You’ve finally gotten your startup business up and running.
You want to keep the momentum up so you get busy, run from one meeting to the next and work round-the-clock all the while thinking that doing these should improve productivity – your own and your business’s.
But it doesn’t.
You might look busy and productive while you’re shuffling papers on your desk but you’re really just overwhelmed by the many things that you need to get done and at a loss where to start.
5 Ways To Boost Productivity In Your Startup Business
While it is understandable and laudable that you want to spend a considerable amount of time and effort to keep your startup business “all systems go”, it’s also important to know being “busy” doesn’t necessarily improve productivity or efficiency.
1. Section your day
The thought of the next work day becomes ominous to some because they have the habit of taking on more work than they can handle. When you do this, a work day becomes a giant tangle of things that you can’t figure out where to start untangling.
A good way to avoid this mess is to divide your day into sections with breaks in between. A section is obviously easier to manage than a whole and it is way, way less overwhelming. That’s why this system works. It’s the same reason a hairstylist cuts hair in sections or why pizza is eaten by slices.
Go through your work day like how you’d work through your pizza – in manageable slices – something that you can actually hold with just your pair of hands. Focus on one section – one task. As soon as you’re done with one section, take a breath and move on to the next.
2. Put specific entries in your to-do list
To-do lists are great – I myself am a big fan. The problem with them though are the “vague” entries. If I put “Talk to Kris” on my list, I’m not committing myself to the task entirely. Why? It’s vague. There’s no “when”, there’s not even a “what” – If I don’t talk to her today, it won’t be a problem, it just needs to go on tomorrow’s list and so on and so forth until I finally get around to doing it.
Setting a more specific goal like “Talk to Kris today at 10 am about the next project” vs “Talk to Kris” means I’m committing my 10 am to that call with Kris TODAY (not tomorrow, not next week) to talk about the next project and not to gossip like two old ladies at the bus stop.
Be specific. Have specific goals.
The specificity of your to-do list entry allows you to condition yourself so you’re ready for that task. This makes you more determined to be more productive so you can finish it and cross it off your list.
3. Take action
You’ve sectioned your work day and have perfected your to-do list. Now what?
Well, now it’s time to take action. You’ve got to look at your to-do list and consider each task and decide to get them done. If the task is something that you can do, get it done. If there’s something you can do, an action you can take to get a task closer to completion – do it and then send it to the next person for the next step. Is there a task in your list that you can’t take action on yet? Delegate it to a person who can, By doing so, you’re not just making yourself productive, you’re also boosting the productivity of the whole team so no time is wasted.
4. Set a goal and see it through
The most difficult part of a task is seeing it through to the finish. This holds true, especially for long term goals. One thing that could help is having a motivation to keep going.
Pick a task. Set a deadline for that task and mark your calendar. Make it a point to work on the task you picked each day. Cross out each day that passes that gets you closer to the deadline. Being able to visually see the chain of days that have been crossed out motivates you to not break it – to make sure that each day has been crossed out leading to the deadline.
This is the same system used by those weirdly addictive puzzle games that gift you with super bombs and with each consecutive day you play, you get a slightly better bomb and so on until you get the best ever super bomb in the game. If you miss a day – or break the chain – you have to start over. Motivation.
5. Break down your task into actionable steps
Once you’ve decided on a goal, set a deadline you need to figure out how you can get it to the finish line. The Behance Action Method suggests that you list down the things that need to be done after each interaction.
The idea is to come up with a list of actionable steps you can take per point of discussion with collaborators or group members. This encourages you to take note of each “side idea” that branches off of the main one while allowing you to see each idea or task as tangible, doable and actionable and not some hard to reach the goal.
The Bottom Line
As startups, the end goal remains the same – business growth. Productivity gets you closer to this end goal. The point here is not to look busy but to be more efficient, to get more things done in the littlest amount of time possible. After all, especially for startups, time well spent is money saved.
If you enjoyed these tips and would like to get more content like this, please remember to download your copy of our 21-point business startup checklist. It is a simple yet in-depth checklist we’ve put together for you to help you get started toward your startup goal.