At a startup, there always seems to be a lot to do at once. A new product feature to launch, a new marketing strategy to test, a tech issue to diagnose, and more. With an endless to-do list, it can be overwhelming to discern what to prioritise and how to not get distracted or bogged down.
So, we compiled a list of top tips to ensure you can bring your most focused, productive self to work!
1. Set goals clearly
It is not just about setting team goals, but also individual goals. Setting goals keeps each individual motivated, especially when each person knows what he or she is accountable to. This way, one can take ownership to meet their targets. Through completing a goal, the sense of accomplishment would provide assurance and encouragement to meet the next goal.
Without clear goals, the employee can be unsure of priorities in a fast-paced environment.
So, how to determine the priorities? Figure out what drives long-term value for the company - then plan from there. OKR is a popular way to set goals. Find out more about OKR and other alternatives here.
2. Create deadlines
Priorities help you figure out what to start first. When it comes to what to complete, setting deadlines drives urgency. These deadlines can then be recorded onto one’s digital calendar, acting as a reminder of when an item must be completed and submitted - allowing you to buffer the time you need.
It helps to plan backwards, as well as to create buffer time. Setting a soft deadline and hard deadline for yourself ensures you do not lose sight and commit to get task after task completed.
3. Planning tasks at the beginning of every day
Doing so ensures you are clear about what must be done for the work day. Often, when we are caught with a myriad of tasks to get done, it can be easy to overlook the power of taking breaks and psych yourself to work nonstop, day and night. When it comes to planning tasks daily, it helps you become clear about what needs to be completed on the day and when to take breaks for meals, exercise or your loved ones so you do not burn out.
This simple habit can actually make you feel good about what you accomplished each day, being certain about what you did and what you didn’t do. You can be focused with that self-awareness, then wake up the next day empowered to take on a different list.
4. Take breaks during the day
This might sound counterintuitive. How does one get more done by not providing undivided attention? The thing is, humans are not robots who can provide continuous concentration 24/7. When forcing your mind to be productive for too long, the reverse might happen where you actually end up processing things slower, zoning out and even becoming irritable.
So, focus on having conducive periods where your ideas are flowing and you are steadily getting work done! Without any downtime, you can end up making more mistakes and being less efficient.
How to rest? Go for a walk, talk to co-workers, exercise your eyes - these are just some examples. The Pomodoro method, for instance, is an effective way to schedule rest. Or how about 90/20, where you rest 20 minutes for every 90 minutes you work?
Last but not least, schedule some quiet time. Nowadays, our work requires you to be so plugged into endless newsfeeds and time on the internet. Make sure you take the time to unplug and recenter with your thoughts.
Meditation helps you calm down when things get overwhelming. This way, even when you are receiving information overload, you can sustain attention better. Therefore, you can focus and be incredibly productive when you really need to.
We have more tips on how to grow your business in our latest E-Book. Download it below.