Most entrepreneurs have had a full work week by the time it’s Wednesday, with them sacrificing everything from their family to their sleep at the altar of success. That’s exhausting, stressful and often not very productive. After all, we need all of that. It’s important that we’ve got a good work to life balance – and that’s even true when we’re entrepreneurs! I mean, isn’t the reason all of us decide to go do our own thing so that we end up having more control over our own lives? How does working 12 hours day figure into that?
What you need is better time management. If we can use our time more effectively, then there will be time left over for family friends and finally working off some of that sleep deficit. Sounds pretty good, right? So how do you do that?
Make sure you see sunlight and greenery
Get out and see a bit of greenery and sunlight in the morning. Sunlight balances your circadian rhythms. These determine when you feel awake and when you feel sleepy. If you can make certain that you get morning sunlight you’re far more likely to feel awake and energized during the morning and you’ll find it far easier to sleep deeply at night – both things that will make you more productive in the long run. Besides, it feels good!
Greenery is similarly important. More and more studies are showing the incredible benefits of regularly seeing greenery, with it reducing anxiety, depression and rumination and even making you physically healthier. How much healthier? Just having 10 more trees in your city block is equivalent to being 7 years younger. The energy of youth without the stupidity sounds pretty good to me!
Eat that frog
Make sure you eat that frog. What do I mean with that? I mean that you take whatever you’re looking forward to least and you get it out of the way first. Yes, that sounds horrible, but you’ve got to trust me on this. The more time you leave the least appetizing problems, the bigger and more insurmountable they will feel. And, more importantly, the more time you’ll spend ruminating and stressing out about it.
Now that is anything but productive!
A much better idea is to get it out of the way first. That way that weight will be off your shoulders and you’ll be able to engage with the rest of your day in a far better mood and get a great deal more done.
We’re horrible at multitasking. In fact, it has even been linked to brain damage. So don’t do it. Instead, learn to single task. It’s not that hard. Just make certain that you do only one thing at a time. The best way to do it is to switch off anything that might try to get your attention for the time that the task takes – so turn off email, social media, news sites and even your phone. Then work at the task for an allotted time or until it’s done. After that, you can check all your connections again.
This strategy works far better than multitasking. What’s more, the very act of ordering your engagement with the outside world in this way turns communication from a distraction into a reward, which serves to make it far more enjoyable.
We’re all built differently. Some of us work best in the morning, some of us work best late at night. Arrange your day accordingly. Choose to do the tasks that require the most effort when you’re the most focused while things that don’t require quite as much finesse are scheduled for the less productive times.
Some quick pointers:
- Most of us are at our most productive around 9 o’clock so don’t waste that time answer emails. Keep those for later.
- We all experience dips just before and just after meals so don’t plan to do important work then.
- If you do have to do important work, don’t eat something heavy. Light meals can give you energy. Heavy meals can take it away.
- There is another natural dip around 5 o’clock in the evening which might be a good time to take a break or answer some emails.
Delegate and don’t micromanage
You’ve got to delegate the less important tasks. Don’t have anybody to delegate to? Then outsource. There are so many services online nowadays that can help you do the mundane stuff so that you can focus on what really matters. For example, have you ever considered outsourcing your paperwork? There are sites with experienced staff on hand to churn out high-quality texts so you don’t have to. Check out these writing website reviews to see which site you can trust.
Also, don’t micromanage! It’s wasteful of all your time and is immensely frustrating and demotivating for the person you’re doing it too. Instead, let them get on with it and then give them pointers afterward. That way they’ll keep motivated and you’ll keep producing.
The key is balance
It really is. If you can make certain that you’ve got a good balance between your work and your life then you’ll find that you’re far more productive when you’re actually working. What’s more, you’ll spend far less time picking up the pieces of your personal life (which is stressful in and of itself).
For that reason, take breaks. I now work mornings and nights, myself. I take off after lunch for a couple of hours, since I’m not really that productive then anyway and those are the nicest hours of the day to get out the house. Then I get back to it a little later and work into the evenings. The rest in the middle of the day serves to make both periods of productivity far more effective, with me frequently needing only half the time in the evenings I would have needed right after lunch. Now if that isn’t good time management, I don’t know what is!