Have you ever wondered what’s needed to be a successful entrepreneur? If so, you’re in luck – because the answer is pretty simple:
You need to get your sh*t done.
It might not sound pretty – but that’s the way it is. You need to move mountains and be as productive as you can be. Why spend days on 3 when it can be finished in hours?
And yes – while I’m writing this post I’m in Argentina (currently in Buenos Aires) where I’ll be traveling for a 3-4 months – which makes it even more challenging to focus on the business.
So I’m sure you’ll agree that being productive all the time is easier said than done. You might wake up in the morning being completely ready to “kick some ass” – only to find yourself wasting a few hours each day on stuff that you really shouldn’t have spent any time on.
With various businesses that require my time and attention (while also wanting to get the most out of Argentina) I really can’t afford to waste any time. So how do I stay productive?
Here’s what works for me:
1. Start with short but difficult tasks each day.
This might seem contradictory… but starting with a short difficult task boosts productivity a lot. It immediately triggers your brain and gets you in “the zone” instead of slowly waking up with some easy tasks. Personally I prefer to keep this task short. Long enough to activate my brain, but short enough not to run into a “block”.
2. Plan ahead.
Plan, plan, plan. Nothing more deadly than to start working… without knowing what you’ll be working on. I usually start by making monthly plans, wherein I plan the whole week in advance every Sunday night. It helps a lot if you know where you’re heading!
3. Create a todo-list.
Yes – it’s an open door… but I needed to mention it anyway. I simply can’t live without my to-do list app which I’m using for both business and personal aspects.
4. Set a maximum time per task.
It may be common and overused by many, but it is also one of the most effective productivity hacks that I know. I usually set a time for each of my tasks because if I don’t, I might just continue doing one task, leaving the others behind schedule.
5. Use templates and systems.
Another productivity hack that helps me save time is the use of templates and systems. Templates help me cut the time in replying to most-asked questions as well as achieving a smooth flow with some of the important business tasks that I tackle. For example, a tool called aText is perfect for automatically writing certain replies. Instead of typing the same answer over and over again, just type one word and be done with it.
Having a systematised process is also crucial. You won’t believe how much of your daily tasks can be 1) automated or 2) systemized and outsourced. One of my favorite automation apps is Zapier, which makes all sorts of tools work together without manual intervention.
6. De-clutter your workstation.
When you own a desk that is full of unnecessary stuff, it’s time to clean up. I always find a cluttered desk a hindrance to being productive. Perhaps it is the disorganised things lying around that block my concentration. With a much cleaner workstation, you get to free your mind, enabling you to think properly.
7. Listen to something productive.
Listening to audiobooks & podcasts helps me to boost my motivation and be more productive during the day. I love listening to audiobooks such as The TenX Rule, The Lean Startup & the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, as well as to podcasts like Mixergy, The Rocket Ship & Smart Passive Income.
8. Surround yourself with people where you want to be.
The best way to motivate yourself is to spend time with your “examples” – people who give you energy and motivation – instead of those who suck the energy out of you. Want to achieve something? Mingle with those who already achieved it.
9. Remember to Eat, Sleep, Breathe
“Work hard, play hard” – it’s something I live by. I love to work hard – but I play hard as well. Whenever I feel my brain is cluttered, I go out and do something fun like playing squash or riding on my bike. These are the things that I do to clear my thoughts of negativities and stress, and get ready for another tough day. Eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep for a better you. More importantly, make sure that there’s a balance between work and play.
How do you stay productive?
These 9 things help me to get the most out of my day, but do they work for you as well? I’d be interested to hear what your favorite is – or if you have any ideas and suggestions. Let me know in the comments below!