It doesn’t surprise me one little bit really. The stress, overwhelm and sheer frustration you feel even on a good day! As entrepreneurs, you might even like it, thrive on it, believe it’s what gives you ‘the edge’.
More likely though, you’re consumed with the ’busyness‘ of business and stuck in the rut of doing what you’ve always done. So, you’ve tried your best, done what you can, contracted in great advice but you need this year to be different and your team needs you to make a change.
Heck, the whole world would probably be a better place if you just pressed pause, stepped back and exhaled.
With evil lurking in complacency, entrepreneurs need to realise that it’s not only about fixing the things that are broken. Review the things that are working too, asking: “Could we be doing things better — faster — smarter?” The best systems are often the simplest ones.
Though counterintuitive, here’s how to get more done by doing less.
- Use a list: Free up your brain for creative thinking and action taking. Choose one single place to record everything you need to do and populate it throughout your work day.
- Prioritise according to revenue: High reward, high value tasks take precedence over their lower value (usually quick, fast and easy) counterparts. Whilst it might feel satisfying to motor through a list of lower value tasks, crossing off the important things first is what really counts in your favour. See what on your list moves you closest to bringing in revenue and prioritise accordingly (ie. invoicing a serviced client should take precedence over chasing the next prospect).
- Schedule: Your diary should be used for more than just setting meetings. From your prioritised list, block off time in your diary/calendar for taking action. Think of it as an appointment with yourself.
- Reserve mornings for high value, high reward tasks: Instead of using your prime work time for scheduling meetings or checking email, reserve the first hour of your day for your high priority tasks. This ‘power hour’ session will see you getting the important things done first, while you’re still fresh and alert.
- Use a timetable: Remember your school timetable that reminded you which lessons were taking place when? Create something similar as a template for scheduling your day. Taking away the guess work minimises lost time in wondering what you should be doing, when. Grouping like tasks together helps with being mindful of the time… and how quickly it goes when you keep dropping tasks and hopping to others.
- Wake up earlier: If you’re struggling to find time to get to all the important things, spending too much time in the quagmire of meetings or mountains of email, your only option might be to wake up earlier. Choosing what you’ll be working on the following morning the night before (and having everything ready to get going once you rise) will mean you don’t waste 20 minutes of your precious time planning and organising but can instead dive straight in and get the important stuff done.
- Stop making excuses: You might be quite surprised at how many ‘legitimate’ excuses you make in a day. Things like: ‘I’ve too much work’, ’There’s not enough time’, ‘I’ve no resources’, and ‘If only I had more budget’, stop you from taking action and lead to self-sabotage behavioural procrastination. The fact is, regardless of the task or action required, if it’s that critical (or that enjoyable), the chances are you’ll find the time, energy and funds to make it happen. Brian Tracy says, “Self-discipline is doing what needs to be done, when it is due, whether you want to or not.”
- Get more sleep: While some people need the recommended eight hours of sleep, others operate optimally on far less hours. If, however, you have got into a rut of getting to bed late and/or running on empty expecting all cylinders to be firing, you might be in need of some more sleep. Bring your bed time forward in 30 minute increments until you reach your ideal, and stop any excuses that play around in your mind teasing you to stay up beyond that.
- Take a break: Studies show that taking a break boosts productivity. If you’ve subscribed to the habit of bringing work home with you, working over weekends, and compromising family and/or your personal wellbeing, you run the risk of a work-life wobble which, if left unchecked, can lead to burnout. Compartmentalising work/life will lead to you being more fulfilled, relaxed and more productive.