By: Lauren Arendt
Have you ever found yourself reading the same line of text over and over again, procrastinating a task you’ve been dreading all day, or in a midday slump where you just can’t seem to get anything done? If so, this may be a sign that you need to make some changes to get more productive at work.
Working as an entrepreneur pulls people in many different directions and requires high levels of productivity day in and day out, however, this draining lifestyle easily leads to fatigue. Entrepreneurs know, however, that this slip in efficiency is simply not an option in the fast-paced, make-it-or-break-it lifestyle they lead.
We have some tips and tricks that entrepreneurs can incorporate into their everyday routine to get more productive and avoid fatigue at work.
1. Set clear, attainable goals
It is very difficult to get started when you don’t know where you are going. Setting reasonable goals and outlining the steps to accomplish them helps focus your day and jumpstart productivity. If you are too overwhelmed with tasks to complete, getting started on any which one is daunting. Rather than taking on too much at once, simply pick a handful of tasks for the day and give them your all.
Setting goals can be as simple as writing them down on a piece of paper. Writing or typing them out is important to get more productive, however, because you are forced to define them. Your goals feel much more tangible and less impossible once outlined in writing.
Make sure to cross your goals off and reward yourself once they are complete to incentivize yourself to move onto the next project. Take a walk outside, get your favorite lunch, or go spark up a conversation with a coworker or friend to gear up for the next item on your to-do list.
2. Set goals of different sizes and scopes
Don’t simply focus on the next few hours or days in front of you. Rather, keep the big picture in mind at all times. You aren’t putting all of these hours of work in just for the sake of it, but for an overreaching mission to make a change in your life or in the life of others.
Make that overreaching mission the goal that guides all subsequent goals. This will add meaning and value to even the most monotonous daily tasks.
3. Surround yourself with inspiration
You might have a goal or mission guiding your work as an entrepreneur, but you might lose sight of it when working on tasks from day-to-day. Feeling like your work is meaningless or unimportant is a gateway to losing motivation and subsequently becoming less productive.
Surrounding yourself with reminders of the bigger picture is a key way to get more productive. Whether it is a quote that reminds you why you started out on your entrepreneurial journey, a sketch of your product prototype, or a photo of your team framed on your desk, keep something in plain sight that reminds you that every menial task is leading up to something great.
4. Avoid Multitasking at all costs
A little-known fact is that multitasking in biologically impossible. You might think you are negotiating over the phone, answering an email, and watching Netflix all at the same time, but chances are, you aren’t giving any one of those tasks your full attention. Multitasking severely limits creativity and oftentimes causes many more errors. The number of thoughts and ideas a person can process is limited at any given time, meaning that when you multitask, new, creative ideas will be blocked out and errors will be missed much more easily.
“Monotasking,” or doing one task at a time, serves you better in the long run. You will not only complete tasks more quickly, but the tasks will be completed with more quality. Rather than doing everything at once poorly, do one thing at a time to the best of your ability.
5. Go outside as frequently as possible
Let’s face it: offices can be pretty bleak, especially after spending hours on end in them. Make sure to get up and go outside to get refreshed. Taking frequent breaks might seem counterproductive, but the reality is that by resting the brain and eyes and moving the body, you will be much more productive during the time you are working.
Spending too much time indoors working will lead to fatigue and slower brain processes, but getting up, going outside, and hitting the reset button helps you come back to work more productive, creative and positive than before.
6. Get a change of scenery
As said before, spending too much time in one dreary place can suck the life out of a person. One way to combat this is to change up the setting every now and then.
If your office is near a coffee shop, park, or library, take advantage of the mobile technology of today and spend some time getting out of the office and into a new, more exciting location. You will likely find that this new setting is not only free from the distractions of your office but offers new inspiration for creativity.
Check out these great lunch spots around San Luis Obispo to peak your inspiration.
7. Take note of what distracts you
Awareness is the first step in creating change. There are likely things all around you in your work space that distract you–some of which you can change, and some you cannot. Maybe social media is your main distractor, or maybe it’s your coworker’s conversations in the next room. No matter what it is, take note of when you are distracted so that you can work to stay focused in the future.
If the distraction is something you can change, don’t go cold turkey. For example, if social media or your cell phone serves as your largest distractor, rather than turning it off completely, set a timer and only allow yourself to use it in intervals. This will serve as an incentive to get more productive when you’re supposed to, as you know your designated social media time (or whatever else distracts you) time is just around the corner.
Next time you are feeling distracted or fatigued at work, simply make small changes throughout your day to get more productive. Write down your goals, big and small, complete one task at a time, go outside and take breaks on a regular basis, get a change of scenery from time to time, and make sure to take note of your main distractors to have more productive days that lead to a more productive entrepreneurial journey.