Whether you work from home or have a thriving startup, there are many additional challenges that self-employed individuals face during a workday. For example, being your own boss means that you must keep yourself motivated at all times. To help you with this process, here are 9 hacks that can make each workday more productive.
1. Firmly Structure Your Day
As previously mentioned, remaining motivated can be very difficult for self-employed individuals. To help combat this problem, it is best to firmly structure each workday. Not only will this make it easier to hold yourself accountable but it will also make it possible to more accurately measure your productivity. As an added bonus, you will remove the anxiety of being unsure of what to expect throughout your day. By structuring everything, including when you will have phone meetings with clients or investors, you can feel more in control.
2. Use Project Management Software to Track Everything
Some self-employed entrepreneurs believe that project management software is only practical for a large business, but this is absolutely not true. In fact, even creative individuals have begun turning to software to help them manage each of their projects. The advantage of taking this approach is that you will be able to easily track every aspect of your projects in one comprehensive dashboard. Some developers, including WorkFlowMax, have even begun adding integration options with dozens of popular add-ons such as Google Drive.
3. Block out Distractions with White Noise
Studies have shown that using ambient noise can increase creativity, so it is a good idea to invest in a quality white noise machine or app. However, you need to ensure that you choose a white noise that is pleasing to your ears instead of distracting. Some experts recommend using the Thunderspace or Ambiance app, but it may work better in the office to invest in a white noise machine that you can place inside or outside your door.
4. Take Exercise Breaks
According to Harvard Health Publications, exercising on a regular basis will improve your mental sharpness, ability to concentrate and memory retention. Additionally, cortisol levels decline during the immediate aftermath of exercise, and this typically makes people feel less stressed. Therefore, taking a few 5-10 minute exercise breaks during your workday is a great way to make you healthier while simultaneously boosting your productivity.
5. Put a Social Media Blocker in Place
The average American spends 1.72 hours per day on social media sites, and much of this time happens while they are at work. To reduce this large amount of wasted time, you can install a social media blocker such as Work Mode to help yourself resist the urge to check your Facebook news feed when you should be doing something more productive. Of course, you will need to turn the blocker off when you are using social media for legitimate work related reasons, but that’s another good reason to structure each day. For example, if you spend 30 minutes working on social selling each morning, you can turn the social media blocker on for the rest of the day afterwards.
6. Give Yourself a Weekend
Are you tempted to work six or even seven days a week in the quest to get ahead? Doing this might seem like a good idea, but it’s actually going to reduce your overall productivity and creativity. The reality is that the human brain and body must have regular breaks in order to recharge, so you should give yourself two days off every week. Studies have also found productivity increases in workers who take a 30 minute exercise break during their workday, even though this reduces their work time by 6.25 percent. Another perk of giving yourself a weekend is that you can get personal tasks done on your off time instead of attempting to combine your professional and personal lives.
7. Carefully Choose Work Assignments
Do you have a client who is overly demanding and always trying to get something for nothing? Working with these individuals or other businesses may initially seem like a good idea because you want to boost your numbers, but the truth is that they will end up costing you more in lost opportunities and morale. With this in mind, it is best to carefully consider each work assignment or new client and give yourself permission to say no when necessary.
8. Create an Environment that is Conducive to Work
Regardless of whether you have an office or work out of your home, it is vital to create an environment that will help you stay on task. Make sure you keep your daily supplies easily accessible, and place distractions out of view. A workplace productivity study determined that having a private and quiet work-space can make a worker 10 times more productive than their peers who deal with noise and a lack of privacy. This highlights just how important it is to build the right work-space to meet your specific needs.
9. Set a Start and Quit Time Each Day
Self-employed individuals are often looser with their hours, but this is not conducive to getting the most out of every day. Instead, part of your daily structure should include a specific start and end time. Sticking to these guidelines will keep your structure in place, and it will guarantee that you do not work too many hours per day. You will also find yourself being more productive when you need to hit deadlines within a predetermined time frame instead of giving yourself an open-ended quitting time.
By following these basic guidelines, you can achieve a higher level of productivity during each day without sacrificing your personal life. You can also take advantage of several bio-hacks to put your mind and body in the best possible state for remaining productive throughout the workday.
Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek, Picjumbo via picjumbo.com