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21 actionable productivity tips for entrepreneurs


Productivity tips for entrepreneurs
Photo by Chandri Anggara on Unsplash

How can you build a productive entrepreneurial business?


Understanding how you can make your business more productive is fundamental for your entrepreneurial businesses.


Learning how to work faster and efficiently perform deliver products or services is the main reason why entrepreneurial businesses owners should improve their working practises.


You can become more productive by following the tips, below:

  1. Avoiding spreading yourself too thin and taking on too much responsibility

  2. Learning how to effectively prioritise your responsibilities

  3. Understanding that you should be working on your business more than working within your business

  4. Organising (and keeping to) a specific routine,

  5. Learning to focus the early part of your day on decision making

  6. Using the latter part of the day to concentrate on technical or domain specific work

  7. Delegating responsibilities to other team members (or creating a team)

  8. Acknowledging that success is more difficult outside of your area of expertise

  9. Progressing towards your goals a little each day

  10. Saying no to anything that will not drive you forward

  11. Taking the time to review your recent performance and look for improvements

  12. Reducing the number of meetings to regain more time for productive work

  13. Working with employees, staff, freelancers and partners on strategic tasks

  14. Removing as many distractions and obstructions from your daily routine

  15. Choosing to use email only when necessary

  16. Recording all of your thinking in a structured manner

  17. Focussing on yourself and your mental health

  18. Taking regular breaks to recharge during the working day as required

  19. Using tools to assist with planning and organisation

  20. Finding people that share your vision and will work for your success

  21. Arranging distraction free conversations and meetings

1. Avoiding spreading yourself too thin and taking on too much responsibility


Depending on the nature of your business or entrepreneurial project; it’s probably possible for you perform all activities and tasks. However, taking 100% responsibility for everything will quickly lead to poor output, missed deadlines and diminishing returns.


You’re only one person and no matter how productive you try to be, it’s impossible for you to be everywhere at once. Reduce your responsibilities to the most important actions, so you can concentrate on quality above quantity.


2. Learning how to effectively prioritise your responsibilities


List your daily actions and rank them based on desired completion date and what would happen if they were not completed. The issues that are more important to the business and it’s success should naturally identify themselves.


If you had several tasks legal documentation tasks; responding to social media DMs or completing customer actions should not be high on your list. Therefore, you should decide which task or action would drive the most forward motion within your business.

The decisions will not be same for every business and will not be the same everyday. Changing business priorities happen organically and will need to be assessed daily.


3. Understanding that you should be working on your business more than working within your business


It’s easy to get caught up in the day to do responsibilities of a business or entrepreneurial project. Keeping your head down until various tasks are complete is an easy thing to do.


However, keeping yourself busy is not the same as taking a strategic view of your business and thinking about what needs to happen to drive your business forward. Take the time to think about your business and understand everything from a higher level.


Higher-level business thinking is the only way to choose the most effective and efficient business actions rather than focussing the majority of your time on intricate details.


4. Organising (and keeping to) a specific routine


Life is easier when you do not have to think about what you’re going to do next and you just know what to do next. This is when things move from a conscious action or task to an unconscious habit.

Using the brains ability to create habitual actions as a mechanism for making forward progress and reducing thought is the same concept for personal and business productivity.


If you can repeatedly schedule the same actions at the same time each day, it will help you to perform activities without having to think about your next steps. This leaves your brain to concentrate on the work rather than what you need to do at different points in the day.


5. Scheduling the early part of your day to decision making

Making decisions for your entrepreneurial project or small business can be tough and you will need to get yourself into a position where you can decide on the next steps. This is sometimes easier said than done.

Forcing yourself to take the early part of your day to important decisions means you will continually move your business forward. The strategic thinking happens early and you will remove the need to make big decisions in the evening when you may have completed a full day of work.


6. Using the latter part of the day to concentrate on technical or domain specific work

The day-to-day business tasks will not stop. There will always be something you need to do. The day-to-day operational tasks should be handled towards the end of the day, so you can work on higher priority needs when you’re feeling fresh.

The daily grind is something that will always be there, as the business will need to keep operating. Therefore, you should spend the time working on operational tasks when you have completed other higher priority actions.

The technical work will always be there and will always take a lot of time to complete. Therefore, control the work and the pace of the work rather than the work controlling you.


7. Delegating responsibilities to other team members (or creating a team)

Life becomes easier when there are people helping you and encouraging you to make the best decisions for you and your business.

When there are other people working with you; co-founders, business partners, employees, freelancers, it can help you with your daily actions.


Delegating responsibility to team members frees your time to focus on more important decisions, but also helps as there is more than one person working for your success. Multiple people moving in the same direction with the correct guidance will help you get to where you need to go.


8. Acknowledging that success is more difficult outside of your area of expertise


You will have many choices to make when you start business. Deciding to run a business in an area where you do not have the knowledge, skills or contacts is challenging. It’s not impossible, but it’s more potentially more difficult than starting with an existing audience, network or industry knowledge.

If you’re starting a new business outside of your area of expertise, you will have to immerse yourself within the niche, customers and industry knowledge. All of this will make things more difficult for you and take more of your time. If you choose this route, you should be aware of the challenges and set time aside for education and networking.

9. Progressing towards your goals a little each day

It takes to learn how to walk and to communicate and learning how to run your business in the most efficient way is also a time based activity.


Concentrate on forward progress every day and you will eventually get to where you’re going. Small forward progress over a long period of time will keep you moving and improving the longer you run your business.


