10 ways to get things done as an entrepreneur
- Sep 23, 2010
In Cori's 2nd guest blog post for Virgin.com, they explain 10 ways entrepreneurs can get things done and put aside distractions. We want you to write for Virgin.com too - read all the info and get blogging...
If you’re anything like me, you’re prone to distractions every now and then. We all suffer from being too unmotivated or too lazy (or both!) to just get things done already. I call these times the blue days of an entrepreneur’s career, and it’s important to work on getting yourself up to speed and return to whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing before you lose all interest. Luckily you’re not alone as this is a struggle many an entrepreneur has faced.
The good news for you is that you don’t always have to succumb to those feelings of woe and laziness, especially when you’re under pressure to finish a particular project or task. Time management is very important when you’ve got more than one iron in the fire.
I’ve put together a list of 10 tips you can implement today to kill those distractions and get you back on course. Remember the old Woody Allen quote: “80% of success is just showing up!” Folks, it’s time to show up and find your road to success.
10 Ways to “Get Things Done”
Tip #1: Turn off the internet unless you absolutely need it. If it’s not 100% essential to whatever it is that you are doing, it might be better for you to just simply unplug completely. That means turn off your laptop’s Wi-Fi button or disconnect your LAN cable or unplug your wireless broadband. Don’t just close your browser windows - shut all possible internet connections so you don’t get tempted. If you need the web and your project involves writing, you may look into using options such as Write Room for Mac or Dark Room for Windows. These are free applications that allow you to block out everything on your screen except the app so you can focus.
Tip #2: Use headphones or earplugs. I know you might find this a little over-the-top at first read, but trust me, you can benefit from having your ears stopped up from all the world’s crazy noises. If you work at home, you know how incredibly distracting it can be to have daily household chores within proximity. If you like working in coffee shops, the incessant chatter of the place might not just bore you to tears - it can also succeed in stalling your work.
Tip #3: Hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your door and mean it. The DND sign tells your housemates/family/co-workers that yes, you are at work and no, they can’t just bother you with a ‘quick question’. Don’t overdo this by leaving the sign up all day - people know that you can’t possibly be equally busy all the time and they’ll think you’re either avoiding them altogether or just being pretentious (ouch!).
Tip #4: Turn off the TV. For Pete’s sake, turn off the television and stash the remote control somewhere really far or hard to get to. I know you want to watch the latest episode of your favorite soap opera, but please don’t do it during your work hours. As an entrepreneur, you have to be very disciplined about your work. Giving in to the lure of TV won’t do you any favors.
Tip #5: Put your mobile phone on silent mode and let everything go to voicemail including your landline. If you’re working on something that’s terribly difficult or that requires your full focus and attention, it’s much more effective to give it 200% in one go and block out all potential distractions like your cell or house phone. Unless you’re waiting for an important call or message, it won’t kill you to go incommunicado for at least an hour.
Tip #6: Run only the necessary applications on your computer. Don’t kid yourself by minimising your game windows and vowing to only concentrate on the task before you. Chances are your eyes will always wander to that little corner of the screen where your game is waiting, and half your mind is always on what to do to get to the next level. Be an adult and limit your play time to take care of your priorities first.
Tip #7: Stay off social media sites and instant messaging. If you’ve already turned off your internet connections then you don’t have to worry about this. If, however, you maintained your internet connection because it’s necessary for your work, remind yourself not to fall into the trap of checking Facebook or responding to Skype messages every five minutes. It’s a waste of time splitting your focus between work and leisure activities. Side note: This applies to email as well! One way to help combat this if you’re running a FireFox Browser is to use the LeechBlock add-on.
Tip #8: Clear your clutter. How many times have you told yourself that you will work, only to end up rearranging the contents of your desk and spending hours indexing the folders and files on your computer? There’s a time for work, and there’s a time for doing other activities that help you work faster. Schedule them appropriately and prepare everything that you’ll need for the task you’re supposed to be doing instead of spending your work hours “getting things in order”.
Tip #9: Eat something before you start work. Trust us; hunger is a formidable enemy when you’re working. There’s no way to get your stuff done well when you’re dreaming about that bacon cheeseburger and chilli fries you want for lunch. A lunch that incidentally is still 3 whole hours away! It is also not healthy to do anything on an empty stomach, especially things that are vital to your bottom line in your business.
Tip #10: Stay at your desk. Mentally glue your butt to your chair. Tell yourself that you won’t leave your chair until and unless you’ve finished everything that you’re supposed to do first. Of course you can still take small breaks for the restroom, meals etc. but schedule those small breaks appropriately. Work in blocks of time, and don’t allow yourself up until your block is done and your break time has arrived. Once break time is over, mentally glue your butt back to your chair until your next block is over. It’s called time management folks!
And finally, here is a little bonus tip, one that is most important of all.
Tip # 11: Have time for distractions. Okay, I know this seems rather crazy after the ten things I’ve said above about eliminating distractions. But hey, who says you can’t have some wiggle room? After all, that’s one of the perks of working for yourself.
If you allow yourself some time for R and R and distractions even when you are faced with a really important task or deadline, you’ll be a happier person and worker because you’ll know your limits. You’ll learn how to handle distractions appropriately, give your day a bit of padding and be better at fending them off the next time they come a-knocking at your door.
Cori is a freelance ‘ghost’ as well as the creative brains behind Big Girl Branding. To find out more you can stalk her on Twitter.
Photo by Cote on Flickr