The elusive “work-life balance” we hear so much about these days…does it exist? Any entrepreneur who doesn’t clock in or out at a 9-5 job knows that time is money, especially when your productivity determines your profitability. Here are 8 genius life hacks to get things done as an entrepreneur on the go:
- Follow the two minute rule. David Allen, a time management consultant and best-selling author, developed this rule: “If you determine an action can be done in two minutes, you actually should do it right then because it’ll take longer to organize it and review it than it would be to actually finish it the first time you notice it.” Allen suggests cleaning up your inbox, purging your files, setting up appointments and sending a quick email when you have little windows of time throughout the day. If it will take longer than two minutes, save it for later.
- Turn off notifications. Keeping social media and email distractions to an absolute minimum allows you to focus on the task at hand. Set aside specific times of day to check your email, or check it while on the go.
- Define your MITs. Decide what your Most Important Task (or tasks) are and make time to get them done. It’s an age-old rule that is practically foolproof. Give yourself several minutes in the morning or even at night to identify 3-5 important things you have to get done. Even if you don’t accomplish anything else that day, you can feel at ease knowing that you were still productive.
- Knock out the most important things in the morning. Speaking of MITs, research shows that morning people are more productive and proactive. Getting your MITs done early sets you on a productive path for the day.
- Set deadlines for yourself. Write important dates on the calendar and set the completion dates for large tasks before you even start them. Start on them early so that when problems arise, you can troubleshoot and still be done by the deadline you had originally set. Become your own boss and hold yourself to the timeline you set.
- Reward yourself for completing a task. It could be a quick stroll outside, a piece of candy, or a new item of clothing you’ve had your eye on. Treat yourself as you close the book on large projects, and allow that to motivate and inspire you to complete the next task. Hint: Be even more productive by completing an unpleasant but necessary task, and then rewarding yourself with a more enjoyable task that still pertains to your business. Example: finish your SEO or PPC advertising for the day, reward yourself with a product photography session or a new blog post.
- Stop trying to multitask. There is a plethora of research behind multi-tasking, and the latest completely debunks the possibility. Constant task-switching develops bad habits and makes it nearly impossible to accomplish any one thing. While multitasking helps us feel accomplished and capable, it also produces more stress hormones and kills overall productivity.
- Know when it’s time to call it a day. You know yourself well enough to know when enough is enough. If you’ve been staring at your computer screen for 14 hours and feel like you can’t do any more, don’t. You’ll boost productivity in the long run by staying rested and refreshed.
What hacks have worked to boost your productivity as an entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments!
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.