Guest Post by Matt Shealy
For most entrepreneurs, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Survival often means compartmentalizing, so you don’t get bogged down in the day-to-day struggles.
Here are five productivity hacks that the busiest entrepreneurs can use to improve efficiency.
It’s not all about high tech, however. If you’re like most of the 5 billion people who have a smartphone, you’re probably using it as your central command center to keep track of appointments, to-do lists, and meetings. It can be a great tool, but it has downsides as well. Studies are showing increased anxiety and even signs of addiction for professionals.
Here’s an alternative: put down the phone for a bit and try creating a bullet journal. It’s like a to-do list on steroids using a pen and a notebook. You’ll be less stressed, remember things more, and get that positive feeling when you manually cross things off the list.
Whether it’s Siri or Alexa, Google or Cortana, voice assistants can help automate tasks and save you time. It’s so much easier to dictate a text or email or schedule a meeting using voice rather than firing up your computer and typing it out.
Stop making lists and put things on the calendar instead. Start with recurring meetings. If possible, line them up for the same time and same day each week. Block off the time for the meetings and schedule the prep time you need separately.
In fact, start scheduling everything. If there’s a deadline, get it on the calendar and break out the action steps and calendar them, too. For example, schedule the due date for that presentation, but also schedule the time to research, prep, and edit the presentation.
Busy entrepreneurs tend to move from one thing to the next quickly. We can easily forget to block out time to think.
According to the results of a study in the Harvard Business Review, 96 percent of business leaders reported they were to busy putting out fires to focus on strategic thinking. Yet, that is one of the single most important aspects of their jobs. It’s especially tough for entrepreneurs who may be wearing a lot of hats, especially in startups.
Put it on your calendar and schedule it. Are you seeing a theme here?
The average professional has some 200 emails sitting in their inbox. When you consider that another 120 new ones show up every day, things can get backed up quickly. The backlog just keeps growing.
Schedule time to go through your emails and stop responding all day long.
If you use Gmail, you may not have noticed the menu options under the Inbox and Starred sections of your primary account. It’s labeled “Snoozed.” When an email arrives, you can send it away until a later time when you want to deal with it.
For Outlook users, Boomerang for Outlook can park emails until you want them to arrive. You can also pause email delivery so you only get emails at certain times.
Successful entrepreneurs are some of the busiest people in business. Their schedules can often start very early in the morning and not end until late evening for weeks on end. These productivity hacks can ensure those entrepreneurs aren’t bogged down in tasks that don’t move a business forward.
Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Shealy specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
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