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Seven top tips for increasing productivity

How many times have you spent a day in front of your computer and come away at the end of it realising you haven’t really done much at all?
19 December, 2014

Here are seven top tips for increasing productivity for entrepreneurs:

1. Stop, think and evaluate

What are you doing? What should you be doing?  You are putting off a gigantic task, why? What can you do to make things easier for yourself?  

Rather than trying to run full steam ahead, take a moment to think about what you are trying to achieve and whether there are some problems you need to address that are currently curbing your productivity. Maybe you have lost sight of what you originally set out to do and have simply lost focus?  If this is the case, it can be helpful to sit down and re-write your mission statement, stating clear aims and objectives about what it is you are doing and want to achieve. Not only will this clear your head and help you to prioritise, sometimes going back to basics can be just what you need to regain focus.

2. Positivity

Many entrepreneurs are hit with pessimistic thoughts and doubts at some points in their starting days and further along the road too. For example; what am I doing? Why am I doing it? What is the point? The tip is to keep going. Pessimistic thoughts can have a significant impact on your productivity and although thinking positively can contradict this, it is sometimes easier said than done.

If you are really struggling with negative thoughts, try talking to someone about the ways you can combat this negativity and stay on focus. For example; The DEN , founded by our guest blogger and speaker Joel Blake helps entrepreneurs stay focused and overcome some of the challenges faced when running a business.  

3. Set yourself deadlines

It is important to not just listen to the deadlines other people are setting for you, but to set them for yourself.  Pop a chart on the wall or make your own calendar with deadlines for all the things you have to do in a reasonable timeframe that suits you. This should help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control of your workload.

4. Learn to delegate

Established group leaders have emphasised the importance of outsourcing tasks that do not generate revenue. This enables you to concentrate on the tasks that do generate revenue. Tasks that can be outsourced include accounting, book keeping and copywriting. If you are becoming overwhelmed with number crunching, hiring an accountant with far more experience allows you to concentrate on the things you are good at!

5. To-do lists

Traditional-write them down and tick them off, ordering in size of importance, urgency and time scale.  Reward yourself when you have completed certain tasks and you will hopefully get that lovely warm feeling when your current to-do list is completed. Beware writing lists of lists of lists though and only have one main list and several sub-lists to avoid getting confused and overwhelm 

You can get some great apps for productivity and task management. A great one for you apple users out there, Evernote is available for the iPad, iphone and Mac and allows you to view your tasks and share across all devices.  

6. Stop checking emails every two minutes

Believe it or not, one of the biggest time wasters is checking email every two minutes, agonising over a reply for ages then checking for a reply. I am not suggesting you should ignore your email, but set times to check. An effective timeframe is first thing in the morning and after lunch, then maybe every 90 minutes or so throughout the day. This way you are able to keep in regular contact with your emailees but are not spending too much time on emails that you are putting off bigger, more important tasks. Furthermore, respond to easy emails straight away rather than flag them to be dealt with another time,  you’ll thank yourself for it later.

7. Finally take a break

If you really feel as though you are not getting anywhere, maybe you just need 5 minutes alone with a cup of coffee to recharge. Sometimes, taking a break to appreciate the things you enjoy can be all you need to regain focus. Whatever your vice is, say to yourself that when you come back to working it is going to be full steam ahead. Hopefully this mentality will continue throughout the time you are away but allows you to switch off for a little while to restore. Consequently, when you sit back in front of the computer, you will feel refreshed, recharged and ready to go.