If you continually improve or progress 1% each day, over the course of a year your business would have a compounded improvement of 3800%. Each day will require you to make impactful decisions and actions, but your business would be unrecognisable from when you first started.


10. Saying no to anything that will not drive you forward

You must be ruthless with your time and decide where you need to spend your time. Time is the one resource that cannot be replenished. Once your time has gone, it’s gone. That’s why you need to be protective of your time, as other responsibilities, other people and distractions can consume your time very quickly.


Once you decided your personal and professional responsibilities, you have to spend the majority of your time committing to the actions that will drive your business forward.


Sometimes there will be conflicts with your personal life and you need to decide what makes the most sense for your life and your business. It’s possible to have a happy personal life and a great business, but you need and act with intention to maintain quality within both of them.


11. Taking the time to review your recent performance and look for improvements


It’s easier to keep moving forward and work through your actions and tasks without thinking about how to improve your performance.


Take the time to review all work and impactful decisions. Running your project or entrepreneurial business might be time consuming, but there is always time to identify where you can improve your performance.


12. Reducing the number of meetings to regain more time for productive work

Humans are naturally social animals. A great number of people like to spend time in the company of others. This also applies to business with; in-person meetings, conference calls or video meetings. Spending unproductive time within a meeting will reduce the time you can spend on other more productive activities.


Try to remove unnecessary meetings and appointments within your calendar. If a meeting is necessary, ensure there is an agenda and you have agreed to the agenda before the meeting. You need to be protective of your time and push all meetings to productive activities.


If there is no agenda, it might be better for you to decline the meeting.


13. Working with employees, staff, freelancers and partners on strategic tasks


You’re the most important part of your business. As the business owner, it will be down to you to think more strategically about how you run your business and work with internal and external colleagues.

Organising your time efficiently is not enough for successful productivity, you have to focus your activities of your colleagues on strategic tasks that you know will help your business reach it’s goals.


14. Removing as many distractions and obstructions from your daily routine


Your life is full of distractions.


The world is trying to grab your attention every day. All businesses and everyone you know competes for your attention. You must choose how much of your time and thoughts will commit to different activities each day. Removing distractions, such as notifications, devices and entertainment are simple approaches to clawing more of your time back.


Obstructions and obstacles will also draw significant amounts of your attention away from your focused work. Anything that prevents you from working or from taking your business forward is an obstruction or an obstacle.


Try to go around the obstruction before solving the issue. Is there something else that you can do that will remove the roadblock? If it seems like a sensible approach and you will not be negatively affected in the future, it makes sense to change your tactics rather than solve a large problem when it may not be necessary.


15. Choosing to use email only when necessary

Email is a wonderful invention and has moved business forward in unimaginable ways.


However, email can be time consuming and can be a substitute for real productive work. If there is something you need to communicate, it might be easier and faster to pick up the phone or use collaboration tools to send a message to your team, partners or customers.

Try not remove yourself from unnecessary email messages and don’t respond to email unless it is absolutely necessary. Try to delegate some of your email responsibilities to other people, so you can free more time within your calendar for productive work.


16. Recording all of your thinking in a structured manner


You will have entrepreneurial thoughts and ideas throughout your life. When your mind is switched on to thinking of business idea. It's only natural to have many different ideas throughout the day.

Take a few moments to note down your thoughts in an app, paper or journal. Find the time to write down your thoughts in a structured format, so you can review later and decide if the ideas could be followed or ignored.


17. Focussing on yourself and your mental health

An entrepreneur life can be stressful and challenging.


You’re likely to feel pressure at all stages of your business, as you plan, start, build, manage, improve and grow your business. Constant focus on work for a long period of time has the possibility to negatively affect all business owners.


Work-life-balance might be a challenging concept for most entrepreneurs, but you need to protect your mental health and well-being throughout your entrepreneurial journey. Try to schedule time away from work based activities every now and then, so you can focus on your personal or family life.


18. Taking regular breaks to recharge during the working day as required

Concentration is a finite resource.


It’s not possible for most people to concentrate for hours and hours and maintain the same level of concentration. Your concentration levels will vary at different times of the day, week, month or year. Sometimes you will have no problems working for long periods whereas other periods will be the opposite.

Either way, you should schedule regular breaks within your working day, so you can maintain peak performance. The focus time is different for everyone, so there is no hard and fast rule, but ensure you take a 5-15 minutes away from your work every 60 or 120 hours. This will help you to recharge your concentration.


19. Using tools to assist with planning and organisation


Business productivity options are everywhere. There are tools for project management, task management, meeting tools and collaboration apps.


The large amount of productivity tool options can make it easy to become overwhelmed within the productivity space. Identifying your business circumstances and personal needs will help you to make choices, which will fit your requirements.


20. Finding people that share your vision and will work for your success


Starting and running a business is easier when there are multiple people pulling in the same direction. Ideally, you want to grow your network, audience, customers and partners in a way that can help you to grow your business.


Finding the people that share your vision and want to become part of your wider team might take a long time but with patience and investigation you can find people that want to become part of what you’re building.


Using social network, forums and groups can help you to collaborate with like-minded people and engage with the right people.

21. Arranging distraction free conversations and meetings

When meeting with colleagues, customers or partners, you should ensure you should concentrate on the meeting and avoid unnecessary distractions, such as responding to IMs or emails.


Completing multiple activities at once is multitasking. Multitasking reduces your effectiveness and productivity across all tasks, because you’re unable to commit your full attention to a single activity. This is a good way to render your all activities as a waste of your time and effort.


If you want to become more productive, there are better approaches to coordinate your time and actions, which do not rely on performing multiple tasks at the same time.

Good luck!


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