As entrepreneurs, we’re always caught in some kind of a juggling act. And in our hustle-and-grind culture where productivity is king, entrepreneurs are expected to constantly be at the top of their game if they want to succeed. Naturally, nobody can operate at 100% efficiency ALL the time. But a little smart planning and some energy-boosting hacks can go a long way in helping entrepreneurs show up at work feeling focused and productive every day.
There are two key ways in which entrepreneurs can improve their focus and productivity at work:
- By making some simple lifestyle changes to boost energy, reduce brain fog and improve focus
- By using productivity apps and tools designed to help entrepreneurs minimise distractions and work without interruption.
Lifestyle changes to improve productivity
The simplest (and most impactful) productivity hacks are ones entrepreneurs can bring about naturally, by introducing some smart changes to their lifestyle.
To begin, all you have to do is sleep well, eat well and exercise regularly.
We might sound like Captain Obvious here but it’s surprising how many entrepreneurs fail to work these basic requirements into their lifestyle. Here are some simple, actionable tips to help you increase your energy and focus naturally:
Sleep more (and better!)
- Get those 7-hours. This is especially important for entrepreneurs who burn the candle at both ends. If you don’t get regular, high-quality, restorative sleep, you’ll continue to experience brain fog, fatigue and lack of clarity throughout your workday.
- Have a fixed bedtime. And wake up at the same time too. And yep, this means no sleeping in on the weekends either!
- Make sure your bedroom is dark enough – use heavy curtains or blackout blinds if necessary.
- Avoid blue light before bedtime. This means turning off your screens at least 2 hours before you go to bed. The blue light from our screens slows down melatonin production (the hormone that helps us sleep). And this tricks our brain into thinking it’s still daytime. If you must work before bed, enable dark mode on your devices. And get a night light filter.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol after lunch. These things can stay in your system for up to 12 hours. They might keep you awake with a racing mind, or leave you with the dreaded brain fog the next day.
- Eat whole foods, not processed foods (or takeout pizza). And avoid sugar. Whole foods help to reduce inflammation in the body and brain which promotes better focus and clarity.
- Don’t forget to eat lunch! Skipping lunch or forgetting to eat it on the 6-client-calls-and-a-major-deadline days is practically an entrepreneurial rite of passage. But your body can’t give you energy if you don’t give it the fuel to produce it. Block out an hour on your calendar for lunch every day and guard that time fiercely.
Regular exercise is a major productivity enhancer as it releases endorphins that boost energy levels, moods and focus.
- Get 15 minutes of movement every day. It could be anything — a brisk walk, an impromptu dance session or even some quick stretches. Whatever it is, unglue yourself from your desk and get moving!
- Set a step goal. For starters, try to walk 3000 steps every day. Level up as you go along.
Do you want to biohack your way out of the brain fog and afternoon energy slump for good? Then check out Tanessa Shears’ FREE course, Biohacking for Entrepreneurs. Tanessa teaches entrepreneurs science-backed, actionable strategies to identify energy leaks, optimize sleep, and improve productivity. The best part? You can start implementing these mini-steps tonight!
Tools to keep you focused
Out of the 3785372 different productivity apps out there, how do you choose the one that’s right for you as an entrepreneur?
Check out this carefully curated list of our favourite apps and tools for improving focus and productivity for entrepreneurs:
- Amazing Marvin: A project management tool that uses principles from Behavioural Psychology to help you beat procrastination, feel in control and finish your to-do list. The software’s playful and super flexible nature is also particularly useful for users with ADHD.
- Brain.fm: A personal favourite, Brain.fm provides functional music that is unique, purpose-built and scientifically designed to improve focus and concentration.
- Sanebox: Does the sight of the 15,000 unread emails in your inbox makes you want to cry out loud? Get Sanebox. It’s an email management software that uses Machine Learning to filter your inbox and only shows you the emails that are actually important. If something’s not important, it will automatically go into a folder for later. It’ll save you the HOURS you’d spend sifting through unimportant emails.
- Motion: Think of Motion as your forever on-call personal assistant. Motion has a number of neat features like Screen Time that lets you check how much time you’ve spent productively and how many hours you spent surfing Amazon those new fuzzy slippers. It also blocks you from entering distracting sites which is super useful if you’re someone who’s prone to going down rabbit holes. It also has a super handy calendar, meeting scheduler and tab manager to help improve efficiency and productivity.
- Zapier: Save yourself thousands of hours of mindless but essential work by automating tasks and workflows and saving yourself the time and energy of having to do them manually, over and over again.
- Amazon Echo or Apple Watch: Super useful for setting small daily reminders for things you tend to forget when you get too caught up with work. Set daily reminders to stand up, drink water, do your stretches or go for a walk.
If you want to optimise your energy and maximise efficiency, the other thing you absolutely need to organise is…
A messy and chaotic calendar is every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare. It’s impossible to concentrate on anything if you’re jumping from meeting to meeting every day and trying to squeeze in client work, emails, and business marketing in the tiny intervals in between.
Instead, try to batch tasks and meetings for specific days of the week (and stick to those boundaries!).
Here’s an example of what an average week might look like for you:
- Mondays and Wednesdays: Client tasks
- Tuesdays: Business marketing
- Thursdays: Client calls
- Fridays: Team and admin meetings
Batching tasks and meetings for specific days of the week means you won’t have to rush to a team marketing sync 10 minutes after you started writing a client sales page. It can help you gain deeper focus and concentrate completely on the task at hand.
And finally, if you must procrastinate just a little bit…
Practice productive procrastination
Productive procrastination involves doing smaller beneficial tasks to put off the more important tasks that you actually need to work on. Like a major client project or a launch email sequence.
Productive procrastination could take many forms. From clearing your inbox, to reading a great business book or even brainstorming new business ideas. Basically, anything that doesn’t involve watching Breaking Bad for the 37th time or doomscrolling on Instagram.
A word of caution here:
Productive procrastination can help entrepreneurs like you clear off smaller tasks (and it’s definitely better than spending 5 hours on Tiktok), but it won’t magically complete your work for you. Eventually, you’re gonna have to get back to the actual task you’ve been putting off, so make sure you leave enough time and energy to do what you actually need to do too.
While these tips and tricks are great to get you started, it’s important to remember that you can’t mechanise your brain to function at maximum efficiency all the time. There will always be days when you tick everything off your to-do list before lunchtime and others where it’ll take you half a day to frame a single email. All you can do is plan ahead and maximise your chances of having a high-productivity day with some lifestyle changes, handy tools, and discipline.
If you’re looking for a specialist to help you push through the overwhelm and give you the tools and support you need to reclaim your time, master your mindset and overcome resistance, check out Emma Nuttall’s course Make It Happen today!