When you first try to get your business off the ground, it’s easy to get sidetracked, feel discouraged, unmotivated and just downright quit.
I have kept an eye on habits of mine which stops me from being productive. If you want to increase your productivity, you should do the same and see where you spend an inordinate amount of time which could have been better spend elsewhere.
1. Don’t start your day by watching a TV show/movie
How I start my day makes all the difference in the world in determining how productive my day will turn out. If I start my day off watching a movie or TV show or playing games, it makes me feel lazy and if it’s a serial TV show, then I just feel like watching the entire season. Not a great start to the day. Thankfully, I don’t do this too often, only when a new episode of Family Guy, Homeland, Breaking Bad (when it was playing), Boardwalk Empire, How I Met Your Mother + another 5 TV shows which I can’t think of, comes out.
Now I avoid this by starting my day with coffee outside and reading the newspaper. This tends to put me into ‘work mode’ rather than ‘relax mode’ (which happens when I start watching movies). Reading the newspaper jogs my mind, and gives me ideas. I noticed that just being outside in the morning and getting fresh air helps a lot. It’s better to be in ‘relax mode’ before you sleep so save the movies for then!
2. Not having a plan
I never use to plan my day out. Instead, I would take care of things as they came to my attention. Sometimes I would remember to do what needed to be done. Other times I would start reading one article on HN which references another blog which talks about a topic that I’m interested which leads me to search that topic which leads me to purchase an ebook on Kindle yada yada yada… There goes 4 hours of my day and I still have 10 unanswered support emails.
Plan your day on the day prior. Make an essential to do list which lists out critical or important things that must be done that day in addition to any appointments and meetings that you have. I use to use Asana but now I just use a legal pad to keep track of everything I do. I also make a summary of the important things I have done for the day and keep it in a folder. If there’s something that you especially don’t want to do, make it a high priority so that it gets done!
3. Staying home all day on your computer
I don’t know about you but it’s very difficult for me to stay productive if I spend all day at home on the computer. I have to be outside — at least for a while. Thus I tend to spend most of my day at the cafe working. It tends to help me keep focused and I notice that I’m more enthusiastic and optimistic about my work for some reason when I’m out and about.
4. Not sleeping regularly (or enough!)
I tend to read a lot and this is certainly true before I go to sleep. If what I’ve read is really interesting, I’ll keep on reading deep into the night (and sometimes into the next morning). That really fucks me up the next day — especially in the morning! If you are like me and sometimes sleep 3 or 4 hours a few days in a row and other times sleep 10 hours to make up lost sleep, then during working hours, you’re probably half human, half zombie.
If you try to sleep consistently around the same time every night, your body will reward you by giving you more energy. Plus there are probably some health benefits to doing this as well.
5. Not Exercising
I use to exercise. I seemed to have stopped a few years ago and I have definitely noticed decreased energy levels. I feel tired a lot. You probably feel that exercising doesn’t belong to this list. I feel the same way.
But it is what it is. Exercising regularly will improve your mood, increase your energy levels, and allow you to sleep better. I know you probably have a million things to do everyday and exercising isn’t one of them. But you’ll thank me for it if once you actually get into it. Doing a team sports makes it easier and funner. It’s difficult for me to commit time on a regular basis (I travel a lot) to team sports so I usually just jog (and listen to audio books or Mixergy while I’m at it!) or swim.
What are some of your roadblocks?