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PLAN YOUR DAY TO GET MORE WORK DONE AND SAY GOODBYE TO THE OVERWHELM!
Are you feeling overwhelmed with how to plan your day as a solopreneur?
Are the number of tasks required to run your business dragging you down?
Do you find yourself jumping back and forth from project to project?
Are you disappointed in what you end up accomplishing each day?
I can relate!
I know there are some great productivity tips out there so I asked some busy entrepreneurs for simple productivity tips that they use. A lot of these tips will help you figure out how to plan your day to get more work done.
Below you will hear what they have to say.
But before we get into that I thought I’d share a short video created by Kristi who has built 5 businesses from the ground up and who works as a virtual assistant for several entrepreneurs. She shares three productivity tips by addressing multi-tasking (including how to stick to your priorities), taking breaks, and how to do batch working.
And now, onto…
HOW TO PLAN YOUR DAY: 12 SIMPLE PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FROM BUSY ENTREPRENEURS
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #1
Julienne DesJardins of DesJardins Digital LLC
The most effective thing for me is to know exactly what I need to do next. I’m a mom, so I have home, kid, and business tasks that flood my mind every day. That can feel overwhelming, so I need to take the guesswork out of it. Otherwise, I stand around wondering where I can be productive or where I can get started.
So here’s what that looks like: all of my client tasks are in my project management system with due dates (Asana), so I know exactly what needs to get done each day. And I use an iPhone app called Spotless to organize my home and personal life tasks. In that app, my house jobs are divided by zone and assigned a schedule (for example, clean the dining room mirror once a week, or throw in a load of laundry once a day). When I open that app every day, I know exactly what jobs I need to do around the house.
Drilling down to exactly when to do a task helps me meet deadlines and stay on top of things. Even though it does take quite a bit of effort to get the system so fine tuned!
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #2
Carmen Hunter of Carmen Hunter Health
One of the most effective ways to increase productivity for me as a work from home entrepreneur is to make two lists.
One list contains priorities that are scheduled and must be taken care of such as appointments, client calls, scheduling posts, team meetings etc. The other one is my list of “creative” things I enjoy for my business. We tend to be less productive when we are dreading a task or something that SHOULD be done but isn’t enjoyable.
By sprinkling in creative work (writing, creating content, even doing some adult coloring to stimulate our brains in a different way) we tap into our parasympathetic nervous system which opens our mind for more focused work when we get back to that list of priorities that must be done.
If we don’t leave room for things we enjoy during our work day it creates this feeling of “I HAVE to” instead of “I GET to”. We want our business to be one that works for us and not one we have to work so hard for. I have found that being creative makes the “priorities” feel less daunting and more manageable and I actually don’t dread the to do list because I am in a more relaxed mindset and feel as if I have accomplished more.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #3
Maggie Giele of Maggie Giele Strategy
Figure out when your energy is best for a certain task and adjust your schedule around it. For example, my best creative energy is between 9am and 1pm. This means to be the most productive, I need to get up earlier and have enough time to settle in, and my creative tasks (recording podcast episodes, writing, working on digital products) happens then.
That means my afternoons are mostly used for client calls and social media. It wouldn’t work the other way round!
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #4
Jessica Villa Sikora of Superbands
My favorite productivity tip, other than simply waking up early to focus on yourself, is to plan, plan, plan. I love to time-block my days, and live off of my planner and calendar. Every day I know exactly what I have on my plate – whether it’s meetings, appointments, or my action items off my to do list. I am very protective of my time, not because I don’t like spontaneity or fun – it’s actually the complete opposite.
I time-block and plan because it allows me to get what I need to get done completed so I can spend time with those that matter to me. I make sure I take my dogs to the park regularly because it’s on my calendar with its own designated slot. I make sure I have time to workout because it’s blocked out.
I am able to complete my action items and tasks throughout the week because I planned for it, so I can focus on enjoying time with my family and friends on evenings and weekends. It’s a simple tip that many people overlook but it’s made the biggest difference in my productivity, my nonprofit (my “business”), and really my entire life.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #5
Jodi Graham of Jodi Graham Productivity Coach
Always be braindumping! This means taking just 10 minutes to write down all your ideas, goals, thoughts and projects in ONE place. It can be a journal, a piece of paper or a digital file – the point is it’s all in one place, not on 100 post-it notes or on your to-do list or multiple places you’ll lose track of.
Braindumping like this is directly linked to your level of productivity – it helps clear your mind so you can be focused on the task at hand and keeps all those big, vague and “to do later” things off your daily to-do list (goodbye overwhelm!)
