Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
–Francis Of Assisi
Think for a moment, how long have you wanted to launch your business?
Months? Years? Decades?
I’ll tell you something you already know; the path to becoming a full-time entrepreneur is tough.
It’s hard to know where to start, find the time, secure funding and balance the necessities – a roof over your head, food for the family, full-time job and so on.
It leaves you wondering how some ever make the transition – am I right?
Well, the most successful entrepreneurs share something in common. They know how to manage their time and attention to maximize productivity and get results.
In this article, we’ll explore seven productivity tips to help you manage your time and attention to get you one step closer to finally launching your business.
1. Just Say No
Your time is the most precious commodity you have, and you must protect it at all cost – especially when you’re trying to launch your business.
Keep in mind, everything has an opportunity cost. Saying “yes’ to one thing leaves a solid “no” for something else.
If you’re struggling with making real progress, it’s time to drop some “no-bombs.” Seriously, let them fly. Anything that doesn’t support the launch of your business gets a hard “no.” End of story, non-negotiable.
Think about this, Richard Branson said “no” to blank check because the event didn’t fit into his immediate business goals. And I get he’s not struggling for money, but it’s a point nonetheless.
Now, a vital piece is knowing where to spend your time. Meaning, you should have a plan put together – business plan, launch strategy, etc. – so you know exactly what to work on when you free up time.
The question is, “do you have a plan?” If not, review the article 5 Steps for Aspiring Foodpreneurs on the site and use the business plan resources listed at the bottom.
2. Avoid the Shiny Objects
There are hundreds and thousands of resources you can use to launch. It’s just a matter of selecting them, thoroughly working and being patient enough for traction.
Let me repeat that last part – being patient enough for traction. I believe too many people lack the patience required to get traction, which is a root cause of why so many get hooked on the “next big thing.”
When results are not immediate, people start searching for the faster option. The one that practically guarantees results (for 50% off right now in the next 3 hours!).
And when that happens, the “research” phase is perpetuated, the launch date fades and things are just plain frustrating.
Set a very specific timeline to research your required resources and when the time expires, make a decision.
Then, stick with the resources long enough for them to gain traction. Work with blinders on and avoid getting derailed by the “next big thing.”
3. Don’t Fill the Gap
You’ve done it before. One moment you’re working online and then suddenly you’re reading some “shocking” story or watching another viral video.
You were sucked into the “curiosity gap” and ended in the spiral-of-productivity-death.
What’s the “curiosity gap.”
It’s the space between what you read (think headlines) and what exists on the other side. And it’s a marketing trick that can suck you in quickly (one you can leverage in your marketing, but that’s another article).
For instance, when you read the headline, “He didn’t realize his mistake until it was too late,” you immediately question, “what mistake?” And now it has you clicking away.
When you’re aware of this trick to pull your attention, it will prevent you from getting sucked in while working online.
Personally, once I became conscious of this I began seeing it everywhere. Now, I purposely avoid filling the gap – and it feels great to get more done as a result.
You will be shocked at how much extra time you have in the day when you can avoid getting sucked into an online rabbit hole.
4. Pick the “One Thing”
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan wrote a great book called “The One Thing,” where they introduce a powerful productivity concept.
They suggest asking “What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
It’s a question you can answer for daily, weekly, monthly or yearly goals.
A perspective exercise like this places focus on the most important actions required and cuts out ancillary tasks.
Every morning ask yourself, “What’s the one thing I could do today that would make everything else easier or unnecessary?”
Then, set out to do that one thing!
Don’t just get it on a list looking all pretty, no, get it done.
As someone who uses this exercise, I guarantee you’ll make more progress in 30 days than the previous six months combined.
5. Create a “To-Don’t” List
Honestly, when someone gave me this advice I sat back and thought, “what?” Then I tried it and realized the power.
You can amend this to your “to-do” list each day as they complement each other.
Here are some examples of what may go on the list:
- Don’t aimlessly browse on social media today.
- Don’t accept any task, projects or invitations that don’t support my business goals.
- Don’t sleep until my “one thing” is accomplished.
- Don’t take any calls from (insert timeframe) today.
I think you get the idea.
Essentially, these can be promises you make every single day. And when you write them out as a focal point, it can make a significant impact.
It may be non-traditional, but give it a shot for a couple of weeks. You’ll be surprised at how it narrows your attention and increases productivity.
6. Turn Off Notifications
Do you know why this will be the hardest one to adopt?
It’s because of “FOMO.” Yes, the “Fear of Missing Out.”
Because if you go radio silent, who knows what you’ll miss – right?
When you allocate time to work, turn all notifications off. Yes, all of them – email, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, texts, calls…everything.
Here’s why; you can’t gain momentum when you’re constantly being interrupted. It’s just that simple.
Plus, you’ll never control your attention in any area of your life if you’re a slave to notifications – let that sink in for a moment.
With zero notifications, you’ll have the ability to get in the zone and accomplish an incredible amount of work in minimal time. All by removing the ability to be interrupted.
7. Categorize Creative & Non-Creative Tasks
Since creativity is a necessity when building a business, there’s nothing more frustrating (and stifling) than being tapped for ideas. When this happens, productivity comes to a screeching halt.
But it doesn’t have to…
Instead, when the creative juices are dry, simply switch gears to a non-creative task – that’s all.
You just need to categorize your tasks accordingly – creative and non-creative. Whether you make a mental note or list them explicitly somewhere, make sure you draw clear lines between them.
With this system in place, the moment you’re struggling creatively, you can change gears and keep the progress going. You can jump to something necessary, albeit a little mundane, and the show will go on. However, be careful not to change gears as a means to avoid the work, there’s a fine line.
We started with a question, “how long have you wanted to launch your business?” It’s one that makes you take a hard look in the mirror, and that’s the intention.
The question now becomes, “how much longer will it be for you to launch?” Do you think you can do it this year? How about in the next month?
Just remember, managing your time and attention will move you closer to the goal. Hopefully, these productivity tips are useful in that sense.
Thanks for taking the time to read and make sure to grab a copy of the first Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine. It’s a roundup of interviews and articles published from last month, which include Ferdinand Metz, Reimund Pitz, Chris Hill and Alain Braux.
I look forward to any thoughts below!
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