- Take time to plan out your day
This sounds like a simple task, but as entrepreneurs, we’re often getting pulled in multiple directions. To set aside those first 20 to 30 minutes each morning to plan out the whole day may not be as easy as we think.
Jumping right into your to-do list first thing without a day plan can lead to short-term outcomes and while you may cross ten things off your list, those ten things may be immaterial to your long-term plan. Read: Focusing on menial tasks may prevent you and your business from progressing at the rate it should.
Instead, take a step back and start your day by going over your 3-6 month goals. Then, prioritize the tasks that align with those goals.
- Make appointments with yourself (that have clear start time and end time)
Once you’ve prioritized your tasks for the day, take a minute to block out time for each task. There are twenty-four hours in each day, and as an entrepreneur, how productively you use those hours is entirely up to you.
At Wealthjar, we believe the best approach is to be pro-active: 1) Make appointments with yourself that have clear start times and end times; 2) Most importantly, keep those appointments
Having a schedule clearly laid out will help you to turn down menial requests for your time, leaving less room for distractions. On the other hand, if you’ve been having trouble keeping a good work/ life balance, use this approach to block out time for coffee with a friend or take a yoga class you’ve been wanting to try.
- Make sure your schedule aligns with your individual energy clock
As the age-old saying goes: different strokes for different folks. We are all made up of unique characteristics that define who we are and how we operate. It is helpful to be in tune with your body’s own unique clock and energy levels so that you’re not making things harder than they have to be.
Some of us are morning people, others have their best energy in the evening. Wherever you are on the scale, make sure you are using your most productive energy to help you complete your most important tasks. I.e. if you are a morning person, don’t block out 3 hours in the afternoon to strategize your next business move.
- Set times to check your email
Email is an extremely useful tool and something that we use systematically throughout our daily lives. However, we shouldn’t let it rule or ruin our day. Just because you receive an email at 11:01, doesn’t mean you have to answer it at 11:02.
In fact, being overly responsive to texts, emails, and phone calls can set up negative precedents and have detrimental effects on your productivity levels, since you are now trying to accommodate someone else’s time instead of achieving your tasks for the day.
- If your business relies on being ultra-responsive, then start by checking your email in 20-minute segments, rather than having it open all day long.
- If you know you won’t be receiving any ultra-urgent emails during the day, try to get in the habit of only checking your email at the top of the hour, or better yet, only once every two hours.
- Once you have mastered these time segments, experiment with only checking your email once every three hours, and so on.
- Analyze your 20%/80%
The truth for most people is that 80% of their accomplishments are the result of only 20% of the work they do every day.
Here’s an exercise to help even out your input/output stats and use your time more efficiently:
- Make a list of all the projects you are currently working on
- Supplement this list with all the roles you take on in your personal life
- Next, make a list of the projects or tasks that you don’t seem to have time for that you wish you could complete
- Go through this list with your long-term goals for career, family, and personal fulfillment
- Cross off anything that doesn’t lend itself to your long-term goals
After completing this exercise you may feel a sense of relief or increase in energy if you realize that some of the things you were stressing about, aren’t actually that important in the long run. Take time to do this exercise every couple of months and you’ll begin to spend more of your time on things that are actually helping you reach your goals.