8 Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs That Don’t Include “Waking Up Early”
Isn’t it weird that in a world where we seem to be working 24–7 it can still feel like you get nothing done? Days are flooded with emails, meetings, and push notifications and we’re still expected to meet deadlines. As the world becomes more connected, pushing us to work odder hours, managing our time has to be at the top of our ‘to-do lists’.
These days I’m running 7twelve Marketing, consulting businesses on their sales strategies, and doing what I can to give back to my community along the way. I’ve learned that being busy and being productive are two very different things and only one of them really matter.
Before I take anymore of your time, here are some of my hacks that will help you get more out of your day.
1. Schedule Phone Calls or Video Chats
Many of your client’s or company’s needs can be resolved in a phone call. If you feel like they need a little more love, schedule a Google Hangout to get some much needed face-time. Remember, even if it only takes 15 minutes to get to your client’s office, you can save more than 30 minutes and that time can add up very quickly. Speaking of meetings…
2. Create an Agenda for Every Meeting
We’ve all been there — those long, dragging, meetings where nothing is really getting accomplished. Your agenda should primarily be made up of decisions that need to be made, and anything that needs to be ‘discussed’ should be at the end of your agenda. More often than not you’ll find that discussion topics become irrelevant after all your decisions have been made.
3. Don’t be Afraid of Half-Time
If you’re creating an agenda for every meeting, you should have no problem cutting those hour-long meet-ups down to 30 minutes. With enough practice you’ll be able to cut these down to 15 minutes and have more time for everything else.
4. Put Your Phone on Silent
I know it’s hard but your Instagram notifications really aren’t doing you much good. 30 minute tasks easily become 3 hour projects when you allow yourself to get distracted by nonsense. I’ve recently discovered that the world stays intact even if you take a little longer to respond to text messages.
5. Schedule Your Desk Work Before You Schedule Meetings
Instead of trying fit your desk work between meetings, schedule your desk work and make it a priority. By scheduling time to focus on your projects, you’ll not only complete them faster, but you’ll also produce better work.
Side note: It’s my personal opinion that nurturing your current clients is more valuable and takes precedent over searching for new ones. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be searching for new clients, but it’s much easier to keep and up-sell a current client than find a new one.
6. Chunk Your Email Time then Put Them Away
This is straight out of Tim Ferris’s book “The 4-Hour Work Week”. Byscheduling time to respond to your emails instead of responding every time one pops up, you’ll greatly increase productivity for yourself, and for your clients. Read How to Check E-mail Twice a Day… And Have Your Boss Accept It by Tim Ferris for a great way to start this hack.
7. Give Yourself an Extra Day (or Two)
By telling your clients that they’ll have things like proposals, recaps, or reports ‘by Thursday evening’ instead of ‘tomorrow’ or ‘end of day’ does a few things for you. First — it allows you to be more effective in what you’re currently working on, and it will also start to create more realistic expectations for your clients’ for future needs.
8. Know When to take a Break
Allow your brain a breather. When you find yourself ‘trying to stay busy’ it’s probably more productive to actually stop working, take a walk, and look at your day or week from a 30 thousand foot level to discover how to make the most impact on your work.