Cramming as much work into the day as you can isn't necessarily the best strategy for productivity.
Many startup entrepreneurs struggle to keep up with their daily workloads. In the course of a given day, an entrepreneur might become a salesperson, a technology director, a client relations manager and a financial analyst, all before lunch. In response to these constantly shifting priorities and ever-increasing task lists, some entrepreneurs try to fit anything and everything they can into each and every workday.
The usual result is a 10-12 hour workday with few, if any, breaks, that leaves you feeling exhausted and scatterbrained. While you might thrive on this feeling, thinking it's an indication of how hard you worked, it's not necessarily the best strategy for long-term productivity.
"Work smarter, not harder" is a phrase you've probably heard at some point in your working history. It's a cliché, but there's some true value in the sentiment, especially for entrepreneurs. Rushing through as many tasks as you can seems like the most advantageous strategy since you seem to get more tasks done that way. But there are several flaws with this structure:
- Rushing through tasks leads to lower quality completion. If you take your time, you'll end up doing a better job.
- The mind has no chance to rest. Your brain, like a muscle, needs periods of rest to recover from strenuous activity.
- Your higher goals are sacrificed for lower goals. Instead of focusing on what truly matters to your company's long-term plan, you get lost in the insignificant details.
Instead of looking at total number of tasks and total amount of time spent working, focus on the total value you are able to provide during the course of a full day. If a 10-minute task will provide your company with greater value than a 20-minute task, do the 10-minute one first and postpone the 20-minute one. In addition, take breaks throughout the day and don't overwork yourself. If you pace your work and allow your mind to decompress, you'll end up being more productive, producing higher quality work in the long term.
Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.
Jose graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.