Time is everything when you run a business. Sometimes it feels like you have too much of it, and the responsibility to use it wisely can be crushing. Sometimes there’s too much to do and too little time to do it in. Errands, administrative tasks, blog updates, and, well, the actual work can all feel a bit overwhelming.
Luckily, there are a few ways to improve your productivity without sacrificing your sanity.
Value Your Time
So many people don’t value their time. That’s because they don’t have a goal for the minutes and hours they spend, and they end up wasting time because they don’t understand what it is that they’re wasting. Keep your greater purpose and the purpose of each task you perform in mind, and you’ll be much more likely to use your time wisely.
There’s always tomorrow, until there isn’t. We all know this on some level, but so many of us choose to ignore the non-renewable nature of time. Instead of beating yourself up over time wasted, focus on figuring out why it is that you put things off. Is it a fear of failure, exhaustion, or a genuine lack of interest in the work you’re doing? Or, perhaps, you don’t have a motivating purpose for the task.
Productivity hacks are great, but understanding why you put things off is key to fostering a sense of urgency in your work. Everything is fixable if you know what the problem is—and it’s not just “procrastination”.
The Multi-Tasking Myth
We all want to be superman or superwoman when it comes to our businesses, but the fact is that science has proven that multitasking actually cuts down on productivity. That’s because it doesn’t really exist. We often think that we’re focusing on several tasks at once, but what we’re actually doing is switching from one task to another very quickly.
Focus on one task at a time, then move on to the next one. Otherwise, each one will end up done half as well as you’re capable of, or they’ll each take twice as long to complete. Efficiency is everything, and efficiency takes focus.
Distractions Will Be Your Downfall
Distractions are everywhere. I get it. Your coffee cup is empty. You have to call a client and catch up about this season’s projects. You’ll miss the latest news if you don’t check in on Facebook. The new season of such-and-such just came out on Netflix.
This is where focusing on one task at a time comes back into play. Instead of attempting to banish distractions from your life, make time for them. Schedule your Netflix time for the same hour every evening. Take a ten-minute break every two hours to browse Facebook. Make distractions a scheduled part of your day and you’ll be less likely to get distracted when it’s time to get down to business.
Take Care of Yourself
Of course your business is important. You enjoy it, it brings value to your life, and you need it to survive. But, when you care about something, it’s easy to become so hyper-focused on it that you forget about what really drives its success: you.
And that’s a recipe for burnout. You don’t want to start resenting something you love.
Don’t forget that there are other things in your life that you care about, too. Take that hour a week to meet your parents for dinner. Indulge your love of art and let yourself unwind by painting at night. Check yourself when you’re tempted to tell friends that you have too much work to go out.
Fulfilling your soul is crucial if you want to keep the fires of success and motivation burning strong.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.