The perfect work day, the unicorn for the productive entrepreneur. You’ve read numerous articles about the most successful entrepreneurs who map out their day to the tee. They have time designated for a morning meditation, an invigorating workout to get their blood pumping, and a healthy breakfast. They have systems set in place to know exactly what they are doing, where they are supposed to be, and an elaborate task list that outlines their master plan. They carve out time for family and friends, enjoying time doing things they love, and end their day winding down with a hot bath or good book before starting the day again. They seem to have it all together…and you are green with envy just thinking about it!
Let’s take a screenshot of your typical day as an average entrepreneur, shall we? You jump out of bed, not necessarily from enthusiasm, but for the fear you will oversleep from your alarm, because you were up from working late the night before. You grab your cell phone and start going through emails before even saying good morning to your significant other and family and fuel up on coffee or an energy drink, and maybe a granola bar if you are lucky. When you find yourself at your desk, you become completely overwhelmed with emails, calls, to do lists, and tasks that keep piling up and seem never ending. There is so much to do and you don’t know where to start, and you find yourself distracting yourself from the noise by scrolling on Facebook or comparing yourself to others on Instagram, causing you to feel even worse about yourself.
When your workday is almost done, you try to wind down, but are distracted and have a difficult time focusing because you continue to check your emails and social media. This may even take you away from time with your family and it’s already too late for a workout. You often wonder is all of this work even worth it and continue to work until the late hours of the night so you can feel like you caught up. You feel exhausted from the long day and worst of all, you don’t feel like you even accomplished anything significant and made tons of personal sacrifices for mediocrity.
Sound too familiar? What makes the difference between successful productive entrepreneurs and those who struggle? One individual is not more talented than the other. This also doesn’t involve a major lifestyle overhaul. Successful entrepreneurs have mastered the concept of productivity, making minor changes to their routine, and have developed a skill of improving their workplace performance by having working habits and systems in place to guide them day to day.
Here are 3 productivity hacks that you can start today to make a perfect workday a reality.
1. Develop a Pre-Work Ritual
Many high performing athletes have some sort of pre-game ritual to get their mindset focused before an intense game. Taking a moment to follow a pre-work ritual before entering a high pressure work environment is an effective method to get you mentally prepared for all of your tasks. Whether it is clearing an area of your desk, picking up a certain pen, or taking a moment to focus before opening your inbox, a pre-work ritual can decrease your anxiety and give you a sense of empowerment, even in situations where you may not have control.
2. Put Your Brain On Autopilot As Often As Possible
Some of the world’s most productive entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are known for wearing the same outfit everyday. The thought process behind this is decreasing decision making for certain everyday activities will increase your productivity. Setting and forgetting certain activities gives you more mental space to make decisions that require more of your focus and expertise.
Our personal autopilot hack: We remember entering our business when we didn’t have the perfect day set-up. Emails were all over the place and we had to dig through our inbox to figure out who needed follow-up. Thankfully, we were introduced a wonderful product: 17hats, and began learning about the concept of a workflow. Having workflows set in place is an excellent way to autopilot your daily routine and 17hats gives you the perfect platform for this. Walking into our office each day, knowing that all we need to do is glance at our dashboard and see what emails we need to send in the morning, what tasks need to be completed, and who we need to follow up with for invoicing gives us a sense of relief because we don’t have to think about it. We can get these tasks done quickly at the beginning of our day, so that our time can be better spent with more intensive projects to grow our business.
3. Create a Capture List
Most of the anxiety that entrepreneurs experience comes from the endless to do lists in their heads. It is so important to get this information out of your head and onto paper, so it doesn’t clutter your mind. Having a capture list to write out all of the things you need to do, either personally or professionally, will ease your mind so you don’t feel like you will forget something and can later make a plan of action for when and how you will get these tasks done.
Creating the perfect day doesn’t have to be a fantasy animal for an entrepreneur and can be quite attainable with a few shifts to adopt productive and sustainable systems and habits that anyone can do, starting today!