When you run your own business there’s a constant pressure to get more done. Your to do list is endless. There’s always one more thing you could be doing to boost your bottom line.
The plethora of productivity tips and systems out there show that just about everyone wants to get more done in less time. The danger of a productivity system is that it can become just one more thing on your to do list.
If you want to supercharge your productivity in a simple and sustainable way, follow these five tips.
1. Do less.
It sound counterintuitive, but the secret to achieving more is to do less. One of the challenges of starting a business is that there are an infinite number of things you could focus on: content creation, social media, SEO, marketing, branding, product creation, email sequences, and the list goes on.
Identify the things that are most important for your business. These should be items that help you achieve your short or long-term goals. Focus relentless on those tasks. Ignore everything else, at least for now.
Another advantage of doing less is that you’ll do everything better. When you can focus on just a few types of tasks, you’ll quickly become an expert. You’ll also perfect your systems and learn how to accomplish those tasks more quickly. This kind of sustained focus on fewer tasks will benefit your business infinitely more than doing a poor job at an overwhelming number of things.
2. Break the rules.
If I had a penny for every article about productivity hacks, I would be a millionaire. Some of these hacks are great, some are terrible, and some conflict. Truly productive people know that the best productivity system is the one that works for you.
Know your own work style. Experiment with different productivity systems or hacks and see what fits best for your personality and your business. Then stick with it.
Don’t mindlessly follow a system or rule just because everyone else is doing it. The beauty of running your own business is that you’re the boss. Do what works best for you.
3. Follow a routine.
Yes, you have the freedom to do whatever you want all day. But you’ll get more done if you create a consistent schedule and stick to it.
It’s too easy to get distracted when you don’t know what you should be working on. Creating a consistent work routine automates your schedule and cuts down on decision fatigue.
When you know that you always have client phone calls on Tuesdays, write content on Wednesday mornings, and review your business metrics and accounts on the last day of the month, it’s easy to stay focused. When you have no idea what you should be working on, it’s easy to spend four hours straight on social media.
4. Lower your expectations.
Some people thrive under the pressure of extreme goals. Most of us don’t. One of the best ways to build momentum in your business is to set small, easily achievable benchmarks, and celebrate each small win.
When a task seems insurmountable, most people procrastinate or even give up on it. You can consciously overcome this challenge by limiting your to do list, budgeting more time for each project, and setting more short-term goals.
Aim to have just 3-5 items on your to do list each day. On most days, you’ll complete everything on the list, which will leave you feeling successful and motivated for the next day’s tasks.
Most tasks take longer to complete than we imagine, so budget extra time for every project. When you consistently run behind, you’ll feel stressed and the quality of your work will suffer. When you have enough time to do everything well, you’ll feel more engaged with your work and consistently complete your to-do list.
5. Set a Timer
It’s easy to get distracted. You start researching a topic for a blog post, and four hours later you’ve got 12 browser tabs open and nothing written down. Set a timer to limit how much time you spend on those amorphous tasks that could take an hour or a week.
If you find that you’re consistently running behind schedule, you can also use a timer to track how long you spend on each task. Use this data to adjust your schedule and your to do list.
You have the power to increase your productivity, and it doesn’t require fancy tools or complicated systems. By prioritizing your tasks, creating a routine that fits your work style, and monitoring yourself, you’ll get more done and you’ll do those things well.
Have a simple and sustainable productivity tip? Share in the comments.