3 Business Hacks That Help Me Stay Productive

business

Productivity. Productivity. Productivity.

As entrepreneurs we are always looking for ways to be more productive and efficient in our work. Now, I’ve read a lot of books and articles on the subject and I can attest to the fact that increasing your productivity means minimizing and or removing distractions from your life.

Ha! Now consider the fact that most entrepreneurs deal with adhd and insomnia and you’ll understand my scoff a moment ago.

Nevertheless, successful entrepreneurs get more done! How? Over the last couple of weeks I’ve tried a few different techniques, apps and even modified my behavior. Here are 3 Hacks that help me operate as my most productive self:

Set a Timer

I heard on one of my fvaorite podcast The Mind Your Business Podcast  that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This is known as Parkinson’s Law. When I heard that I grabbed my calendar and started to assign time limits to the tasks I had set out for the week. This was tough at first because I had to develop the discipline to STOP tasks even if they were unfinished at the moment. I know, let’s all cringe together. However, after a few days (or weeks). I saw that by literally setting a timer, I would become more forced on completing the task. And guess what else, many times I completed the task before the time ended.

For example, I’d set aside 2 hours to schedule social media posts and an hour later I’d be finishing up. You see, it would take me 2 hours when I was unfocused, drinking tea, checking my phone, etc. But now, I plan accordingly, schedule my work and set my timers. I get more done in less time!

Turn off Notifications (e-mail, social media, calls, etc.)

I’m a chronic e-mail checker. I also hate to see that little red 1 on my phone or to see e-mails left unread and I always feel the need to respond immediately to texts. Yes, even when I’m driving (pray for me), even in meetings, even when I’m hard at work. But great news! I am breaking the habit.

Recently, very recently, in fact, like a week ago, I went into mky iPhone and changed my notifications settings. One day I posted a photo on instagram and my notification suddenly became LIT! My phone was ringing back to back letting me know that radtad99bad liked your photo and skinsosoftboss commented “cute”. This was also the day 9/10 of my Facebook friends decided to go live and share their lunch, makeup of the day and opinions on the election. Needless to say, I couldn’t get anything done nor could I put the phone done. I decided to change my settings.

I turned off notifications for all of my social media accounts including my e-mail and as a bonus, I logged out. This meant that in order to see what was happening I would have to go throught the tedious task of logging back in and checking things out.

I will say so far so good. I’d estimate I’d spend 2 hours out of my day checking socila media and responding to, reading or deleting e-mails. TWO FREAKING HOURS! I have now cut that down to about 20 minutes.

**BONUS TIP: When I am working on a project and need to concentrate I will put my phone on “do not disturb” so that any incoming calls are sent to voicemail. This is with the exception of my mother and my son’s school. Those calls always come straight through

Take Breaks

All work. No play. Whoever made that up is wack and probably had a miserable life. But that’s not our reality. Right? Staycations/Daycations are my new thing. So not only do I schedule breaks for myself just as I would if I had a regular 9-5. Every couple of weeks there’s time set aside for fun. This means NO WORK! Now this doesn’t have to be extravagant. For me this may mean binge reading a new book, shopping with a friend or trying a new restaurant. Breaks are essential because they allow us to recharge and refocus. As entrepreneurs we understand that we only eat what we kill and the pressure to perform and provide can haunt us. However, working nonstop could kill us. Take care of yourself and your health. Rest when needed.

My Top Five Reasons I Cannot Support Your Hustle

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1. You Treat It As a Hobby

While it is common for beginning entreprenuers to start their businesses as a side job, those who have successfully left their 9 to 5 and don the CEO title are those who have committed to making their dream a reality. As a customer, I don’t want to know your life story before I buy your t-shirt or let you do my hair. I don’t want to hear screaming kids in the background when I call to book an appointment. Be professional. Treat it like a business and your customer will treat it like a business. No excuses.

2. Your Supply Doesn’t Meet the Demand

I am an impulse shopper. Lots of people are. I see it. I like it. I want it right now! No, I don’t want to pre-order it. No, I don’t want to wait 3-4 weeks to receive it. No, I don’t want to check back later. No. No. No. And how dare you be out of stock! If you don’t have what I want, chances are someone else will. And yes, I understand that things happen which may delay the buying process. However, remain professional. Use good customer service practices and be honest and upfront with your buyer.

3. You Want Pity and Profits

Everyone has a sad story. If you tell me yours, now I have two sad stories. Its hard enough carrying my own so please keep yours. You’ve decided to follow your dream and you’re having a touch time. You’re starting from the bottom, living off your savings, etc. etc. We get it. But keep it to yourself. Don’t get online begging for sales, because if your customer wanted to support a charity, they have plenty of options. NEVER relay your financial troubles to your customers. Make good business decisions and please, keep it professional.

4. You’re One In A Million

A few years ago it was different for women to find high quality hair weaves, but in 2013, it is not. Everybody knows somebody that sells it and can get it to them for the price they want to pay. If there is nothing proprietary about your business, it will be difficult for you to gain and keep customers.

5. You’re Just Not Ready Yet

You may have a great idea, a great product that people will love. You could potentially make a lot of money. But, if you are ill prepared to deal with the business side of things, you’ll struggle to find people who will support you. I met a guy that told me he was a barber specializing in kids hair. I said, “Great! Give me your business card and I’ll give you a call. I’ve been looking for someone like you.” He didn’t have a business card. In fact, he didn’t have a phone number. He gave me his twitter name and told me I could reach him there.  I’m sure he’s a great barber, but he just wasn’t ready yet.