We are all busy -- life, work -- it never ends. But, it seems like some people have it together and can get stuff done in less time. How do they manage everything, while others just get by in an endless cycle of work?
It's quite easy. Entrepreneurs who are efficient have a system, and they stick to it. At the end of the day, you are in control of your to-do list, not the other way around. You can also become super productive by following the four simple, yet powerful hacks below that can transform your schedule.
1. Establish an Email Checking and Replying Protocol
It can be second nature to check your email first thing when you wake up, and even before you go to bed. But when it comes to efficiency, this is not the way to go.
I get hundreds of emails throughout each day, whether I'm in a meeting, driving or talking on the phone. I realized: Why should I let these interruptions take me away from what I'm doing?
To get your time back, check your email only when you can reply to them. This means that unless you have the time to actually respond to the messages you receive, don't bother checking them, because then all you're doing is compounding the amount of time it takes to deal with those messages. This way, you're batching up your email tasks in a way that prevents you from being pulled away from tasks every time a notification comes.
2. Outsource Smaller Non-Essential Tasks
Not all to-do lists are the same. And not all tasks are either. The thing about being productive is not just about getting things done; it is more about getting the right stuff done.
Take a good hard look at your tasks and don't just prioritize them. Give them a value of importance. My favorite tool for this is Asana. It's an amazing project management software that allows me to not only keep track of my tasks but offload work or parts of a task to others, while at the same time not having to worry about someone dropping the ball.
If it's not urgent, offload the task to someone else on your team, or work with an outsourcer to get them done.
3. Do One Task at a Time
Multitasking has been engrained in us to give ourselves a sense of accomplishment and status. The problem is, though, that people who multitask don't end up far ahead, and instead feel more stress and anxiety. That's because, by multitasking, you diminish your ability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. As a result, all you are doing is prolonging the amount of time some tasks are going to take to complete.
I am guilty of doing this myself. For years I would try to take on 50 things at once thinking I could do it all -- that this was my work ethic and I didn't think it could be any other way. However, I've forced myself over the years to stay focused and wrap up one task at a time before I moved onto the next task. Since then, the quality of my work has improved, as well as the time it takes to do things.
4. Get the Worm by Being an Early Bird
By doing a bit of exercise, having a hearty breakfast, taking a shower and reading a book, you could have done more by 7:00 a.m. than most people who have not even gotten out of bed yet.
The thing I do is cycle -- I absolutely love it. It gives me that boost of energy for the day. And, early mornings are perfect to focus on things I need to get done because my family is still asleep, which allows me to be as productive as possible.
Mornings give you the opportunity to start fresh and energized to tackle anything on your plate. To add, before you go to bed the night before, have your next day planned out. That way, as soon as you wake up, you already have an action plan laid out, so you are not up wondering what to do next.
Being an entrepreneur isn't easy. But if you manage your time, energy and priorities, there is nothing you can't accomplish, and your business growth will be just around the corner.
Arash Asli is the CEO of Yocale.com.