Surrounded by To-Do lists and overmarked calendars, no business owner could ever deny the feeling of being overwhelmed by their work and undermotivated to be productive. Sometimes it is much too easy to open the Facebook tab on the computer to spend “just a few minutes” scrolling the feed as a break and end up spending an unforeseen hour wasting time. We’ve never been more inundated with distractions that kill our productivity.
Business owners especially are affected with this issue. With the freedom to set our own schedules, the time management decisions that determine our productivity often can be detrimental. How can we be more productive in a world full of distractions?
The answer is self-control. It is easier to said than done, but here are four simple steps to help you integrate this concept into your daily business practice:
Rather than be stuck in an endless cycle of unfocused work and rereading the same emails over and over without retaining any meaning, recognize that you are feeling distracted, unmotivated, and unwilling to work. If you ignore this feeling, you only perpetuate a subpar state that doesn’t allow you to complete any work worthy of merit. If you recognize your current unproductive moment, you can then think of what to do next.
Take a step back. Once you lose focus on your work, perhaps you need to reprioritize your tasks for the time being. Rather than search out a distraction like social media or roaming around the office, make a list of what needs to be done, rank what is most important and can be accomplished, and take a deep breath. This allows you to take a small break from your task and ensures that you keep yourself on track.
Now that you have a list of what you need to achieve for the day, it is time to choose what to do next. You could go back to the activity that you were just working on, choose a new one, or take a small break and return to your work. Regardless of what you are doing in a day, be flexible to allow yourself the space to switch gears when your mind and body are asking for it. You were unfocused for a reason.
The key to self-control, though, is to truly reflect on what is a necessity. Do you need a break? If so, do you need to just walk around the room to get blood flowing or need to walk away to recharge? If you choose to take a break, do it responsibly. Set a timer or tell someone you will be back at a specific time for accountability. If you don’t really need a break but are unable to focus on your current task, perhaps you need to switch to a different project. Time management isn’t always linear, and often you can benefit from being a flexible person.
You’ve determined what you need to do, now you must commit to it. Self-control is weighing your options and making informed decisions about your actions, but it is also following through. A successful entrepreneur who exhibits self-control is one that acts on their decisions. Be willing to accomplish your goals.
No matter how cliche it sounds, self-control is the secret to productivity. To have self-control and be productive, remember to recognize whether you’re concentrated and be prepared to remedy an uncentered working mode, prioritize the tasks you can complete for the day to regain focus, be flexible with whatever goals you have, and act on your business decisions once you’ve determined what must be done. We hope that these four easy steps will help you be a more successful and prolific business owner.