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How to Be More Productive… Without Working Too Hard

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The life of an entrepreneur can be both demanding and time-consuming. It requires leadership, extensive research, and follow-through. In order to accomplish the day-to-day tasks and priorities that come with owning your own business, the art of discipline is a must.

In this article, you will learn techniques that will help improve your execution and maximize the value of your time.


It’s All About the Value

The term “value” can sometimes be an overlooked idea. Often you may hear friends, colleagues, and family members say things like, “If I had more time, I could find ways to make more money.” Or, “there just isn’t enough hours in the day.”

Truth is, you will never be able to add extra time. But what you can do is maximize the value of the 24 hours you do have.

The famous American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “do not wish for more time, wish for more skills. Do not wish things to be easier, wish you were more equipped to handle the hard times.” When you become more skilled and better equipped for difficulties, you are adding value to yourself.

The time it takes to improve one’s self in these areas vary depending on the individual. But there are ways to begin this improvement that we all can take starting today.


Mapping Your Mind

One popular technique to become more productive without burning yourself out is the use of mind maps. Mind map tools can be compared to brainstorming. It starts out with you writing down a central idea or priority. From this central idea, branches and subcategories begin to form.

Every branch or thought that forms must be connected to the central idea. If it does not have any relation, it is not relevant to your day and should not be focused upon.

The use of mind maps allow for a free flow of ideas while remaining controlled and deliberate. This technique uses both sides of the brain, allowing the creativity of thought and the imprint of visualization to connect with problem solving and structure.

This strategy has been said to not only keep you focused on a task without becoming distracted, but also to reduce the time it would take you to complete a task on your own. Once again, the efficiency will vary depending on the individual, but the use of mind maps can allow you to accomplish 20 hours of work in only 6 hours.


Fill the Gaps with the Right Tech

The use of technology has often been looked at as a factor in productivity loss. Having a smartphone at an arm’s reach can be a source of distraction when it comes to work. At the same time, utilizing the right technology can actually improve productivity and make your day more efficient.

The first tip when incorporating technology into your day-to-day tasks, is determining what area you lack efficiency, and what form of technology can help fill that gap.

A good place to start is automation. When it comes to paying bills, responding to emails, and updating contact lists, the less you have to do manually the better. So using applications such as Active Campaign, Salesforce, and MailChimp can help automate email responses and keep your client list organized. Regarding bill payment and transactions, PayPal and Skrill, remains some of the top choices for entrepreneurs.

Let’s not forget calendar apps and task reminders. Recording goals and setting reminders can be excellent ways to keep you on task and up-to-date of your priorities. Set goals and keep it simple. You can have reminders set daily, weekly, or monthly so that you do not forget about that important meeting or phone call.


Break It Down Now!

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to increase productivity would be what is known as the Pomodoro Technique. Created in the early 90s by Francisco Cirillo, a developer and entrepreneur, the Pomodoro Technique enables you to hyper-focus on a task for regulated periods of time, followed by short breaks.

Named after the tomato shaped timer Cirillo used to track his work while he was a student, this technique helps to finish work involving deadlines or answering emails from a cluttered inbox. The technique is broken into 5 steps:

  1. Choose a task to be completed.
  2. Set timer or “pomodoro” for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on this task until the pomodoro rings.
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes).
  5. Begin again, taking longer breaks every 5 pomodoros (15-30 minutes).

The goal is to get in a zone and focus, but also to come up for air. This lessens the chances of burning out or becoming distracted. What’s great about this technique is that you can use simple tools such as a stopwatch, or utilize the timer app on your phone.

To Wrap Up…

When you can achieve a balance between focused work and much-needed breaks, your time becomes maximized in terms of value. Mind Maps, Tech, and the Pomodoro Technique are excellent ways to increase your productivity and become more valuable as a worker.

The goal is not to become rigid, but to find a solution that works best for you and your field of expertise. The most successful entrepreneurs treat their work not as long, enduring processes, but as sprints. Adopt this thinking, and you will not only improve your work output, but end your day with a rested mind.

About the Author

Jen McKenzie is a self-employed author hailing from New York, NY. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

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