Trying to start an online business or side hustle seems to be frustratingly easy and time-consuming at the same time.
Most people working full time, managing a family, maintaining a house, and social life can barely imagine having any time for sleep let alone a business idea that might flop.
Being more productive sounds great as it is a goal to get a startup idea off the ground but it seems like catching running water with your hands. It just runs out too quickly.
The core of productivity is about focus not tactics or strategies. Take it from me, a revenue operations specialist with over 7 years in the industry.
How to be more productive is changing the focus from how much water you can catch to the pipes that it comes from. Same goal different perspective.
In this article, we’ll dive into what productivity truly means and its impact on your business idea. We’ll tackle distractions head-on and arm ourselves with proven techniques to get stuff done.
We’re also unlocking some top-notch tools that will make work feel less like a chore!
Table of Contents
What is productivity?
Productivity is essentially the capacity to generate an output or value in a given time frame. It’s not about being occupied; it’s about accomplishing more with less exertion. If you can do more in less time, then that’s productivity.
The interesting thing about productivity is that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. Different people have different metrics for measuring their own productivity levels. For some folks, completing all tasks on their daily checklist signifies high productivity. But others may define it as having extra hours for personal pursuits after fulfilling professional commitments.
This implies that there’s an intrinsic relationship between input and output when discussing productivity. To be precise, higher efficiency does not necessarily mean putting in longer hours but getting desired results from whatever efforts are put forth.
Impact of Effort on Productivity
Your level of effort directly influences your level of productivity—though not always linearly so. You might think working harder means accomplishing more—but sometimes this leads only to burnout without significantly increasing output.
Before trying to optimize a process you must do the grunt work. This applies to business and personal projects. Without putting elbow grease into a project you won’t know what the benchmark is to improve upon.
Many people try to automate and delegate tasks that aren’t polished enough and will just waste time, energy, and resources. Putting enough raw effort in the beginner will save you headaches and hassles later on as you start to grow.
Barriers to Productivity
Starting a business for the first time can be daunting. It’s better to clear the obstacles in your path rather than constantly stumble over them. Here’s what to look out for as you start to work.
The academics define procrastination as “voluntarily delaying an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.” There are many theories on why we procrastinate as humans. Fear of failure, perfectionism, neurodivergence, and fear of the unknown just to name a few. Here’s deep dive how to stop procrastinating if that’s your main barrier.
We live in a world full of distractions. Whether it’s the ding from our phones alerting us to another text message or an interesting article that we just have to read, these interruptions can derail focus and kill productivity.
You can try to eliminate all distractions but that’s a fool’s errand. Focus on recovering from distractions so you can quickly pick up where you started. This research study found it takes about 23 minutes to get back into a groove after an interruption.
Lack of organization is another common barrier. Without clear systems in place, time gets wasted searching for documents or deciding what task should be next on your list.
I once worked for an architectural owner who had a desk so covered in paper and stuff it was piled a foot high in some places. Their email inbox had more than 10,000 unread messages. It was almost impossible to find or accomplish the simplest of tasks due to the disarray of the space.
Sometimes workflows are more complex than they need to be – this complexity breeds inefficiency which drains energy and time resources. This may happen when using outdated methods instead of leveraging modern tools available today like automation tools.
Many managers set up workflows but never really reanalyze them to see if they could be improved. Employees don’t normally suggest optimizations since they’re just trying to get the work done. So workflows often outlive their utility unless you have an operation manager maintaining them.
Lacking Information or Skills Necessary for Task Completion
A missing piece of information might mean having to stop mid-task, and you could spend unnecessary amounts figuring out how-to rather than actually doing it, this lack leads many down a rabbit hole of research that can eat up precious productivity time.
Overcoming these barriers may seem daunting, but awareness is the first step. Identifying your personal productivity blockers will allow you to take targeted action and move closer to peak efficiency.
Ways to be more productive
Productivity isn’t just about getting more done. It’s all about ensuring you’re tackling the correct tasks in an effective manner. Let’s dive into some proven methods that can help.
Stopping work on low-value tasks is one of the lowest-hanging fruit to improve productivity. Identifying the tasks that will have little to no impact on your life and stopping investing in them frees up time to do high-impact tasks more impactfully.
The Eisenhower matrix method, a favorite of successful entrepreneurs, separates tasks into four categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important. This helps focus your efforts where they matter most.
There’s a host of tools that help automate routine tasks like sending welcome emails or updating spreadsheets. Similar to the Eisenhower matrix, not everything that can be automated should be. If a task occurs infrequently and is inconsistent, it’s not a good candidate for automation.
