When running a business your time is your most valuable asset. Without careful organisation and planning it can easily be squandered, impacting on your whole business.
Here are four New Year’s resolutions that, if kept, will help you to maximise your time, help keep procrastination at bay and ensure 2016 is your most productive year yet.
1. Prioritise perspiration
Seize the day – or more accurately, the morning. As an entrepreneur you’ll likely work long hours in front of a computer or phone screen. This sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy, so make sure you make time for exercise.
Not only will exercising first thing help to keep your fitness up, it will also keep your energy levels up throughout the day. This will keep your mind alert and as well as helping you sleep better when you do finally ‘log off’ in the evenings. Treat your morning workout like you would a conference call or a meeting – make it a priority.
2. Push out procrastination - 'I will revamp my to-do lists'
To-do lists are a firm favourite. However, by themselves they are often just long lists of vague tasks and as a result lack focus. This encourages procrastination.
This year, take your to-do lists to the next level. Set aside time on a Monday morning to determine your objectives for the week ahead.
Once you’ve set these goals, work backwards. What smaller tasks do you need to complete to achieve your goal? And, how much time will this take? Having thought this through you will be able to prioritise tasks and schedule in realistic blocks of time each day alongside deadlines.
Once you have a schedule, you’ll no longer be using your time scanning your to-do list for the easiest task to tick off because these decisions will have already been made for you.
3. Time saving tech – 'I will make technology work for me'
Tech is both a curse and a blessing when it comes to productivity. Just to trawl through the sheer number of ‘time saving’ tools on the market could take days, possibly weeks.
I’ve done the leg work for you, by speaking to entrepreneurs and finding out the tools they swear by. Below are three time-saving apps recommended by fellow entrepreneurs:
Wunderlist: The best ‘to-do list’ app out there. I use this both in my personal and professional life. As well as allowing you to manage your own progress, the new app allows you to share to-do lists with colleagues and assign tasks to individuals. This means you can collaborate seamlessly with your team, making sure they are constantly up to speed. It also eliminates the need for constant progress reports.
Doodle: Sick of playing email ping-pong to get a meeting in the diary with colleagues or clients? Doodle streamlines the process, allowing you to finalise plans with just one email. Simply create an event online with potential dates, send it to your colleagues or clients and let them vote on the time that suits all. Once everyone has taken part, the app works out the best time for everyone and notifies you. Done.
Focus@Will: This app is genius. It describes itself as a ‘neuroscience based music subscription service that helps you increase your attention span by up to 400%’. And it works. Put simply, it will curate a playlist specific to you and your needs at a particular time to help boost your concentration and focus levels. All the benefits of a Spotify playlist without losing an hour creating it.
4. 'I will say No!'
Odds are, some resolutions will fall by the wayside as the year moves on. If you’re only able to stick to one resolution to enhance your productivity this year, then learn to say ‘no’.
Entrepreneurs tend to bite off more than they can chew in an effort to stay competitive, the result is often feeling overworked and as a result underperforming.
While saying no to an opportunity is rarely pleasant, the simple fact is you will never be truly productive if you take on everything that comes your way.
Productivity isn’t how much you’re doing, it’s how much you actually get done.
The productivity hacks above were compiled from ‘The Productivity Book: 30 Professionals Talk About Time Management’ a 200 page eBook filled with personal stories and helpful tips from productivity experts to help make the reader be more productive with their time. Available to download from iBooks and Amazon.