tips on how to focus and be productive

How do you manage your energy and prioritize your workload

If you’re a business owner or freelancer then you most likely don’t get paid by the hour to “be there”

You get paid for results, you get paid for output, and you’d (probably) rather get paid more than less.

You want to make the most with what you have and so you need to do two things:

  1. You need to manage your personal energy
  2. Make prioritizing tasks your friend

This is harder in practice than it seems, but that’s why it’s call practice: You need to practice prioritizing so that you get better at it and it gets easier over time.

There are 1001 books on the subject of getting things done, todo lists, and all the rest.

Here are my best tips as an entrepreneur on how to manage your energy and prioritize your workload:

  • Prioritize your day the night before
    • I find that if I don’t write out my tasks and the time that I allot for them the night before then the next day I’m totally lost. The time helps put pressure on me by imposing a self made deadline.
  • Get a good night’s sleep
    • Everyone has their different rhythms and requirements for sleep. For me I find I work optimally around 8-8.5 hours per night to help my brain and body recover the night before. Just getting to bed isn’t quite enough to have a deep sleep. Managing my day before bed contributes to how well and deep I will sleep. There are a few tips to help get a restful sleep:
      • No screens for an hour before bed
      • Eating a full meal 4 hours before bed. If I don’t eat enough I wake up hungry in the middle of the night and disrupt the sleep.
      • Limit caffeine in the afternoon and too much liquor at night time.
      • Take time to relax my brain through stretching/yoga, meditation or reading.
  • Start the day right
    • Eating a complete breakfast help fuel you for the day ahead. Your brain needs glucose to run, so having a good breakfast will help fuel you and get your metabolism going.
    • Feed your brain with a book or a podcast. While I make breakfast I put a podcast on to set the tone for my day by learning from leaders that have been to where I want to go. ( My favourite podcasts are: Self made mad, smart passive income, Entrepreneur on fire and the HBR Ideacast)
    • Visualize the day and calm your brain. It’s easy to wake up with a huge day ahead, and thoughts swirling around as to all the things you need to do, all the people that you need to meet and all the deadlines that you might have. I find quieting my brain allows my thoughts to sink in and lets me approach all my problems with a clear head. Even with the best amount of planning there will probably be some un expec
    • Your own morning routine. Some people do exercise, some read, some do their most important task, some do all those things. Hal Elrod has the 6 minute miracle morning which encapsulates many of these habits but in bite sized forms.
  • Do the right things
    • There will often be more things to do in a day then you have time for so it’s important to prioritize what’s most urgent and most important. In:Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity it shares some strategies on how to prioritize your tasks better and how to get more things done. It’s important to remember where you are trying to go in the short, medium and long term and try to do something every day that will help you move towards that new place. There are many things that will make you feel “busy” but you need to do the things that are moving you forward.
  • Manage your energy throughout the day.
    • Some people work best in the morning, some in the afternoon and some at night. Different tasks take different levels of energy and focus, and only you can know what’s best for you. If you have to talk to other people, make calls or take meetings then it’s probably best to save that for “business hours”. I find I do content, research and web updates best late at night when I’m not getting interrupted by emails, phone calls and texts. I’ve also found that depending on what I have for lunch I’ll need a nap around 2-3. I use that time to either nap or hit the gym for a couple of hours. Both of them give me new energy and focus.

My final tip for managing your energy and prioritizing your workload is to measure and manage yourself to track how different things work for you.

Reviewing your performance on a daily basis can be helpful is making small adjustments and improvements.

You learned what you did well, what you would change, and how you want things to be better or different in the future.

It’s also a great time to practice gratitude for the things that did go well. I don’t know the exact science behind gratitude, but I’ve found that it helps me focus on the good things, and let go of the bad things. It also seems to bring more good things into my life.

What are your favourite morning routines? What your best tips for entrepreneurs to be more productive and have more energy?

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