Updated: May 19, 2020
Managing your own time and business can be difficult when you first start out. I transitioned from employment to a full time entrepreneur back in 2016 and since then have learnt some strategies to help productivity and try to get that work life balance.
1. Learn to time block.
One of the first things you can do to increase your productivity is get organized and learn to time block. In essence, you should break your day down to blocks. It will help you get more done and keep you on track. For instance, if you operate an online business / blog / coaching business, you may want to block your time like this:
Mon - Fri
08.30am - 09.30am: Digital Marketing & Creating new content for social media
09.30am - 10.00am: Answering emails
10.00am - 12.00pm: Client Appointments
12.00pm - 12.45pm: Lunch
12.45pm - 2.45pm: Client Appointments
2.45pm - 3.45pm: Growing networks, prospecting and business development
3.45pm - 5.00pm: Project assignments, improving company products, brand and message
Sat - Sun
Blocked for family time
It may seem odd to break your day down like this, but it will help to have all of your tasks right in front of you. While you're working on these tasks, make sure you stay focused. Distractions are going to come up, but concentrate on working within your time blocks.
2. Start a calendar.
Starting a detailed calendar is one of the best ways to become more productive. You can use a calendar app like Fantastical 2 (Which I use) or even the default calendar app on your PC/Mac of smart phone. The benefits of using a calendar app over a traditional calendar include being able to put as much information as you need under each day and set alarms for important dates and meetings.
Include as much detail in your calendar as possible. Define clear work hours, write in meetings, include time buffers so you don't overexert yourself and highlight special events with alarms to ensure you don't miss them. And never confuse your calendar with your to-do list.
3. Turn off your work brain.
There is a perception that successful people work 24 hours a day, but this isn't necessarily true. The real reason people are successful is that they know when it's time to work and when it's time to play and use there time productively.
You have to learn to take some time out of the day for yourself every single day. If you don't have time for yourself, it can have a serious toll on your physical and mental health. You'll drive yourself crazy thinking about all of the things that you're not doing or that you should be doing or that you didn't do correctly. Learn to turn your "work brain" off and enjoy your personal time.
4. Get more sleep.
It's safe to say that every single one of us has taken sleep for granted. We all figure, "Doh, I can live off 4 hours of sleep tonight." The simple truth is, lack of sleep can destroy your productivity.
It was recently revealed that sleep deprivation costs US companies hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Multiple sleep studies show that getting enough sleep can help you recover faster from distractions. When those inevitable distractions pop up throughout the day, you'll be able to shake them off and get back on task. Sleeping regularly also improves your memory and concentration and prevents feelings of burnout. Whether you're running your own business or working for someone else, getting enough sleep is a surefire way to be more productive.
It's time to make the most of 2019. You are the master of your own destiny and you can improve your productivity. You have to learn how to manage your time in a reasonable way. Balancing work, sleep and your personal time may seem challenging at first, but it's necessary for success. Follow these tips as you go into the new year to see changes in your productivity. You can do it!
Do you have any strategies to improve productivity? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below...