The best kinds of tasks to automate are tedious frequent tasks that have high value and rarely change. Depending on how easy it is to automate less frequent tasks could be automated like birthday reminders for clients and contacts.
Before setting up an automation workflow it’s important to create documentation on how it works as processes can quickly spiderweb and become a complex tangled mess without organization.
I wrote a list of mind-mapping tools that I use for my job as a marketing operation specialist.
Improve Interruption Recovery
We are constantly getting bombarded with quick questions and dings on messaging tools. There’s a limit to how isolated we can make ourselves focus. Focus on how fast you can recover from an interruption by exercising your short-term memory and focus. Grouping small tasks that pop up during the work day for set times to accomplish all at once can make you more productive.
It’s common to want to answer the quick question right as you get it but the cost of multi-tasking is much more than you think. According to the American Psychological Association, our brains aren’t wired to handle multiple complex tasks simultaneously, and doing so can actually reduce productivity by up to 40%.
Create A Dedicated Workspace
A clutter-free workspace encourages clear thinking. If possible, separate your personal life from your work life physically. As per this research, a clean, organized workspace can significantly boost productivity and focus.
Visually seeing clutter can slow down our process because we need to remember where everything is rather than rely on an organization system that is consistent.
Take Frequent Breaks
Keeping your body healthy is key to a sharp mind. Stress has been shown to dramatically impair our ability to think rationally, focus, and maintain energy levels. To maintain peak performance, regular breaks are essential. Harvard Medical School highlights the importance of consistent exercise.
It’s important to remember humans are not machines and the way to optimize our personal productivity may seem counterintuitive to many of the self-help articles out there that focus on maximizing 100% of our waking time to work.
Best Productivity Tools
In the current digital landscape, productivity tools are essential for many of us to manage tasks and stay organized. They can facilitate our undertakings and furthermore keep us on track and concentrated. A tool is only as good as the wielder. Relying on a tool often will cause diminishing returns as the excitement wares off. Let’s take a look at some standout software that can give your productivity a boost.
For project management tools there are more than 500+ out there clamoring to be the most effective at running projects and companies. Some of my top picks are monday.com, Freedcamp, and Asana. For a more detailed review here is a list of the best project management tools.
Zapier is like the middleman in the world of apps—it connects all your favorite apps together so they can work more efficiently with each other. Say goodbye to repetitive manual tasks. For example, you could use Zapier to automatically save Gmail attachments to Dropbox or post Instagram photos directly on Twitter.
If you need help mapping out complex ideas or processes, Lucidchart might be just what you’re looking for. This online diagramming tool lets you create flowcharts, org charts, UML diagrams—you name it—with ease and precision. It’s an excellent way to visualize information clearly and collaborate effectively with team members.
There are a few apps that I’ve used to keep me on track and productive. One I’ve probably used the longest is Habitica, a fun RPG-style task app that allows you to focus on building consistency streaks with your habits.
More important, is self-awareness like journaling or taking notes of all the triggers for habits (good and bad) and making small adjustments.
FAQ on Productivity
What does productivity mean?
The term ‘productivity’ is a measure of output from a production process, per unit of input. For individuals, it’s about how much one can accomplish within the allotted period.
Why am I not productive?
Lack of productivity often stems from distractions and procrastination. This could be due to poor organization or lackluster workflows, but sometimes it’s simply down to missing information that keeps us from moving forward with our tasks.
How can I increase my productivity?
- Mindset matters: Believe that you can be more efficient and effective – this belief will guide your actions.
- Create systems: Rather than relying on motivation alone, set up processes for recurring tasks so they become second nature over time.
- Timing energy flows: Focus on the best times of day for critical thinking tasks and mindless tasks for the highs and lows of your energy rhythms.
Why am I struggling to be productive?
Your productivity might hit a snag due to distractions, lack of organization, or procrastination. Understanding and tackling these issues can turn things around.
How can I be productive with ADHD?
If you have ADHD, try using tools like time-boxing techniques or digital reminders. They help focus your attention and make tasks manageable.
How can I be 100 times more productive?
Becoming super-productive needs setting clear goals, managing time effectively, and employing top-notch productivity tools. But remember – quality trumps quantity.
Productivity is not only about toiling away; it’s also about working smart. By now, you should understand the true essence of productivity and how to be more productive in building your business idea.
You’ve learned what holds us back – distractions, procrastination, or even a lack of organization. But you also know how to conquer these barriers using psychological techniques and practical tools like Zapier or Monday.com.
Remember: measure output not input; tackle distractions head-on; use top-notch tools for efficiency.
Now step off that treadmill! Use this newfound knowledge and make your dream business a reality!