How do the world’s most successful entrepreneurs stay productive and not burn out? It’s well known that Virgin’s Richard Branson credits his daily exercise program for keeping him on top of things. But when you’re the only employee, it’s hard to justify taking a break. There’s just too much to do—and you’re the only one who can do it.
The key is to get your workload under control now—before you get even busier and end up digging yourself into a hole so deep your business starts to suffer. Here are 5 tips for keeping your productivity up and your stress level to a minimum:
- Get moving. Richard Branson is right (of course)—studies show physical activity is an affordable and effective method to improve cognitive function in people of all ages. Sitting at your computer all day is bad for your health and for your business. Get up and get out. Walk around the block or in a nearby park. Join a gym that’s near your home or office. There are lots of fitness apps you can download. Don’t think of exercise as time you should be spending working. Make it a priority, and you’ll soon get addicted to the productive rush it gives your day.
- Get out of the office. Meet a friend or colleague for lunch. Just changing the scenery and not being tethered to your computer can be a “pick-me-up.”
- Work at peak times. If you know your most productive hours are late at night, then save the tasks that need the most attention for that time of your day. Plan to make the mornings all about returning calls and emails, ordering supplies and other general housekeeping tasks that don’t require your best thinking. Save your energy for the hours you feel most awake and productive.
- Give yourself breathing room. Be realistic about how long certain tasks take and don’t over pack your schedule. That’s just an invitation to make mistakes, miss deadlines and fall further behind. Remember to build in extra time for those constant interruptions and last-minute projects.
- If you’re not ready to hire full-or part-time employees, think about which jobs you can outsource, such as IT assistance, accounting and sales and marketing, including SEO. This will give you more time in your day—and get the tasks you don’t like to do off your plate, which will boost your enthusiasm and energy.
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