotically busy.
At times, I’ve felt less than productive. Like I was just going through my day fighting fires and executing menial tasks. While some days that may inevitably happen, I find a lot of entrepreneurs can get sucked into the not urgent or important items and let that take up all of their time, energy, and focus.
Then you look up and two months has gone by without accomplishing what you set out to do. (Are you shaking your head yes in agreement with me?!)
So, how can we increase productivity and decrease not urgent and not important tasks?
My 10 Tried + True Productivity Tips For Creative Entrepeneurs
Prioritize your tasks.
I don’t mean organize them, I mean prioritize them. What tasks are you giving the most urgency and importance to? Are those tasks what needs to be done today, right now? If the answer if no, then drop what you are doing and get back on task.
Menial tasks like scrolling social media, watching Netflix, responding to unimportant emails, texts, and phone calls, and dilly dallying should all be move to the unimportant list and ignored at all costs until your work is done for the day.
2. Do your most agonizing tasks first.
I hate to admit it, but doing the tasks that you really aren’t looking forward to first are going to give you small wins and momentum to really take on your day and be super productive. I think of it as getting over a hurdle or roadblock, so that the rest of my day is just smooth sailing. In other words, don’t put off that difficult conversation, nerve wrecking email, or unanticipated phone call — you’ll be glad you did that first.
3. Have a TA-DA list.
Sometimes I get inundated with all the work and feel really overwhelmed by a big project or lengthy to do list. When I start to feel that way or feel the monster of procrastination over my shoulder, I pull up my ta-da list, not my to do list. A ta-da list is a list on your phone of all the things — large or small — that you’ve already mastered, conquered, or accomplished. When you give yourself that perspective, I find it fires me into motivation to take on the day and complete any task at hand. My productivity increases three fold this way!
4. Stop giving all your mental focus away.
I don’t mean focusing on one task here, which is super productive, but I mean stop giving all your attention to a task or project you really don’t want to do and procrastinate the heck out of it; then spend more time thinking about the task, worrying about it, pushing it off, coming back to it, etc. This one tiny, menial, annoying little task is taking up valuable energy and brain power you could be using to focus on other, more important business things.
Get it done first and let it go, so you can move forward and move on in your business.
To give you an example, I hate making appointments to have work done on my car, so I will put it off and procrastinate forever, but what I didn’t realize is that one silly phone call is taking up so much of my time and mental energy that I could use to do more productive things!
5. Set Yourself Up For Success
Preparedness is the key for any kind of success in life. How are you setting up your days? Are you running around like a chicken with your head cut off? Or are you preparing yourself in advance, so you can focus on more important things during office / business time?
For instance, in my YouTube video, I talk about the importance of a morning routine. When I take time the night before to lay out my clothes, prep coffee, make a green smoothie (which gives me three days of goodness!), make dinner (which becomes my lunch the next day), plan my day in advance, etc, my day runs more smoothly, I’m not focusing on simple tasks like figuring out what to eat for breakfast or what I’m going to wear, all that energy is saved to create content, edit, be creative, daydream, what have you.
Preparing yourself in advance may only take ten to fifteen minutes out of your evening, but it will make the following day go by more smoothly and stress free.
6. Use the five second rule.
I have to give this productivity tip to the productivity Queen, Mel Robbins (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, watch this video!). It’s just ingenious after all.
”We are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult. Our brains are designed to protect ourselves from those things.”
If there is ever something you don’t feel like doing, that’s hard or challenging, or that you have been procrastinating on, countdown from five and then launch into action. It’s that simple. In five seconds we can dramatically change the course of our day, our goals, and our business.
We have to retrain our brains to be comfortable in doing the hard, challenging, and uncomfortable things in life.
7. Have a dance party.
Yes, you read that right a dance party. I recently listened back to one of Rachel Hollis’ Made For More talks where she encourages you to get amped up before sitting down to do work as a means of motivation. For fifteen seconds (or however long really) blast that favorite music of yours that makes you feel like a boss and when you are done, sit down and get sh*t done.
The energy you cultivate, the endorphins, and the feeling you get from having a mini dance party is all it takes to reset your mindset and get you back into crazy productive action.
Ever hit that three o’clock slump? Yeah, me too. Your brain is thinking you’re tired, but most often, it’s crashing from your morning sugar and caffeine intake.
The best way I have found to get over the mid day fatigue is to hydrate all day long. Keeping the body hydrated from the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed is going to boost your energy, detoxify your body, and prevent you from craving lots of salty and sugary snacks we often reach for mid day when we are feeling like a sweet pick me up. Your skin will look great, too.
Hydration is essential for keeping your health a priority when you’ve got your head down in the productivity tunnel.
9. Work for twenty five minutes, then take a break.
I’ve added the Noisli extension to my Google Chrome, which not only lets you choose soothing sounds to listen to you as you work (that make your brain happy), but every twenty five minutes, the music will shut off reminding you to take a break.
Stand up, move around, do some yoga breathing, drink some water — all of which will help keep your energy up throughout the day and make you way more productive!
10. Stop overthinking it.
You are probably asking, overthinking what? Everything. Your life, your career choice, your lack of, your current social status, the level you are at in your business… spending our days overthinking where we aren’t instead of where we should be is the direct enemy of action. Action is what changes your life, not thoughts.
So, no matter where you are, you can change it. Stop overthinking it, get to work, and make things happen.