3 Ways to Become a More Productive Solopreneur
By Zahra Amanpour, Indiegrove
Productivity is a big deal for solopreneurs. Unlike your cubicle bound contemporaries, the success of your new company rests solely on your shoulders. For some that means the difference between ramen and steak for dinner, for others it means making rent before your cash runway runs out. That’s the difference between continuing to build what you love and returning to the dreaded J-O-B. On the positive side, getting your productivity up can mean faster growth, more accomplishments and even working shorter hours (if that’s your thing). In essence, productivity is working smarter, not harder. If you choose to work harder, it’s going farther than your competitors who have the same hours in the day as you do. If you want to make it to the next level, it’s a problem you have to solve. Scale, impact and employees lie on the other end of figuring out your productivity as a solopreneur. With these lofty goals in mind, let’s jump right into three tips on how to become a more productive solopreneur.
One prime that you can set wherever you are is a consistent morning routine. In the book Daily Rituals, Thomas Craven explored the lives of some of the most prolific producers in business, art and science and found that they all had rigid routines, almost without exception. Hitting all of the check marks on your morning routine is a mental ‘win’ that establishes positive momentum. Going straight to a challenging task (more on that later) can establish a second win which builds upon that momentum even further. In order to become a more productive solopreneur, you must establish positive momentum.
As the day progresses, you keep charging forward like a snowball moving downhill and can finish the day strong with energy and high quality work. String together a few days of this and you have a great week. String together a few decades of this and you have a career like Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright or Maya Angelou. If you don’t have a morning routine yet, here is a good place to start, think back to a day when you got a lot done. What did you do after you woke up? This can form the base of your morning routine. Some morning rituals include physical activity, setting time aside for reflection or a spiritual practice, writing, setting goals, listening to music or motivational speaking, or eating a specific food that gets your mind going.
To become a more productive solopreneur, we have to remember that we don’t the luxury of being able to kick off an email to accounting or HR. We are everything from CEO down to janitor. One of the biggest time sucks in the modern workplace is task switching. Research has shown that it takes a full x minutes to get fully in ‘the zone’ after being distracted by something. If you’re trying to get more out of the 24 hours we all have, that can be a killer.
Here is an easy fix, split your schedule into time blocks by “department” in order to get yourself in the zone and minimize task switching. For example, you can schedule everything you do for outbound marketing on Monday and Tuesday mornings. Everything related to bookkeeping and finance, take care of on Tuesday afternoons. Do your sales calls on Thursday mornings while your prospects are in the office, and schedule your email follow up on Wednesdays when your clients are likely to be bored and checking email. This is just an example, the important thing is to choose “something” and make it work for you. By setting aside time for each function, you will lose much less to task switching. As a bonus, you will get a priming effect when the designated time slot comes around, getting the juices flowing for some creative marketing on Monday morning or hunkering down for doing the books after lunch on Tuesday.
3. Have a space that inspires you
The space in which you work has a powerful effect on the quality of your work. “I do my best work surrounded by dirty socks and old takeout boxes,” said no one ever. Clutter will distract you. Having it in your peripheral vision can catch your eye and distract your attention (hello task switching). For the more OCD among us, it can also serve as a righteous way to procrastinate for another half hour before jumping into your most important work for the day.
On the positive side, having a clean and bright work space can inspire you to do your best. A big picture move is simply getting a separate space to do your work. You get hungry in your kitchen, start looking for distractions on your couch, and get tired in the bedroom. If you are working there, you are working with conflicting primes in your mind. Having a place where you only do work can get your mental gears turning at high speed as soon as you enter it.
Download the full 15 Research Based Ways To Become a More Productive Solopreneur Guide here.