If you’re a solopreneur then I’m sure you, like me, now how important it is to be as productive with your time as possible.
However, many solopreneurs find it difficult to stay focused and productive when working alone.
There are a huge number of distractions all around us that suck or time and prevent us from moving forward.
Fortunately, there are several productivity hacks for solopreneurs that you can leverage to make yourself as efficient as possible.
The more effective you are with your time, not only will you reach your goals considerably faster, you’ll also have more time to spend with the people you love doing the things you enjoy.
10 Productivity Hacks For Solopreneurs & Entrepreneurs
Master your phone
As useful as they are, the phone is a huge distraction and productivity killer.
Here are some important tips to improve your productivity by mastering your phone:
- Don’t switch on your phone during the first or last hour of the day (your sacred hours)
- Put your phone on silent while working
- Put your phone out of view when you’re working
- Don’t look at your phone during your working blocks of time
- Don’t check your phone during a working block when you’re stuck or procrastinating on a task
- Don’t take unscheduled called calls during the day
Figure out your peak productivity times
We all have different times of the day when we’re at our most productive and most creative.
There’s not a one size fits all solution here. You’ll need to find your times and then schedule your tasks around what works best for you.
For example, some people love to wake up early while others are night owls. If you find that your mind seems to be the most focused during the evenings then that might be your most productive time of the day.
Personally, for myself I’m the most focused during late morning, so this is the time I focus on creative tasks like writing. I then reserve the afternoon for tasks that I can do well without having to think too hard about them.
If you can win the first hour of the day then you have a much stronger chance of winning the rest of the day.
There is a saying that the first hour of the day is the golden hour and so, should be dedicated to ourselves.
Use this hour to do things for yourself that will enhance your overall health, well being and sharpen our mind.
In this video below from Brian Tracy, he recommends spending the first hour reading something inspirational, motivational or something that you can learn to improve your income.
Here is a shortlist of things you can do to set you upright during the first hour of your day:
- Work out
- Read something positive
You don’t need to spend the first hour on just one of these tasks. You can spend 10, 15 or 20 minutes on a few different ones.
To give you an example, at the moment the following is working well for me:
- Stretch – 10mins
- Meditate – 10mins
- Read – 30mins
- Affirmations – 10mins
Experiment with it to find what works for you.
Just as important as your morning routine is having a solid evening routine.
Make the final hour of your day a sacred time for you to wind down and get into a good state of relaxation before bed.
If you don’t do it at the end of your working day, then writing down the tasks you need to get done for the next day can be done at this time. Getting them out of your head and onto paper will help to clear your mind.
Don’t look at any type of screens within this last hour before bed. That includes TV and your phone as well as computers.
Sleep is super important for productivity and studies have shown that the blue light from screens will inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone our body produces to help us sleep.
Blue light blockers can help, however, engaging with your phone, computer or the television before bed will stimulate the mind and inhibit a good night’s sleep.
Listen to music
Listening to music can be a great way to help get you into your flow state.
I find instrumental music the most effective during my creative hours as music with lyrics can often be distracting. When I’m working on tasks that don’t need a lot of focus then it doesn’t seem to matter if the music has lyrics.
We’re all different so you’ll need to experiment and find what kind of music works best for you.
My personal favourites that I find the most effective when working is inspirational soundtrack music or upbeat classical music.
Definitely do not listen to playlists on YouTube while you’re working unless you have a paid subscription to YouTube otherwise you’ll be interrupted by annoying ads every few minutes. This can really kill your focus.
Tap into your flow state
You’ve probably heard of the term “flow state” before. It’s the state of mind that top athletes and high achievers get into for peak performance.
Some people also refer to it as “being in the zone”.
We’ve likely all had experiences of being in a flow state where you seemed to have an unbelievably sharp focus and everything seems to flow. However, for most people, these times are very few and far between and they have no idea how to access it at will.
Fortunately, we all have the ability to do it as it’s a state of mind that we can all access.
It’s like a muscle and the more you flex it, the stronger it will get.
I’ve also noticed that it seems to be easier to get into flow state during our highest hours of creativity.
Here’s how to start to train your flow state:
- Remember a time when you were in a state of flow, where you had a single-minded focus and were super productive. It may also be a memory of when you operated at peak performance when you played sport at school
- The feelings are the key. Recall the feelings you felt in your body when you were in that flow state
- Practice recalling those feelings at different times throughout your day, and especially before to sit down to do your most important work
Use and keep to a schedule
If you’re like most entrepreneurs then you’ll likely have hundreds of tasks you need to get done, but no time to do them.
The key is to schedule them.
First, schedule your days into chunks of time where you’ll be the most effective at getting different types of tasks done.
For example, if you’re really creative between 9am – 12pm then schedule all your creative tasks during these hours over the coming days.
Then, decide which tasks you can do without much thought. Those tasks can be assigned to your afternoon between say 2pm – 5pm when you come back from lunch.
For admin tasks, you can choose one day per week, say a Friday for example, where you spend the last 2-3 hours of the day getting your admin tasks done.
Scheduling breaks is also really important. I used to schedule no breaks at all, I’d even used to eat a sandwich for lunch while I was still working. That’s really dumb.
I thought I needed to work every second of the day I had in order to get things done.
Interestingly, once I started scheduling breaks throughout my day I found I got more done, was able to get into the flow state more easily and was happier.
For lunch I now take one and a half hours and also use that time to relax and go for a walk or even have a nap if I need one
Don’t check email first thing in the morning
Similar to turning your phone on first thing in the morning, this is also another productivity killer.
Replying to emails first thing in the morning is like saying to your subconscious, “other people’s agendas are more important than mine”.
Before you know it, you’ll have spent a considerable amount of your day prioritising other people’s needs while your important tasks pile up, spill over to another day and cause you more anxiety.
I’ve still not found the perfect time for me yet to check my emails, but it’s certainly not first thing in the morning. At the moment, I’m reserving 30-45mins per day after my creative morning time and before lunch to check emails and this is definitely working better.
If there are emails that I haven’t got to check in this time period and are not urgent, they can wait until the next day.
Use online tools and automations
There are loads of great tools out there you can use to automate some of your tasks.
Some simple ones include setting up automated email replies or using the free Voice Typing feature to create lists or even write articles in Google Sheets.
There are also loads of other cool software programs that can help you with more advanced tasks.
For example, Todoist is a great software app you can use to organise all our tasks. You can also sync it with any smartphone to organise and schedule your emails for you.
IFTTT is another great app you can use in combination with all kinds of other apps to automate tasks to simplify your work as well as other areas of your life.
Here’s a great article that shows you 35 ways to automate your life with IFTTT.
Hire a VA
If you’ve not done it before then hiring a VA might not be as expensive as you think.
You can find skilled workers to do certain tasks for you at very reasonable rates.
If you’re looking for a VA on a part-time or full-time basis then I highly recommend taking a look at onlinejobs.ph.
Do you need to hire a VA for copywriting? Before you do, I highly recommend you read my review of Funnel Scripts. It’s a cool software program that can write all your scripts for you and save you a ton of time and money in the process.
Keeping away from the phone the first hour of the day and during your working blocks as well as not checking your email several times a day are two of the best things you can do to improve your productivity and get stuff done.
Are there any productivity hacks for solopreneurs that are not on this list that work well for you? Let me know in the comments below.
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Steve West has been an online entrepreneur since 2013. He specializes in SEO and affiliate marketing. Besides running his online business, he likes hiking, keeping fit and eating cookies (which is why he needs to keep fit!)