As an entrepreneur, you’re balancing creativity, productivity, and probably a lot of paperwork necessary to keep the lights on. In the process, you’ve no doubt become something of a multitasker, toggling between products/projects, responding to clients, and putting out all sorts of unexpected fires that come up when we’re running our own businesses.
It’s a perpetual challenge, this balancing act. However, many of the same principles examined in my new book LIFESCALE are especially applicable to the lives of entrepreneurs. To begin with, there is a lot of research out proving that no matter how hard we try, multitasking just doesn’t work. It only makes our days longer. It reduces our productivity by 40%, compromises the quality of our work and even leads to depression and a lack of empathy.
Unnecessary distraction is the enemy of the successful entrepreneur. Here are a few LIFESCALE- based suggestions and techniques for making your life as a solo-preneur or small business owner more productive:
- Set up your day the night before.2
Before you go to sleep, make some basic decisions about what you will do tomorrow, such as what you will wear, what you will eat for lunch, and the route you will take to work. It is easier to pack a healthy lunch the night before than to decide what you are going to have when there is a hot dog vendor parked in front of your workplace. In fact, start working toward scheduling your week in advance, whenever possible.
- Cut Out Distractions.2
Yes, distractions will happen, especially when we’re running our own shops. However, it’s essential that we find ways to contain them and give ourselves time to focus. Otherwise, we’ll end up being little more than a receptionist or customer service rep at our own business. We need to learn what ‘real’ emergencies look like and leave the others for later. In fact, they may resolve themselves. “By not responding, you are sending a message that you are a strong-willed, focused person who is very busy and over time you will be bothered less by trivial, time-wasting matters,” writes Emotional Intelligence Expert Harvey Deutschendorf in FAST COMPANY.
- Set Aside Time for Creation.1
As an entrepreneur, you have to balance creation and essential tasks like invoicing, which can be a challenge. Figure out how to toggle between “inspiration” and “doing-the-work” modes and make sure you give yourself enough time to really focus on each task-15 minutes of ‘creativity’ won’t give you enough time to really focus and dig deep. Work to schedule longer blocks of time for creative tasks and you’ll achieve much more.
As an author and speaker who wears a number of hats, I know the dangers of distraction, the temptations of multitasking, and the unwillingness to share responsibility on projects. In LIFESCALE, I share techniques and exercises that have helped me learn how to really focus and prioritize my work. I’m confident they can help you too.
1.How to Fight Distractions as an Entrepreneur, Nutritious Life Blog
2.5 Ways to Stay Focused in a World of Distractions by Harvey Deutschendorf/Fast Company Magazine