There are 400 million entrepreneurs worldwide. While the reasons to start their own business varies, many do it to forge their own path.
While the consensus differs, most entrepreneurs work long hours. Especially during the first few years.
This isn’t a 9-to-5 gig where you can quit when the proverbial whistle blows. Not if you hope to create a successful business.
But if you’re only working harder, not smarter, you can quickly burn yourself out. Which is why it’s a good idea to learn how to work smarter.
If you’re looking for ideas to help you work smarter, keep reading. We’re sharing our 14 favorite tips on how to work more efficiently when you’re an entrepreneur.
1. How to Work Smarter by Taking Breaks:
It’s hard to think smarter not harder when you’re exhausted. And taking breaks throughout your day also has some serious productivity benefits.
Sitting all day long is bad for you. It’s bad for your heart, shortens your life, and widens your waistline.
Getting up and moving around helps cut down on decision fatigue which can lead to making poor business decisions. It also increases your productivity, restores your motivation, and helps improve learning.
Get up every two hours or so and move around. Do some light yoga, take a walk around the block or just do some breathing exercises to get things flowing again.
2. Clear Out the Clutter:
Clutter causes anxiety and depression. It also causes you to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s hard to make smart decisions when surrounded by clutter.
Do yourself a huge favor by eliminating anything in the workplace that you don’t like, use or need. That includes everything from e-mails to clients who waste your time.
Clearing clutter helps you to work smart not hard. You spend less time looking for items and it’s easier to manage your time without clutter getting in the way.
3. Stay Positive:
If you really want to build a successful business, keeping a positive business mindset is a must. Your thoughts create reality so when you think smarter not harder, you find new solutions to problems and barriers.
Read books, listen to podcasts, and watch videos to help you learn how to create and stay in a positive mindset. Spend at least a few minutes each morning focusing on something positive.
Keep a gratitude journal so you can keep track of all the great things in your life. And when something bad happens, accept it and continue to focus on what’s going right.
4. Create Effective Systems:
If you really want to work smart, not hard, create effective systems. The problem is that most people get in their own way and develop complex systems that makes everything harder.
Instead, find the easiest way to get something done and continue using that system until you find an even easier way to do it. Don’t overcomplicate things.
One simple way to create a simple, yet effective system is to keep everything you use daily nearby. Anything you use less frequently you can store further away.
5. Embrace Technology:
Technology makes business so much easier. Much of the software created today helps you do more in less time.
Find software that makes your life easier and helps eliminate common human errors. You have the tools at your fingertips to get business done no matter where you are or what time it is.
Learn how to use it so that you can do more in less time.
6. Do the Hard Stuff First:
Brian Tracy is a success expert who wrote, “Eat that Frog.” In the book, he recommends that if you want to know how to work smart, you should start by doing the hardest tasks first thing each morning.
That way, the hard stuff is out of your way and you have the entire day to focus on the easier tasks. Also, your head is no longer filled with thoughts about that hard task you need to do.
This enables your brain to focus on getting everything else done more efficiently.
7. Surround Yourself with the Right People:
No one person is an island. You will never find a successful entrepreneur who reached their goals doing it completely on their own.
They had help.
Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with people they can trust. They also find people who happily support them while they pursue their goals.
Whether it’s building a team of employees, finding the right clients, networking with others or just your family and friends, the more people you have supporting you and cheering you on, the easier the journey is.
8. Learn to Delegate and Outsource:
Entrepreneurs need to find ways to think smarter not harder. One way to do that is to learn what you’re not good at.
While entrepreneurs wear many hats and you’ll end up learning new skills, you also need to focus on what you’re good at. You’re building a company and you need to find the best and most skilled people to get the job done.
Delegate any tasks where you can find someone who is more skilled than you. Also, delegate tasks where you can find someone to do the work at a cheaper rate than you, especially if they’re better at it.
You don’t need to hire everyone in-house. In fact, many companies find it’s easier to outsource their accounting, marketing, and legal expertise. That way, you save a ton of money by not hiring someone full-time but you still have access to their abilities and skills.
9. Become a Master Networker:
People don’t do business with a company, they do business with people. One way to work smarter is by becoming a master networker.
Find out who the people are who have businesses that cater to the same clientele but aren’t in direct competition with you. Become friends with them and build up relationships so you pass business back and forth to one another.
Help out your clients by having a vast network of other businesses and services that are beneficial to them.
Attend conferences, get on social media, join a networking group. Another easy way to network with others is to join a co-working space. This useful link can tell you all the advantages a co-working space offers entrepreneurs.
10. Focus on One Task at a Time:
Multi-tasking doesn’t really work for most people. For most people, multi-tasking ends up making them feel exhausted and they’re never really focused on anything.
Instead, focus solely on one task at a time.
Especially if you have important work to complete, turn off your cell phone, get off social media, and halt as many interruptions as possible. You’ll find that completely focusing on one task enables you to get the job done more quickly and more efficiently.
11. Learn How to Communicate:
Part of communication is listening to the other person. Unfortunately, most of us are not focused on what the other person is saying. Instead, we’re focused on how we’re going to respond.
Learn to listen so that you can deliver exactly what your customers need. Learn to listen to ensure your employees feel heard and valued.
Then learn how to communicate so that your customers, employees, and everyone else understands exactly what’s expected of them. If you don’t know how to communicate clearly and effectively, you waste a lot of time and effort trying to convey a message that’s clearly lost on its intended audience.
12. Treat Your Body, Mind, and Spirit Well:
All work and no play means your body, mind, and spirit are all being neglected. And that leads to illness.
Make sure you eat a healthy diet. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Keep healthy snacks in your office so you can keep your blood sugar up and stay productive during those hours that most people feel sleepy.
Exercise regularly to keep your body and mind strong. Try meditating or writing in a journal to keep your spirit healthy and active.
The better you treat yourself, the stronger and more productive you’ll be. Also, others notice when you treat yourself well and will treat you accordingly.
13. Plan for Your Future:
while it’s important to stay in the present, you also need to keep an eye out for your future. Otherwise, it’ll happen to you and it may not be what you wanted or expected.
Create a business plan that pays attention to growth planning. Make a plan for your retirement so you only continue working because you want to, not because you have to.
Working with an accountant and a financial services expert will help you ensure you create the future of your dreams while you focus on what you need to do each day to get there.
14. Learn to Say No:
If you’re a people pleaser, learning to say no feels almost impossible. But if you don’t learn how to say no, you’ll never learn how to work smarter.
Not everything is a great idea. And it’s okay and even good to say no.
Saying “no” means setting healthy boundaries with other people. It means you’re in control of your business and your life.
The more comfortable you get saying “no” to anything that’s not worth your time or energy, the more opportunities for you to say “yes” start appearing.
Always keep looking for new ways to learn how to work smarter. Ask others what they do to increase productivity.
Do your own research to find out what new strategies work the best and adapt them immediately. We’d like to help you get started. Click here to learn about start-up marketing challenges and how to tackle them.
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