Being an online business owner, especially if you’re a team of 1, can be pretty isolating. If you struggle to work solo, you might have noticed you find it difficult to focus or stay productive throughout the day. Having working solo online since 2015, I’ve tried and tested a few productivity hacks over the years to see what works well for me.
So, I’m going to share 5 of my favourite productivity hacks for keeping focused.
Set intervals for checking email
So stick with me, as if you’re a notification genie, then you might be thinking “but what if I miss that really important thing?” According to Gloria Mark (digital distraction specialist at University of California) it takes 23 minutes to return to an original task after an interruption. So those little pop up email notifications can really knock your entire day off course.
I’m a millennial, so the concept of not having Outlook open the entire working day seemed alien. But think about it. If you check in at 9am and again at say 1pm, finally at 4pm… There’s every chance you were travelling or in a meeting for those 4 hours… So, if you don’t ‘jump on it’ would the other person even notice… Chances are in most cases, that’s a no.
So, if no one will even bat an eye… But it’s going to make a huge difference to your day… It’s worth doing!
Since doing this in my business, I now only check twice a day. I’ve even seen people outline in their email signatures ‘this is a calm inbox and will be checked twice weekly’. It’s happening more and more!
Always have daily critical tasks
Not everything on your ‘to do’ list will be time critical. It might sound obvious but spend 10 mins before you clock off the day before outlining your critical tasks for the next day. This way when you come in fresh faced the next day you’re not immediately faced with the task of ‘OMG I can’t get everything done today’.
Make sure you smash those critical tasks first, so that you feel that burst of achievement early on in the day and it’ll set the tone for the rest of the day.
Put distractions away
Much like the email checking… Put your phone out of the way, on silent (or as I’ve now done… completely turn off all noise, vibration and notification.) So that those requests for your attention happen at a time that’s convenient for you.
Work when you’re most alert
You’ll know yourself better than most… Maybe you’re a morning person. But maybe you do your best work in the evenings. I can’t work past 7pm at night, or I’m wired until 3am. So if you know you’re most focused after your first coffee. Put the important tasks into your morning. The longer you work, chances are your attention and productivity will decrease, so admin tasks are great for the afternoon.
2 minute task rule
Don’t add small stuff onto your ‘to do’ list and clutter it up. If it’s going to take less than 2 minutes… Just do it there and then.
There you have it… 5 productivity hacks for online business owners to stay focused throughout the day and get the best out of your work.