As an entrepreneur, it’s far too easy to find yourself a bit disorganized and losing time throughout the day. As many people grow up and begin their work under the dynamic of a boss-employee relationship, it can be easy to have a bit of a crisis when first learning to self-manage. Unfortunately, that’s a mistake that’s not just left to the newbies.
While you may have avoided the disorganization and task jumping plague, here are just a few tips for making sure that your day goes to the most important tasks on your plate, and in the right proportion.
1. Don’t just make a to-do list, have time slots. For example, write out approximately how much time you think each task will take, and then assign it a time in your day. To-do lists have a weakness, and that’s their lack of boundaries. Too often, we can let tasks drag on and on because we just want to have them done and ‘check them off’. When each task has a specific time allotted, we tend to be pretty good at actually sticking to that allotment.
2. Check email at 2-3 specific times throughout the day. The nice thing about email is that it’s a form of communication that people don’t expect to be instant. Even as everyone has their phones on them all day and can check their emails constantly, most people still understand that email communication is asynchronous. Most professionals waste an ungodly amount of time in their inbox, and for entrepreneurs or those who are working in consulting (contacted by clients all day, etc.), email can turn into a huge time sink before you even realize it. Many productivity experts recommend making special times a couple times throughout the workday for non-emergency communications, and sticking to them. Turning off the alerts on your phone for new emails during this time can help you resist the temptation to read and reply to everything as it comes in.
3. Take a lot of breaks. In a net way, you want to be working extremely hard and putting in a lot of effort into your business to give it the best chance of supporting you. That said, many people don’t realize that the human brain can absolutely suffer from task burnout. If you can stomach the change, try a week of working for 20-30 minutes, then taking a 5-10 minute break. Do some pushups, play a game on your phone, write a song – anything to completely switch gears for a few minutes and come back at your tasks refreshed. Every person will respond slightly different to this type of schedule, so be willing to tweak it a bit and find out what exactly will work for you before knocking it completely!
Finally, consider taking your office outdoors for a day, or at least a few hours. Work in the office most days? Try the kitchen! Entrepreneurship, especially done from home, can be lonely and unstimulating despite its best parts. Changing scenery can be a great way to break things up!