6 of the Best Solopreneur Productivity Tips
No one is going to make you work. That can be a scary proposition for anyone who wants to make it as a solopreneur. You may not have a team surrounding and supporting you, so it’s important to have systems in place to keep you orderly and on-task.
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Here are a few great productivity tips that can help you do more with your time, so that you don’t feel like you are the weakest link when you look in the mirror at ‘your boss’:
#1 – Set a Specific Morning Routine
Author Thomas Craven observed a broad spectrum of fields at people who have been incredibly productive in his book Daily Rituals. He found that they all had a strict routine they followed each day. That’s particularly critical in the morning to structure success and focus early. It can also be helpful to begin with something you really don’t want to do – so it’s out of the way and the rest of your day looks brighter.
#2 – Realize that Your Time is a Precious Resource
Success is about priority management, not time management. A priority is anything that makes you money, saves you money, or automates your business. If you squander your time on low priorities, your productivity and profitability will suffer. A successful solopreneur constantly asks, ‘is this activity the highest and best use of my time?’ If not, delegate it or delete if from your action list.
#3 – Organize your Priority List in terms of Batching
The problem with most to-do lists is there is no differentiation in duration, complexity, or priority. It’s simply a list of things that need to get done - usually written down as ideas pop into our minds. Without a specific plan to tackle the list, many solopreneurs waste time on activities that don’t generate income for the company. On the opposite extreme, a lengthy to-do list can be overwhelming which can trigger procrastination.
Like other productivity experts, I recommend task batching, also called chunking or theming, of your to-do list. You can easily implement this strategy by grouping the tasks on your to-do list so you are not wasting time constantly transitioning between unrelated tasks. I cover this productivity technique in my blog, How to be More Efficient in Your Business with Batching.
#4 – Don’t Let Distractions Pull You Off Course
As business owners, we are constantly bombarded by interruptions and shiny objects more interesting than the task at hand. Your coffee cup is empty. You’ve been forgetting to email your client. You want to find out what’s happening in political news or on Facebook.
Since it’s so easy to lose focus, try the 50-10 formula. Focus relentlessly on your tasks for 50 minutes, then take a mandatory 10 minute break to stretch, rehydrate, or check your social media accounts. When you know you have a scheduled break, it’s simple to power through tasks that need to get accomplished.
#5 – Strike a Balance with Set Working Hours
It’s easy to work harder and longer as a solopreneur because we are so passionate about our companies. However, working 12 or 16 hour days isn’t sustainable. You need to take time to eat healthy, get exercise, and spend time with your loved ones. In other words, you need work-life balance.
If you obsess too much over work, it can actually hurt your productivity, advises Emily Farrar of Shoeboxed. “Your creativity is sucked dry,” she says. “It becomes next to impossible to infuse your work with the kind of joyful energy that will attract more clients and keep old customers coming back.”
You probably have a time that you start each day. Set a time that you commit to stop each day, too. According to Parkinson's Law, “work expands to fill the time available for its completion". By knowing what time your day will end, you will optimize your focus during your work hours.
#6 – Outsource and Delegate
The solopreneur must wear many hats, but that doesn’t mean you must wear all of them – or that it’s a good idea to take on every aspect of the business yourself.
Outsourcing to third parties can strike fear into the heart of a solopreneur, since it’s easy to get used to tackling everything on your own. The work they produce could be poor. They might not get the assignment to you by the deadline you establish. You could damage client relationships by choosing the wrong person or company.
Delegation will be critical, especially as your business grows and it’s increasingly difficult to fit everything into your day. At some point, doing it all yourself will choke-hold the business and cap its growth. You’ll need to choose between control and growth. If you want growth, you must delegate.
These 6 tips will help any solopreneur optimize their day so they can get more done in less time.
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