The life of an entrepreneur or of someone running a business is dynamic, in the fast lane, and hectic. To say ‘busy’ is an understatement. Your calendar is full for the next few weeks, months even. You work long hours and need an assistant to help you manage your time, remind you of your appointments, and take away much of the minutiae tasks from your table.
As much as you try to tackle as much work as possible, tasks keep piling up. You’re still behind your work schedule, barely making the deadlines, and missing a lot of opportunities. One key element of a successful entrepreneur is being a trailblazer. Success means being the innovator, of staying ahead of your competitors, and leading the pack. And to lead the pack, you need to manage your most important asset – your time.
Here are five techniques that will help entrepreneurs improve productivity and work efficiency.
- Get into the right mood
Start your day preparing yourself for work. Have a good night’s rest, eat a filling breakfast, and dress comfortably and appropriately. Being physically prepared and composed will help you get into your work mood. Keeping a positive and optimistic outlook will also boost your drive and productivity. People in a bad mood are distracted, impatient, and prone to procrastinate, commit errors, and drastic decisions. Exercising, putting on your favorite music, and even a good cup of coffee will help lighten up your mood.
- Delegate as much as you can
Every entrepreneur must learn the art of delegation. An assistant can only help you with your miscellaneous tasks. As your company grows, you’ll need people who will take care of major processes within the company – payroll, accounting, operations, marketing, warehousing, and HR are some of the key departments that should be handled by professionals and are best delegated. The key to successful delegating is matching the right people with the right tasks. Hire the best, train them well, and provide them with tools needed to accomplish their jobs.
- Develop a working system
Everybody works differently. Some people are more productive at night, while others in the early morning. Some people prefer solitude and silence, while others work better in open surroundings. Many accomplish more with multitasking, while others prefer focused work. There is no one best way to work. Find what works best for you and develop a work system around it. If you’re a night owl, do not force yourself to work early mornings. If you’re more productive working from home than when in the office, set up a home office.
- Eliminate distractions
Distractions are the main culprits of poor productivity. Phone calls, emails, instant messages, and employees coming up with a question or just to chat are work distractions that will keep you from focusing on tasks. These might look like work and should, therefore, be attended to, but these are interruptions to your work and thought flow. To cover more work, eliminate distractions while working on a task. Close the door, turn off chat and email notifications, and let your assistant filter phone calls.
- Always start with a plan
A plan will help you work more efficiently and get more things done. Lump similar tasks together – meetings and interviews can be done one after the other, so you only need to go to the conference room once. Tasks outside the office can be done right before or after lunch, so you only need to leave the office once. Read and answer emails only a few times during the day, so it will not interrupt your other tasks. Have a list of tasks and prioritize them according to urgency and importance. Delegate what you can and work first on the most urgent and important.