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5 Best Productivity Hacks For Solo Entrepreneurs

5 Best Productivity Hacks For Solo Entrepreneurs

The life of an entrepreneur can be quite overwhelming at times. It’s not just about the money. Time goes alongside money. It is one of the greatest commodities any entrepreneur can ever have. That said, it is considered that entrepreneurs are very conservative when it comes to spending time and money. They are meant to be that way. They wear multiple hats at the same time. Sometimes managing all these things can be a huge challenge. Have you ever thought about adding some hacks to your daily routine – perhaps some productivity hacks to make yourself more productive?

As an entrepreneur, your typical day is packed with hundreds of emails, going through the daily routine and schedule, meetings, and trying to manage a to-do list that seems to keep on growing. But the real challenge is trying to tackle the daily progress and standardizing it.

How can you increase productivity and manage everything at the same time? Go to walk, join a gym and use fitness bands to keep track of your daily workouts.

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Here are five hacks entrepreneurs use to stay on track so they avoid wasting time and money.

1. Prioritize Your Goals and Customize a Schedule

To begin with, you need to step up certain goals and targets you need to achieve. More importantly, you need to prioritize these goals to gain focus. You also need to prioritize yourself by setting up time blocks for each task and completing it within that time frame. When you’re limiting yourself to certain activities in a certain amount of time, you are preparing yourself to manager harder tasks with ease and precision and also within a deadline.

To keep yourself organized, you can always download a tool, software or application. There are plenty in the market. One of these is ToodleDo, a multi-functional tool that will help improve overall productivity and organization.

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2. Handle Most Undesirable and Difficult Tasks First

Your to-do list might have numerous tasks you find are the most undesirable and most difficult. You leave them behind and focus on many other ones on the list. This is not an ideal way to go. It’s going to be hard, but you have to get the undesirable tasks out of the way now or tomorrow. What would be your choice?

Tom Hopkins states that the most difficult and challenging tasks should be handled first. Don’t run away from them because you find them undesirable. Do them early on, when you are at the peak of your energy.

3. Hire an Assistant

Too much work on your hands? You have to get the workload off your shoulders. Remember, you are one person and you can’t possibly do everything. You need to realize that you cannot handle everything on your own. You just might need an assistant. Skimming past this crucial point will not be very helpful and productive. Just because you can’t afford one doesn’t mean you should just forget about it.

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In the words of Tony Robbins, you can make two hours four by hiring an assistant. If you require two hours of help a day, you can make it four as you and your assistant both will spend the same amount of time. He also states while telling his story that we all think we can do everything ourselves but that’s not possible. Hiring help is the best way to go and a great productivity tip.

4. Use Technology To Make Your Job Easier

Technology has come a long, long way. Today, you can make things easy for you by the use of technology. The high-tech, cutting-edge gadgets and software are meant to cater to your needs and ease your workload. You will find countless applications, tools and software that will help you effectively and efficiently complete a task – even the most complicated ones. Navigate swiftly through your day with the help of these modern day tools and gadgets.

There are plenty of free tools and applications you can use for single chores. For instance, Dropbox is a great tool to store your important files. If you want to host a webinar, you can use AnyMeeting. For project management, try Basecamp.

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5. Evaluate Everything, Improve and Repeat

When you adopt any new activity or system, you need to assess it. Evaluate every bit of detail and modify it if needed. Make sure to leave enough space for improvement and once you have done that, you will keep getting better at things. The first time may not be a huge success. Don’t worry. Evaluate where you went wrong and make the changes that will help you perform better. After that, you need to repeat it and ensure you’re on the right track. A plan that goes wrong means it had something that was either missing or overlooked. Review every single bit of detail to find out what went wrong and do it all over again.

Try these productivity hacks to manage your workload effectively. You’ll be more efficient, saving time and money.

More by this author

Tanvir Zafar

The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about productivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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