Being a solopreneur is rewarding, as the amount of money you earn is often directly related to the amount of time you put into building your business. Despite the lack of distractions from the office, though, many solopreneurs struggle to push away all of the distractions of everyday life, including chores, TV, text messages and the various websites that always seem significantly more entertaining than the task at hand.
Ask yourself this question,[Tweet ” If you closed your largest contract tomorrow and it quadruples your workload, can you handle it? #Productivity “]Should we not always be prepared for that moment? If you really want to succeed, use these tips to boost your productivity.
Wake Up Early
You might think that you’re a night owl, but many of the world’s most successful people are early birds. When you wake up early, you’re able to get a few of your tasks done before most people are even starting their days. Of course, to wake up early, you usually have to go to bed a bit earlier. Going to bed late can be a hard habit to break. To help yourself fall asleep when you don’t think you’re tired, try Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique. While lying in bed, you inhale for four seconds, hold that breath for seven seconds, then slowly release the breath to a count of eight. Repeat this a few times and you’ll instantly fall asleep.
Even better is to spend at least 10 minutes when you first arise to meditate. There is an app that I love called CALM you can find it in the app store. They also have a great website you can use. I recently heard a podcast with Hal Elrod where he discussed the Miracle Morning, I have been practicing his process and can say it has been a great help.
Take Some Time for Exercise
Exercise gets the blood pumping, the endorphins rising and the creative thoughts flowing. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym to get the benefits, either. Since you’re waking up earlier, simply take at least 10 of those minutes for a quick workout. This could be a few yoga moves, a walk around the block, or just some traditional exercises like pushups and jumping jacks. Your body will thank you, and you’ll feel energized enough to get through your daily tasks. If you’re not sure what to do, there’s an app for that. Check out the 7 Minute Workout or Nike Training Club.
Get Out of the House
If you’ve been trying to work from home, consider a change of scenery. When you’re in your own house, there are plenty of surprising distractions around. It’s amazing how an undesirable business-related task can make you long to get up and clean the toilet or do the dishes – tasks that you’d normally hate doing. Instead, work from a local coffee shop or hit up the library if you don’t want to spend a few bucks on coffee. In these types of settings, you’ll have nothing to focus on but your computer.
Divide Up Your Work
It’s easy to procrastinate when you’re faced with large tasks like “create a website” or “write a book.” It’s hard to know where to start when you need to do something like this. Instead, break up these large tasks into much smaller ones that are easy to accomplish. If you’re not sure how you can get started with this, consider browsing the resources available at Franklin Covey. This planning system is based on the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, and the company offers a lot of great tools for becoming more organized and effective. Or maybe try some of these Successful Entrepreneurial Hacks to become more productive.
It’s hard to work if you keep checking Facebook, looking at news updates and checking text messages. In today’s society, it’s easy to feel like you have to instantly respond to everything, but this simply isn’t the case. Turn your phone’s buzzer off and keep it in another room to increase productivity. If you have a hard time staying off of distracting sites, you can install plugins that will block those sites for you, like StayFocused.
Focus for Short Time Periods
Sometimes, a bit of momentum can go a long way. Force yourself to work exclusively on a particular task for a set period of time, then give yourself a break. In the Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo, you work for 25 minutes, then take a five minute break. After you repeat this process four times, you can take a longer break. Similarly, the (10+2)*5 method by Merlin Mann is all about working for 10 minutes, taking a two minute break, and repeating this five times (for a total of one hour). These little hacks really help you to focus on the task at hand. Since you don’t have much time to do the work, you work hard to get things done.
Visualization can be a powerful tool in helping you stay focused on your goals. One way to do this is with a vision board. This often includes pictures of the things you want to focus on, along with words or quotes you find inspiring. When you’re feeling down, you look at this and are reminded of your goals. Many people do this on paper, using magazine pictures. However, you can also find apps or online versions of vision boards if you prefer something digital. Alternatively, it might be helpful to use a white board to monitor your projects. Having a large visual like that can help you stay on track.
Now or Later
Throughout your day, you’ll be presented with many new tasks you hadn’t originally planned for. The trick is deciding whether they need to be done immediately or whether they can wait until later. Without a boss breathing down their necks, it’s easy for solopreneurs to get off track. In most cases, if it’s something you can do in two minutes or less – like replying to an email or returning a phone call – you can do it immediately. Other things should be saved for later. A tool like Pocket can help you save interesting articles to read later.
Prep for Tomorrow
There’s no better way to start out the day than with a clean work area and a set plan. Make a daily to-do list that includes simple things like taking out the garbage and making sure that all of the dishes get done. Set the timer for the coffee machine so that it will be ready when you are. Decide which of your tasks are most important and need your attention. When you wake up, you’ll feel prepared to tackle the day head on.
It’s surprising how much you can get done when you remain conscious about your day-to-day tasks. By following just a few of these suggestions, you’ll see that your work is a lot more productive, and you’ll start getting much closer toward reaching your goals.
If you have a hack or tip that works for you and your business, please share in the comments.