One of the statements entrepreneurs often seem to repeat is that there aren’t nearly enough hours in a single day to get all the work done. Building your own business from the ground up is by no means an easy feat and it often involves extremely long work hours, especially during the early years of a startup. The internet is chock full of different productivity methods, with time management applications seemingly overflooding the business and productivity sections in the app stores. But at the end of the day, there is no single solution for boosting your productivity. But there are some productivity hacks that fare better than the others and all it takes is to find the ones that best suit your individual needs.
Get more sleep
Sleep is something we often sacrifice in order to get work done and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to entrepreneurship, once you consider the long work-hours and the constant grind business owners experience in the early years of their startup. However, exhaustion and sleep deprivation lead to moodiness, increased stress levels, diminished concentration, as well as problem-solving skills and significantly increase your chances of developing weight issues and heart problems.
Sleep helps repair our brain’s neural pathways and maintain both our short- and long-term retention of memory. We all have different circadian rhythms and sleeping schedules, but a 20 to 30-minute midday power nap is more than enough to replenish your energy levels and prevent sleep inertia from affecting you during sleep later at night.
Don’t be afraid to pull an all-nighter
While sleep deprivation is absolutely detrimental to your productivity, pulling an all-nighter from time to time can actually increase your productivity. Counter-intuitive as it may sound, our brains are better problem solvers when they are slightly distracted and once you douse it with enough caffeine, the brain will stop responding to a chemical that makes you tired in the first place, called adenosine. If you’re looking for a short-term productivity boost, drink some coffee right before taking a short, 15-20-minute nap.
Boost productivity with music
Did you know that back in the day, factory workers used to sing in order to get their minds off the noisy production lines? Or that during the 1930s, some companies hired professional musicians to sing and play for employees? The effects music has on our productivity has long been known to have a positive impact on our productivity. Background noise normally found inside an office environment is oftentimes too distracting for the average worker. A quality pair of in ear headphones has basically become a part of office inventory as it helps people cut out the distractions. The most important thing is to use them in moderation and distract yourself just enough to get your work done more efficiently.
Procrastinate more productively
Procrastination is something we have all experienced at one point or the other, but did you know that procrastination can often be one of the symptoms associated with burnout? Working long shifts can lead to physical, emotional and mental exhaustion and lead to a chronic lack of motivation. While procrastination can be detrimental to your work habit, it doesn’t have to be as long as you’re procrastinating productively. Structured procrastination is the way to go, as it describes the proactive of setting a finite amount of time for procrastination and using it to get your mind completely off work. It may require some self-discipline at first, but you will be thanking yourself later on.
While the life of an average entrepreneur is filled with long work hours that exceed even 60 hours per week, there’s a good reason why the optimal work-week is limited to 40 work hours and that is to prevent burnout and maintaining your productivity at a satisfactory level. Even if you have more work than you can physically handle, it’s important to limit the number of work-hours you put in.
Decreasing the number of hours you set out for work also creates a sense of urgency and can actually improve your performance and result in better efficiency. At the end of the day, the best productivity hack is knowing yourself and your physical and psychological limitations and using that knowledge to create a work routine that will best suit your individual needs and preferences.