7 Uncommon Productivity Tips for the Overwhelmed Entrepreneur

by | May 14, 2024 | Productivity & Mindset | 0 comments

I’ve always been good about getting work done, whether it be for school, college, or work. As I got deeper into entrepreneurship, I realized that productivity was critical to the success of my business. If productivity is something you struggle to be consistent with, book a free consultation to see what we can take off your to-do list, so you can work less & achieve more.

Even as you read this, you may think, “Sara, you’re telling me nothing new” because everyone preaches about being productive. The thing is, it isn’t just about getting shit done. It is about creating a structure in the backend of your business to keep you moving forward rather than backward.

In this blog, I want to share some uncommon productivity tips for entrepreneurs that can be a part of your toolbox when procrastinating starts to creep up.

1. Maximize your time with the 2-minute rule

Before we even dive into this tip, remember it is so damn important to be clear on what tasks move the needle & what tasks do not. This comes from setting clear business goals. Often, the things business owners procrastinate on doing are important tasks that get us closer to our goals.

I’ve always procrastinated content creation, even though I am good at it. I would get overwhelmed with what I should say, create, and do to be findable. This led me down the road of doubting my knowledge, skills, and how I could help my audience. In this mindset, I never took consistent action, which meant I didn’t have consistent results either.

By implementing the 2-minute rule, it helped me to get over the mental blocks I had to just start. Once I started writing a blog like this or an Instagram post, everything became easier. What my mind thought would be “so hard to do” or would “take me a long ass time to do” wasn’t true.

The way I incorporate this rule into Indigo Elephant Co in 3 ways:

  • If a task can be done in 2-minutes or less, I get it done right away.
  • If Katie, my business partner, and I have a bigger project, I will spend 2 minutes prioritizing tasks to get done before taking action.
  • If I am procrastinating or overthinking a task, I tell myself all I need to do is start with 2-minutes just to get myself to do the damn thing.

By mastering the 2-minute rule, you can better improve your time management too!

2. Create a not to-do list 

This might seem counterintuitive, however, by listing out what is either:

  • A task is a waste of your time 
  • A task that doesn’t align with your goals

It allows you to be more clear about tasks that need to be prioritized in order to take steps towards success. All productivity is the ability to act consistently. By taking the time to write out this to-do list, you can see what is most important to the success of your business.

Plus, it allows you to maximize your time better, which means you’re able to achieve more while doing less. This is essentially what Katie & I have our clients do when we meet them for a free consultation.

It allows us to see what we can do to free up their time and streamline their business’s success. Not only can this help you see what actions you need to take consistently, but also what things you can start delegating to a VA ASAP.

At some point, the best way to reclaim your time is to delegate tasks that you don’t like or suck at doing so you can make the most impact in your business.

You might like this too: How to Avoid 4 Major Productivity Pitfalls in Your Online Business

3. Work in short bursts to save significant time

If you’re anything like me, you can get so lost in your work that you find yourself working for 4+ hours straight with no water, food, or breaks. I always thought this was normal especially when I would get into a flow.

However, let me tell you, those 4+ hour stretches were driven by this fear of not having enough time to get it all done. I just wanted XYZ tasks off my list so that I would keep pushing myself to work even if I was hitting a wall. Did this lead me to being productive? Yes & no. 

Yes in the fact that I did get things off my list & no because I often made mistakes which I had double the work to do. 

From working with Katie, whether it be in-person or virtually, she taught me the importance of micro-burst of action followed up with a rest period. It is like when you work out. You have a burst of energy when doing 10-12 reps and then you take 1-2 minute breaks before the next set. 

That is what is important in your business too. I personally recommend tools like the Pomodoro Method so that I don’t have to think about taking breaks. 

The schedule I follow is: 25-minutes of focused work with 5-minute breaks in between. After the 3rd round, I get a 15-minute break before the cycle starts all over again.

This tip has had the most impact on my entrepreneurial success because it allows me to create a daily routine of taking action without burning out.

