Launching or growing a startup is not easy. Prospecting for clients, managing employees, defining strategy – all of these tasks need to be managed well if you want to achieve your goal. Here are five tips from personal coaches and successful entrepreneurs that will help you get organized and maximize your obligations!
1) Break your day into 30-minute blocks
With the multitude of tasks you have, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to turn. Many young entrepreneurs don’t set boundaries between their various chores, finding themselves at the end of the day with some 80% done and others at 5%.
Furthermore, studies show that working on several tasks simultaneously is like working through the night, and can reduce your productivity by 40%!
To avoid this, several techniques exist, including the Pomodoro technique which is recommended by many entrepreneurs. Close to the concepts of iterative cycles and agile methods, this technique is based on the use of a timer allowing you to respect 25-minute work periods called Pomodori. Each period will be assigned a unique task, thus subdividing your day between the different Pomodori. It is up to you to vary the length of the Pomodori according to your endurance.
2) To-do lists, the ultimate evil!
Forget about To-do lists. Planning will bring you face to face with the facts (how much time do you have? and how long will each task take). Planning will reduce your urge to procrastinate. You are no longer deciding whether to work between this and that period, the work is already planned.
Cal Newport, best-selling author on personal development says: “I make what I call ‘Productive Fixed Agendas’. I start by giving myself a deadline of 5.30pm. Then i create the ideal day’s schedule based on my priorities. I approach my tasks by priority, putting aside any contingencies that may arise. By trying to do all the tasks in my daily schedule, I ended up becoming more and more efficient.
3) Avoid checking the email box every ten minutes
One of the evils of being an entrepreneur is the multitude of emails you receive. Copy of an email, watch, info, often these emails are not important or at least not very urgent, and can be processed within 24 hours.
So take three slots a day to check your emails, rather than 20 times a day. And only answer emails once a day. This will allow you to focus on the high value-added tasks (sales, strategy, etc.).
4) Don’t be alone, surround yourself with people
Wanting to do everything yourself is the worst thing an entrepreneur can do. Likewise, wanting to micro-manage everything will take a lot of time without necessarily adding value. If you have a team with you, avoid spending too much time on their business, as this will be to the detriment of your work as a business manager. Learn to delegate and trust.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a team, don’t hesitate to surround yourself with service providers. You are not Jarod of the chameleon, and even if you were, it would be difficult for you to do everything yourself, correctly and quickly. So at Medialem, some clients ask us to accompany them throughout their project in the realization of their technical solution. This allows them to devote themselves to other tasks that they excel at, and to leave the technical chore to a service provider whose domain it is.
5) Use post-it!
Post-its are not just for beauty (yes, they can be used for decoration too!). They can be used to remind you of important assignments.
John Hall of Influence&Co explains: “Every night before I go to bed, I identify the five critical tasks that need to be done the next day, write them down on a post-it note, and stick them at the top of the screen. These tasks must be priorities, my day will not be considered complete if they are not. The earlier I do them, the less pressure I will have, and vice versa. If I procrastinate, I’ll pay the price by staying late at night.”
Studies show that a person’s environment has a huge impact on the decisions they make. So create the environment that will keep you focused on your critical obligations and surround yourself with post-it notes.
Learn to organize yourself to become as efficient as possible. The few techniques suggested will help you, but you are the person who knows you best. So learn to take advantage of your strengths, and improve your weaknesses. Don’t stay alone, surround yourself with the right people, either internally or with service providers to free you from certain tasks, this will increase the chances of success for your business.