Entrepreneurs need to be productive with their time.
There are many things to do that will scale up your business – making more sales, improving your product or services, hiring people, planning strategies, etc.
It’s great to have a few intelligent hacks to save time –
- Some will save you precious hours
- A few will save you months
- One hack will save you years! (I’m not kidding!)
But before you discover them, I believe one question is super important – ‘Why do you want free time?’
A clear answer to this single question will fire up your motivation to ‘buy’ time. And once you find it, it’ll be much easier to implement all the productivity hacks mentioned here!
With that said, let’s dive in.
1. Use The Eisenhower Matrix To Structure Long-Term Goals
As an entrepreneur, there will be many things on your to-do list. For instance, there will be enterprise-level tasks like client calls, networking, working with your employees, and individual tasks that you can finish independently.
For that reason, you need first to figure out what your tasks are and structure them into 4 buckets of the Eisenhower Box –
Image credit: James Clear
This is known as the Eisenhower Box, named after the legendary U.S President Dwight Eisenhower, a man who won the most significant war, occupied the most powerful position in the world, and still had time to pursue hobbies like golfing!
The basic principle of dividing your tasks into buckets will give you a better picture of what to do with them.
For a freelance writer, the box above shows exactly how they should prioritize their tasks.
A proper structure gives you clarity!
2. Hire The Right People And Delegate
Imagine if you try to juggle all tasks you have throughout the day – client calls, client support, planning, writing, designing, coding, etc. Even if you have the skills to do all these tasks, it will eat up a lot of your time!
That’s why you need the right people to delegate such tasks too. At the same time, they could also add many valuable insights to your organization that could speed up your business’s growth.
And to boost your productivity on a personal level, consider hiring a VA to finish small and often dull tasks like replying to clients, scheduling appointments, etc.
3. Check Emails Only Twice A Day
As an entrepreneur, there will be many emails demanding your attention. And it’s easy to spend a lot of time reading emails, scrolling through your inbox. And if you have notifications for emails turned on, it becomes even more addicting.
So a simple way to fix this is to set aside 2 blocks of time – 20 minutes each – to look at your emails. It’s even better if you spend lesser than that!
4. Invest Time With Your Employees or Freelancers
You cannot control how your employees or workers would finish a task. But you can control the inputs you give them.
For instance, imagine you hire a designer for your Instagram handle. You only tell them you want a post.
They’d come up with some creatives, and chances are you might not like them because they don’t suit your style.
As a result, you go back and forth, communicating your ideas more clearly with them. Then they will give you creative designs based on these ideas, and again you have to check their work.
Had you been more upfront about your ideas, there would be no need for such back and forth communication.
Useful Resource: If you’re looking to improve your charm and communication, check out the summary of The Charisma Myth by Olivia Cabane Fox!
So invest time in giving better inputs to your employees/freelancers. This way, you optimize the result and save time.
5. Listen To Productivity Music
A few people introduced me to this hack, which had helped them a lot. There is also research to back this claim. Music can teleport you to a different world, relieving you of your worries. Also, upbeat music can put you in a high-energy mood.
My results with this hack, though, were mixed – Sometimes it did help, and sometimes it was a hindrance.
I suggest you give it a shot and see if it helps you or not.
6. Have a Repetitive Task? Use a Template
Often, some of your tasks will be repetitive. It could be daily, weekly, or monthly. A template helps you set up the essentials in no time so that you can fill out only the new details later.
Delivering the final project to a client often contains many elements you could repeat. For example, one of them is writing delivery emails. So you could use a standard template that has all information like – Date of delivery, contact, invoice amount, etc.
Just remember to fill in the updated details before hitting send. 🙂
In this way, you can automate many low-value tasks and save time for the important ones.
7. Use Project Management Tools
Project management tools give you a clear structure to track and visualize your processes. It helps you go from just having an idea in your head to executing it to accomplishing it.
Actually, the idea of writing this blog post is a great example. The previous night, I had an idea to create a productivity guide for entrepreneurs. So I put it on the Trello board.
Immediately the following morning, I started to work on this idea. And in a few hours after I finish it, I’ll move it to the ‘Finished’ List.