Refresh your braindump from time to time – as you scratch items off, move stuff to your to-do list and think of new things to add, it’ll totally recalibrate and refocus you each time.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #6
Melanie Ziltener of Melanie Ziltener
I like to use calendar blocking and set aside specific times to complete specific tasks. I also try to check my emails at specific times of the day, instead of as each email comes in. Having focused time is much more productive than trying to get back into a task after being distracted.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #7
Toni-Ann Mayembe of Real Happy Mom
My best tip is to focus on only 3 things you have to get done every day. When you look at your long to do list it is easy to get overwhelmed. It is also easy to do the tasks that don’t really move your business. Instead, choose the 3 most important things the night before. Then tackle the hardest task at the beginning of the day. Doing this will give you momentum to get more done, allow you to focus on what is really important, and give you a sense of accomplishment.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #8
Yvonne “Yvi” Heimann of Ask Yvi
Start by setting daily routines and try to stick to them, I know… it’s not always going to work out like that. But try, and don’t judge if it didn’t work out. Try again tomorrow.
Set (and test) your morning routine. Adjust as needed.
Lunch break. And yes, step away from the screen and work, no lunch meetings do not count! I like to do a late lunch time workout, it helps me skip that early afternoon low I usually have.
Evening, make it a ritual and pay attention to doing things that help you slow down and prep for sleep time.
When you pay attention to yourself throughout the day, your brain will be clearer and you’ll be way more productive than you’d be trying to force your brain to finally work and get that thing done… It doesn’t work that way.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #9
Jen Paterson of Dollar Divas
The best productivity tip I have is being a master of forming quality habits. There are a number of resources out there on forming good habits, my personal favourite is Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. I highly recommend checking it out but, here are the cliff’s notes for those who are strapped for time (aren’t we all?).
We are the sum of our habits and tiny consistent behaviours can make a huge impact on your life and business. I’m a money coach so we are going to use money as the example. A tiny consistent habit that you could do to improve your relationship with money is simply logging into your online banking every morning and taking 2 minutes to review your account balances and your previous days transactions.
The best way to solidify this into your life is to anchor it to another habit you already have, say checking your email first thing in the morning. Say to yourself, “After I read the last new email on my phone I will open my banking app”. Then spend 10-15 minutes going from your email app to your banking app to build the muscle memory. For the next few days when you open your banking app after checking your email have a micro celebration, like saying “I’m awesome!” to yourself as you click the app open.
This technique can be used to add any type of habit to your life. Start tiny, build on it and celebrate your successes as you go. For more info I would definitely check out BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #10
Michelle Marie of Put Your Passion To Work
As a self-proclaimed procrastinator I’ve learned to embrace the tendency to wait until the last minute to complete things. That’s why deadlines exist, right?
In order to feel that excited feeling without the stress of potentially missing a deadline I’ve learned to make a game of it.
You can play beat the clock, too! First pick a task. Next set your phone’s timer for 25 minutes. Now guesstimate how many blocks of 25 minute increments you think the task is going to take. Now try TO “beat the clock”!
I’ve cleaned entire rooms in A 25 minute block and even recorded multiple podcast episodes in 2 blocks. Remember to have fun with it and you can even reward yourself if you guessed right. Have fun!
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #11
Monica Frederick of Monica Frederick Coaching
Trust in yourself and your abilities to get things done. List what you need to do, break them down into step by step tasks, and put them into your calendar. You don’t need a better project management system, or a new planner or anything like that. Start with your desired result and ask yourself, “What do I *need* to do to make this happen?” or “What actions do I do today to move the needle and make this result a reality?”
Doing this will help you decide what *truly* needs to be done, and by when. Your big goals become less nebulous and far away and more tangible with a date of completion in sight. For a long time, I resisted the idea of blocking my working time, but I wasted energy being upset with myself about how little I got done. I thought time blocking my tasks would take away my creativity and turn me into a square. But quite the opposite happened. I no longer worried about when (or if) I got things done. All this saved energy has been the guiding creative force to help me come up with new ideas for ways to reach potential clients.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #12
Beth Gordon of Beth Gordon Online
PLAN AHEAD!! Each Sunday, I look at my week ahead and determine which blocks of time I’m going to be available to work. As a busy Mompreneur, it’s imperative that I use all pockets of time wisely. I block out all kid activities and other obligations. Then for my available work time, I literally write out… Monday: 6-7am & 1-2pm (for example) and do that for each day.
Related to planning time blocks… I also like to plan my week by assigning tasks to specific days. That way when I sit down for those power hours, I am able to focus ONLY on the tasks I assigned to that day. This is especially helpful to me because I tend to review my entire calendar and lists over and over (because I like it)… which is NOT a good use of time!
It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you get the planning done — more action is possible!
Thank you so much to all the busy entrepreneurs who participated in this productivity tip roundup!
Hopefully, these tips will help with how to plan your day so that you can get more work done and say goodbye to the overwhelm. Do you have any of your own to share?
If you are looking for more help in becoming productive you may like XO Sarah’s free Productivity Workbook and her course The Productive Solopreneur. This course is a step-by-step guide to processes and systems, enabling you to take the stress out of managing your blog or business.
If you like these tips please share this post with others!