Last time, we talked about the tools you need to kick your team into gear. But what about when your productivity starts flagging? Whether from personal challenges, business issues or overwhelm…

…Ruts and Roadblocks Happen

How do you stay productive when faced with the inevitable ruts and roadblocks in business? As we all know, entrepreneurship doesn’t always go your way. Deals fall through, resources run dry or sometimes you just burn the hell out.

Carrying the burden of a whole business on your shoulders is a hard job at the best of times and damn near impossible when things go south. But that’s when you need to stay the most productive, and dig yourself out of that hole.

stay productive

Whether you’re facing daunting new challenges or have just lost your creativity and motivation because of burnout, you need to develop strategies to increase your own productivity.

As an entrepreneur no one is going to do that for you. You need to take control of yourself, own your responsibilities and guide your business. So how do you begin?

Get off Your Duff and Dig Yourself Out

#1 Set clear goals for yourself

Creating major and incremental goals help you control the big picture for your business. You’ll know what you want to accomplish and will have created concrete steps along the way to broader success. Track these goals so you stay on target and measure your progress.

#2 Make a to-do-list

Yes, it’s an old strategy, and yes, you’ve heard it a million times. But it works. To-do-lists break down your goals into actionable tasks for each day, week or month. You don’t have to worry about your goals every day, because that will only make you choke. Set your tasks, and get them done, and you will reach those goals. To-do-lists also give you a sense of what you’ve accomplished—and that keeps you motivated.

#3 Embrace the concept of incremental progress

Goals and to-do-lists can be daunting, especially if you’re in a rut or struggling to get your business started. That’s why you need to leverage the power of just getting started! Don’t think about how much you need to get done on your next launch, just sit down and get going. Work on the task for 15-30 minutes without doing anything else. It doesn’t matter how much you get done, just work on it. You’ll be surprised by how much you accomplish! And you don’t even have to take my word for it, because this strategy was actually just featured in the New York Times.

#4 Celebrate wins and productive days

You know when you’ve had a good day. If you feel happy at the end of a workday, chances are you’ve been productive and made some real progress. Trust that feeling of accomplishment, relax and reward yourself. Also remember to celebrate accomplishing interim goals—even if the broader goal is still far away. Just because you haven’t accomplished everything doesn’t mean you haven’t pushed the needle in the right direction. And if you beat yourself up for not doing the whole damn thing already you’ll never get it done.

#5 Take breaks and leave work at work when you can

Stressing about your business 24/7 won’t help you succeed. All you’ll do is just burn yourself out. Sure, sometimes you wake up at 4am with a brilliant idea, put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and make that big breakthrough that transforms your business. But you need to learn to tell the difference between a breakthrough and a freakout. Trust yourself that you’ll make more progress tomorrow. So enjoy your lunch break, take your kids to soccer practice and get out of town for the weekend. You’ll be much more productive on Monday, trust me.

You won’t dig your business out of a rut or get it off the ground tomorrow or next week. But you can set yourself up to succeed by establishing goals, drawing up task lists to accomplish those goals and just getting started. So celebrate your wins, and give yourself room to relax!

Get off your duff!


image credit: Bigstock/Jakub Jirsak

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