4. Managing Distractions for Better Focus

As someone running a business from home, everything can become a distraction (especially when I am in my luteal phase). I am getting distracted by the new book I want to read, by the birds outside, or the fact that Johnathan, my S.O., is breathing in the same room as me.

Plus it doesn’t help that I am the type of person where if I have a thought or question, I have to voice message or research the topic. This leads me to multi-tasking which decreases productivity.

The ways I have been able to start mastering productivity & avoid distractions is by:

  • Using noise canceling headphones with or without music playing.
  • Working in a separate room (as Johnathan & I share an office).
  • Setting up a Do Not Disturb schedule on my phone to limit notifications.
  • Installing Opal to block my access to apps that are distracting (like Instagram for example).

Each of these signals to my brain that it is time to work & when you take your next break, you can read, go on a walk, etc. In combination with the time management tips (i.e. Pomodoro Method), I am able to focus on one task at a time rather than trying to multitask.

5. Optimize your time by scheduling in your worry sessions

I have made it very apparent that I am a recovering overthinker & perfectionist. This has kept me from so much success in my entrepreneurial journey. By overthinking scenarios that never happen or procrastinating rather than taking action because it wasn’t “good enough”.

Rather than spending my whole day stuck in my head, I set aside time to get my worries out to maximize productivity. 

For me this looks like:

  • Going on walks to clear my head.
  • Doing mobility
  • Venting to Johnathan or voice messaging Katie

Each of these allows me to get the energy out of my head so I can tap back into my body. Oftentimes when I overthink & worry, it all stems from something emotional. When you’re emotional, you can’t take clear action or make good decisions.

By stepping away, I am able to process what comes up for me before getting back to work. This allows me to show up better as a leader for my team, clients, and audience.

As someone who used to bottle up my emotions, it is so important to have space to process that energy, otherwise it will eat you alive.

You might like this too: 5 Productivity & Efficiency Tips For Small Business Owners

6. Schedule OOO Days to stay focused and motivated

I vividly remember working for 2-weeks straight and to no one’s surprise I got sick. My drive for success was driven by fear that, “If I don’t work all the time, I won’t be successful.” 

This fear was ingrained in me by:

  • Teachers praised my ambition (which was actually anxiety of failing, but that’s besides the point).
  • My parents taught me that if you want more money (or success) then I must trade more of my time.
  • Business coaches saying you must hustle & say “no” to everything that isn’t business related.

In my mind, if I was not working, I was a failure. After being in cycles of being productive to only burn out, I knew I had to do something different.

For me, this meant scheduling OOO days so I could fully step away from my business. At the moment, I take Saturdays to do housewife things like cleaning, meal prepping, etc & then Sunday-Friday I work on the business or with clients.

By having at least 1 day to recharge I am able to show up better & take action consistently. This means I am able to make progress 10x faster.

7. Be flexible with yourself

As someone who loves structure, when it comes to being productive it is about being flexible. What works for you now, may not work for you in the future. Being flexible was something I always resisted because I felt I didn’t have control.

By allowing myself space to question what is or isn’t working for me, I am able to be productive no matter what season of business or life I am in. 

Final Thoughts

I hope this blog inspires you to try different ways of being productive that isn’t the basic “just outsource” advice. By playing around with these tools, you can find what will work best for you. By finding your flow you can grow your business sustainable without having to give up your time, health, relationships, etc. 

P.S. If this blog was too long to read, here is the gist:

  • Maximize your time with the 2-minute rule.
  • Create a not-to-do list for daily tasks.
  • Work in short bursts rather than long stretches to manage your time.
  • Remove (or minimize) any distractions during the workday.
  • Schedule in times to worry so you can get out of your head & into your body.
  • Make sure you have OOO days in your calendar
  • Book a free consultation if you’re ready to streamline your business success without giving up your time or personal life.

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Heey, it's Katie & Sara!

We are the founders of Indigo Elephant Co, where we specialize in helping overwhelmed business owners move from chaos to clarity with our proven systems and dedicated support.