How to increase your business productivity and still have time for yourself

You want to work more on your business’ online presence but you seem to always run out of time juggling everything in your life. We can help you with tips on how to balance your life and hopefully maximize your schedule (without compromising your health or sanity).

1. Have an idea notebook

The key to productivity is quantity of ideas. If you have 10 ideas, 5 might be worth working on, 3 might take you to the next step and 1 will be the jackpot. Often, we forget ideas at a split second when another distraction comes our way and we slap ourselves later for forgetting it.

You never know, the next great thing is just in your head and quickly visualizing it on paper is the only way to “flesh” the idea into reality.

2. Remember, there’s a difference between HARD working and SMART working

Think about it. A small business owner can work non-stop for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week but it won’t help him compete with his multi-million competitors. If this is the absolute reality, there shouldn’t be any successful small startups nowadays like Instagram and Snapchat. Yes, luck has part in their success but efficiency is the name of their game.

You need to learn how to spend the least amount of energy to get the most benefits since being productive is less about time management and more on managing your energy. Ever heard of the adage “less is more”?

How do you go about being a SMART worker? See tips below.

2.1. Stop working overtime and increase your productivity

According to a study titled “Scheduled Overtime Effect on Construction Projects

Where a work schedule of 60 or more hours per week is continued longer than about two months, the cumulative effect of decreased productivity will cause a delay in the completion date beyond that which could have been realized with the same crew size on a 40-hour week.

In our current workplace, anyone doing overtime is considered a valuable asset to the company. There is nothing wrong about it when it is necessary but to do it daily and sacrifice other aspects of life isn’t.

2.2 Get enough sleep

According to Sara Robinson from an article for AlterNet, a research conducted by the US military revealed that “losing one hour of sleep per night for a week will cause a level of cognitive degradation equivalent to a .10 blood alcohol level.”

So if you remember the feeling of ‘sluggishness’ coming to work in the morning and you didn’t party hard the night before, you can attribute that from lack of sleep.

If you don’t believe in the power of sleep, check out the geniuses behind the “power naps”:

* Leonardo da Vinci took multiple naps a day and slept less at night.
* The French Emperor Napoleon indulged in taking naps daily.
* Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, used to boost her energy by napping before speaking engagements.
* Though criticized for it, President Ronald Reagan famously took naps as well.

Source: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Everyday

2.3 AVOID saying “yes” to often

Always remember the Pareto Principle:
20% of the effort produce 80% of the results; however,20% of the results consumes 80% of the effort.

Don’t work harder. Instead, focus primarily on efforts that will produce 80% of results and forgo the rest. You will have more time then to focus on more important tasks.

Say “no” to tasks that bring low or almost no result.

2.4 Stop doing everything. Let other people help

Help is always available. You need to understand when to let someone, who can do a better job take over some of your tasks. It will give you more time to focus on your most important tasks instead of trying to figure out everything yourself. Let other experts help you.

2.5 Stop being a perfectionist

Reasons why being a perfectionist wouldn’t always make you a smart worker:

* You spend more time than required on a task
* You procrastinate and wait for the perfect moment. In business, if it is the perfect moment, you are too late
* You miss the big picture while being too focused on small things

Instead, concentrate on multiple small wins throughout the day. Give yourself a small reward at the end of a productive day.

2.6 Start Automating Repetitive Tasks

You can code your own automation software. If you don’t have programming skills, you can buy the tools. Remember, time IS money.

People usually do things manually because it’s easy and requires almost no research. But if you have too many things on your plate, automation becomes your best friend.

If you still can’t find a solution, you can hire an expert to help you. Keep in mind that you need to spend money to make money and that time is your most valuable commodity.

2.7 Use Data to back up decisions

If you can optimize websites for search engines, why can’t you optimize your life for maximum potential?

There is a study stating that most working people get distracted from noon to 4PM. This research came from Robert Matchock, an associate professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University

Keep asking yourself how you’re going to measure and optimize everything you do. You need it to balance everything in your life.

2.8 Stop working and have a do-nothing time

Alone time and meditation is good for the body and spirit. Most people don’t realize that we’re essentially locking ourselves in a box when we are too focused on something.

4. Do Structured Procastination

We think this is better left explained by an expert.

Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.

Source: Structured Procastination

For a layman explanation:

Structured procrastination is about deceiving yourself by making your task list less horrifying to look at. It doesn’t change anything that you have to get done, and it plays to the strengths of procrastinators. If you really struggle with procrastination, it’s one way that makes the most important task on your list a little easier to actually start working on. Head over to 99U for the full explanation.

Source: Why Structured Procastination Makes Your Dreaded Task Easier to Get Done

5. Match tasks to time of the day

Divide your day in 3 categories.

A = your highest energy time (this could be when you are fresh coming to work)
B = your average energy time (after lunch till noon)
C = your dull time (few hours before end of work-shift)

Separate your tasks wherein those that fall under A requires all your attention and ingenuity, while those under C are the mundane tasks you can do in your sleep.

6. Maximize working on one thing at a time

This will go against all convention regarding multi-tasking. It does have its benefits but it doesn’t run parallel to the workings of our brain.

Imagine a pie chart. Whatever you have to do (your tasks) is going to take up a part of that pie. There’s not a lot left over for other things except for automatic behaviours like walking or chewing gum.

Moving back and forth between tasks wastes productivity. Your attention is expended on the act of switching gears and you never get fully in the zone for any activity. It slows down productivity and you are also susceptible to mistakes.

It also adds up to your stress levels especially for those who are constantly accessed to their emails. They are always on “high alert” with higher heart rates.

Also, according to a research from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Too much focus can actually harm performance on creative problem-solving tasks,” the authors wrote intheir 2010 study. With so much already going on in their heads, they suggest, multitaskers often find it harder to daydream and generate spontaneous “a ha moments”.

Source: 12 Reasons to Stop Multi Tasking Now

7. Try the 33:33 Method

This technique came from famous copywriter Eugen Schwartz.

Set a timer for 33:33. Within that timeframe, you concentrate on nothing but the work on hand. No distractions. No emails, no phone calls, NOTHING. As soon as timer goes off – STOP! Even if the work is not done. Take a 5 minute break. You can go to the bathroom, return a phone call or even just close your eyes a bit.

Rinse and repeat.

A similar time management technique, called Pomodoro uses the same method but takes on an initial 25 minute work and 5 minute break intervals.

8. Schedule your free time

It’s funny how some is obsessed with schedules but often forget the most important schedule of all. You must have time for yourself! Your time for R&R is just as important as your work time.

Put it in your schedule so you have balance in your life.

9. AVOID these at all costs!

* Allowing distraction to overcome you
* Not setting concrete goals [either for a workday or for a month or for the fiscal year]
* Setting too many unrealistic goals
* Going on a business spending spree – many entrepreneurs do this with the belief of solving a problem through seminars, getting the latest tools, etc.
* Neglecting your health. Remember, health is wealth
* Steering clear of tough decisions
* Not having a full breakfast

Do you have anything to add to this list? Feel free to add anything by replying below.

If you feel overwhelmed with things you have to do for your business’ online presence, we can help you strategize your marketing process with our team of expert individuals.

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