Four Productivity Hacks That Every Business Owner Should Master

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In a world that’s more connected than ever, distractions are waiting around every corner. It can be difficult, as a business owner, to stay focused and productive at work. Whether you’re running your own business or running a franchise, your attention is always being pulled in multiple directions. These four productivity hacks will help you knuckle down and get stuff done.

When running a franchise, there’s usually a lot to be accomplished in a day. This can be a difficult feat, especially if you’re someone who gets distracted easily. To help you keep your head in the game, use these productivity top tips.

Are you productive?

Self-understanding is one of the biggest keys to success, and learning to beat daily distractions and boost productivity is all about knowing your own weaknesses, and successfully combating them. Ask yourself the following questions to figure out where you need to improve:

  • Are you easily distracted? 

  • Once distracted, do you find it hard to get back on task?

  • Do you regularly work past the point of productivity? 

  • Do you have a lot of unfinished, open-ended work?

  • Do you often over-estimate the amount that you can accomplish in one day? 

If you answered yes to more than one of the above questions, it’s likely that you need a bit of help to improve your productivity at work. But don’t worry - you’re certainly not alone. In a 2020 study involving 1,000 people, only 15.6% claimed to never procrastinate. That’s more than 84% of the population procrastinating, with 20.5% admitting to doing it daily [Micro Biz Mag].

Four key productivity-boosting strategies

Ahead of these productivity hacks, it’s important to remember something: it’s hard to stay productive if you’re neglecting other areas of your life. Make sure you’re looking after yourself and investing time in your wellbeing, and you’ll see the benefits at work. 

At its core, procrastination is about not being able to manage your moods and emotions. Although many think impulsivity and self-control are the problems – and they do play a factor – underneath is a poor emotional response.
—Dr Fuschia Sirois, University of Sheffield

With your wellbeing on the right track, you can turn to these strategies to help you go the extra mile and achieve your professional goals...

Productivity hack one: Time blocking 

This is a time management technique in which you block off a certain period to complete a certain task. Distractions are easy to come by in the modern working environment, with many different forms of tech at our fingertips. 

Set aside time within these blocks to honour your distractions, and you’ll hopefully be able to dedicate your attention more fully to achieving one task at a time. This will make your to-do list much more manageable, and will give you the earned gratification of being able to tick tasks off of your list. 

How could I apply this strategy to my work?

Here’s an example of a time-blocking schedule:

  • 8:00 - Arrive at work 

  • 8:00 to 8:30 - Check emails

  • 8:30 to 9:00 - Check in with your team 

  • 9:00 to 10:30 - Priority project 1

  • 10:30 to 11:00 - Break/return any calls/check social media 

  • 11:00 to 12:30 - Priority project 2 

  • 12:30 to 1:30 - Lunch

  • 1:30 to 3:00 - Priority project 3 

  • 3:00 to 3:30 - Break/return calls/check social media 

  • 3:30 to 4:00 - Check emails 

  • 4:00 to 5:00 - Priority project 4 

Apply this type of method to the specifics of your working day, being sure to pay close attention to your priorities as you plan things out. You might be surprised by how productive you can be when you aren’t flipping between multiple tasks at once.

Productivity hack two: The Pomodoro technique

For another productivity-boosting solution, try the Pomodoro technique, created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Francesco was a university student when he created this productivity hack, and he was struggling to concentrate on his studies. Upon discovering a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, he had an idea. His technique has since been used by 2 million people, and is said to encourage focused attention.

The Pomodoro technique asks you to use a timer to break down your workload, allowing for focused work sessions with regular breaks. Francesco powered through his university years thinking in tomatoes (the Italian word for tomato is pomodoro), rather than hours, and it saw him through.

How could I apply this strategy to my work?

To try the Pomodoro Technique at work, you’ll need a timer (though it doesn’t need to be tomato-shaped!) and a to-do list. Set your timer to 25 minutes, and focus on a single task at a time. When your timer rings, your focused session of work has come to an end, forming one “pomodoro”, and you can enjoy a five minute break. When you complete four “pomodoros”, take a longer break. This might look something like:

  • Arrive at work

  • Complete four “pomodoros”, with five minute breaks between each

  • Take a 20-minute break 

  • Complete four more “pomodoros”

  • Enjoy your 30-minute lunch break

  • Complete four more “pomodoros”

  • Take a 20-minute break 

  • Complete a final two “pomodoros”

  • Return home

Productivity hack three: Deep work

To become a successful, super-productive business owner who gets the most out of every working day, you could try computer science professor Cal Newport’s strategy - deep work. Deep work relies on giving yourself an extremely strict time period in which to work. This strictness helps to limit procrastination and stress, and keeps you paying attention to the most urgent tasks. For bosses who struggle to delegate, for example, deep work could really help.

Be wary of the habit of never being bored. Your brain loses its tolerance for boredom and lack of stimuli which means when it comes time to do deep work, it’s going to have a hard time staying focused.
—Cal Newport

How could I apply this strategy to my work?

To remain productive as a franchisee, in a role full of ongoing responsibilities, follow Cal’s suggestions:

  • Leave social media if it mentally drains you

  • Avoid working evenings and weekends to prevent burnout

  • Acknowledge when you’re indulging in shallow work like checking your emails

  • Set boundaries when you’re practicing deep work to avoid distractions 

  • Engage in productive meditation, training your brain to focus on a single problem

  • Set a fixed outcome and let your brain know where to focus its energy

Productivity hack four: Eating the frog 

If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.
—Mark Twain

Running your own business is full of hard tasks, but productivity consultant Brian Tracy came up with a solid method to get these over and done with. He named it “eating the frog”, after the famous Mark Twain quote. Eating the frog boils down, very simply, to identifying your hardest task/the task you least want to do, and getting it done first thing in the morning.

How could I apply this to my work?

You can apply this method to your working life in three simple steps:

  • Identify your frog - Figure out what the hardest task that you’ll need to accomplish that day, or the task that you’re dreading the most, is.

  • Eat the frog - Complete this task first.

  • Get on with everything else - With the hardest part out of the way, work through the rest of your day buoyed by a sense of accomplishment. 

Raise your franchising game and create new, productive habits

Learning to master these productivity hacks will help you to enjoy a more efficient working day, and as a business owner, that’s everything you should be striving for. For more franchisor and franchisee tips, browse Point Franchise’s range of articles.

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