In this fashion, I can collect ideas and free my mind. The board reminds me to take action on the idea, and voila … there’s a tangible output. I get to apply what I learn.
As for the recommendations, here are the two Project Management Tools that I use and can vouch for – Trello and Asana.
8. Use A Small Journal To Note Down Your Ideas
Often, some of your ideas are just beautiful thoughts or insights. You may not want to work on them immediately, but they could come in handy in the future. In that case, put them in a journal.
It can not only help you recollect the idea in the future, but your brain is also more likely to remember it too!
You could use either a physical notebook or a digital app like Evernote for journaling!
Related Reading: How to journal to increase your productivity?
9. Find A Superstar Mentor
This is the greatest productivity hack. The right mentor can save years’ worth of time, supercharging your growth in the process! And often, the beautiful part is that they can do this by giving you just a one-line insight!
The best business tycoons, elite athletes, or star performers have mentors for this one reason!
Also, a mentor can give you access to a network of contacts and open doors for many business opportunities. In the future, you could reap huge dividends thanks to this.
It’s worth spending time to find the right mentor because it has the most significant return out of all the hacks. Check out some amazing productivity coaches here.
10. Declutter Your Workspace
Research has found that visual clues of disorganization can negatively impact our focus. I can relate to this claim. Whenever my desk is unorganized, I naturally spend more time finishing my tasks.
I don’t know why, but concentration just seems hard.
The solution is simple – Organize your desk in an effective manner, such that there are no visual clues of disorganization.
My philosophy is to have ample free space (up to 80-90%) on your desk. If you have a file cabinet or a drawer, make the most out of it!
The workspace setup I use is – a laptop, a mouse, and a stationary stand on my desk. A journal goes into the drawer and a water bottle on the floor.
11. Group Similar Tasks to Save Switching Cost
Every time you start a new task after finishing the previous one, you pay a small switching cost.
Let’s take a simple example. Imagine your tasks for the day are –
- Write 3 emails
- Get on a call with your team
- Schedule a call with the client
In this case, group the call-related tasks. It also makes perfect sense to finish all 3 emails simultaneously rather than write them separately.
12. Use Morning Time Your Best
Your mind is well-rested, fresh, and highly productive in the morning hours! So make the best during this phase of the day!
Ideally, there’s one thing you should do before you dive into work in the morning.
And that is, you need to optimize your mindset, which can lead to a chain of events down the road like – Better Mindset – Happy You – More Productive – Feeling of Achievement!
And the simplest way to make the most out of your mornings is? Cmon, do I have to tell you this? Wake up early!
On a different note, I admit this is something I often struggle with, but hey – I am trying to improve!
13. Know Where To Be Good Enough And Where To Be Perfect
Many entrepreneurs want 100% accuracy in whatever they do – eye-catching graphics, clean code, perfect blog post, etc.
I know this because I’ve been there! However, the trade-off for perfection is more time and potentially less revenue. And sometimes, it’s better to be good enough than pixel perfect.
For instance, you need to be perfect whenever you work on the website homepage. Typos, poor messaging of your product can hit your revenue.
But if you are writing an email to a client, good enough works. A minor typo here and there won’t matter a lot, and it certainly doesn’t mean you are terrible at grammar! 🙂
Use this with the 80-20 Pareto Principle: You need to be perfect with only 20% of the tasks because they will move the needle by 80%!
For the remaining tasks, it’s okay to be good enough. Delegate the ‘good enough’ to someone to boost your productivity even more!
Conclusion: 2 Productivity Resources For Entrepreneurs
I hope you found the hacks helpful. Now go ahead and put what you learned here to use!
If you want more hacks, I suggest reading the 2 books below, from which I’ve understood new ideas –
- Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
- The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
The first book will show you how to improve your productivity. The second covers more advanced concepts which are especially useful for entrepreneurs. I’ve also shared a crisp review of both these books, highlighting the 3 main things I’ve learned from them.
I’m curious to know the 1 productivity hack you use the most? Drop them in the comments below!
Hello! It’s Rana here. On this blog, I write about productivity and self-help. I share my personal experiences and offer solutions that you can use in your life 🙂