Between answering emails, attending meetings, being present at start-up events and taking care of the employees, most entrepreneurs tend to burn out that eventually decreases their productivity. With many ups and downs and the prospect of making big changes looming large over one’s head with no one to check your decisions, it is imperative that an entrepreneur becomes a lesser productive version of oneself.
Here are a few simple ways through which entrepreneurs can boost their productivity.
- Set a time limit for meetings
Make sure there is an agenda set long before the meeting and timeline for the same announced a day or two before. By setting a time limit, your team can be focussed more so that the meetings run tighter and with much more clarity. Spending too much time in meetings is akin to squandering every ones’ resource: Time.
- Get the experts to solve complex tasks
It is highly desirable to be a master of all, but there are times when it is imperative to just let go and let an expert handle an issue when your knowledge on a matter is limited. Never hesitate to outsource to people outside the organisation too. Look for ways to invest in technology to minimise tasks.
- Use the Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule is one of the most famous rules of productivity. It means that 80% of your work only takes 20% effort. Identify the most pressing task that requires a lot of effort and is equally important and start focussing your energy on it.
- Take time to focus on the big picture
An entrepreneur should set aside at least 30 minutes daily to check for activities that are helping them achieve the big goals and prune tasks that make them drift apart from their goals. Have a mastermind group with your co-founders, mentors or leaders in your team to discuss the prospects of your startup and how to scale it 10X times. Meetings and self-reflections such as this will help in strategic thinking.
- Delegate A lot
A founder might be the beginning and end for a startup, but unfortunately, they can’t be everywhere. There are customers to be served, employees to be managed, business planning, payroll and the list goes on. Taking all of these tasks on oneself not only would prove unproductive but also result in burn out which hurts everyone in the company. Understand the strengths of everyone in your team and delegate tasks accordingly.
- Use the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is a time management method which uses a timer to break down work into intervals, 25 minutes usually after which there is a short break of usually 5 minutes. This helps when you want to work effectively in short bursts of time.
- Limit access to your email’s inbox
Probably one of the most insignificant tasks is to check one’s email notifications every five minutes. When you decide to open every email, you end up spending more time than you intended to. Make a decision not to open your email account until you’ve finished a task, however minor it may be. Or work in batches, check your emails once every 30 minutes or 1 hour. People should take the time to learn how to label their emails too as it saves a ton of time.
- Say ‘No’ often
Philosopher programmer Derek Sivers reportedly says, “If it’s not a ‘Hell yeah!’ it should be a ‘No’.” For any given task or a proposal from an acquaintance, let’s say you aren’t deeply enthused about it, say a polite but firm no. Only go ahead if your answer is “Wow, that would be fantastic.”
- Wear headphones when at your desk
Wearing headphones while sitting at your terminal is extremely beneficial as it helps you to zone out all the distractions and also tends to give the signal to your co-workers that you are not supposed to be disturbed.
- Build an accountable work environment
Try scheduling weekly sessions on ‘accountability’ with your employees. This will help ensure productivity is boosted, bring in alignment on the tasks done and makes everyone accountable to the tasks that they are assigned to. When a workplace is designed for accountability, it thrives.
Written by Mathew Maniamkot