As a creative entrepreneur or a small business owner, you want to squeeze as many complete tasks into your day as possible…
…WITHOUT it draining your energy or leading you to burnout.
There are all kinds of “productivity hacks” floating around the Internet, telling you the same things you’ve heard over and over again:
“Delete social media off your phone.”
“Wake up at 5am and have a 10-step morning routine.”
“Invest in a daily planner.”
But what if social media IS your work, waking up at 5am got you crashing after lunch, and your daily planner has somehow made you even less productive?!
The truth is, productivity looks different for everyone and you have to find what works for YOU.
That said, your brain is literally wired to work a certain way and understanding it better will help you optimize your performance and get more things done.
In this blog post, I’ll go over psychologically-proven ways to reduce stress, boost your energy, and increase your productivity.
How to Hack Your Brain to Be Productive: 5 Strategies for Entrepreneurs
1. Ditch Perfectionism
Many entrepreneurs and creatives are prone to perfectionism.
If you’re driven enough to start your own business and build an unconventional life, chances are you also often have high expectations for yourself, set unattainable goals, and obsess over the smallest details.
Being a high-achiever may feel like second nature to you and may even make you feel motivated to get a lot of things done in the short-term…
…but, over time, it will start to negatively affect your mental health and productivity levels.
(In fact, research links perfectionism with anxiety and depression.)
If you struggle with perfectionism, you’re also likely prone to procrastination and putting off your tasks.
Many entrepreneurs procrastinate because they’re too afraid of making mistakes and not doing everything perfectly, which negatively impacts their productivity.
Remember that entrepreneurship is all about taking messy action.
No amount of productivity tips will teach you how to be more disciplined and productive if you’re not willing to actually DO THINGS and learn as you go.
So, start paying attention to your perfectionist tendencies and try to minimize them as much as you can to improve productivity and achieve your goals.
2. Prioritize Sleep and Nutrition
Many people talk about time management and how to plan your days to boost productivity.
Time management is important, but energy management — making sure you have enough energy to be productive — is crucial to productivity and success.
Sleep is a restorative process for your brain and has a huge impact on your memory, critical thinking, attention, and concentration.
A study on almost 600,000 employees working in multiple industries showed that employees that got 8 hours of sleep had the highest productivity levels and less daytime fatigue.
Similarly, a good diet is essential to the health and optimal function of your brain.
Although your brain makes up around 2% of your body weight, it burns a whopping 20% of the energy you consume.
(And as an entrepreneur who constantly has to make hard decisions on the move and stay creative, you may burn even more!)
Making sure that your brain has adequate energy to perform can help you increase your energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, and get more things done.
At the end of the day, even if your big picture vision is perfectly broken down into small actionable steps, you won’t be able to complete them without having enough mental energy and working memory for it.
3. Minimize Decision Fatigue
Making decisions is exhausting.
As in, it has been scientifically proven that having too many choices to make causes you to feel tired and overwhelmed.
Barack Obama told Vanity Fair in 2012 that he only wears blue or gray suits to minimize decisions he has to make. He didn’t want to spend his brain power on choosing clothes or picking out his meals when he had significantly more important decisions on his agenda.
Other prominent figures, such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, have also tried minimizing day-to-day decisions and only focusing on things that truly deserved their top brain performance.
If you’re wondering how to be more energetic and productive, try looking at your everyday routines and business operations to identify areas that you can put on autopilot to conserve your brain power for more important tasks.
For example, if copywriting is not your thing and trying to find the right words literally makes your brain hurt, hiring a professional copywriter will help you maximize your productivity levels in other areas of your business.
4. Stop Multitasking
Remember when everyone wanted to be a multitasker?
Well, science has repeatedly shown that your brain is cognitively incapable of doing multiple things at once.
(Or at least doing them well.)
When you switch between tasks, your brain has to go through goal shifting and rule activation, which is known as the “switching cost.”
The more different the tasks you’re working on are, the higher the “switching cost,” and the longer it takes your brain to adjust its focus and start working at peak capacity again.
As a result, your productivity levels go down and completing the tasks you’re working on takes you a longer amount of time.
For better performance, focus on one task at a time and try to minimize distractions (such as phone notifications) as much as you can.
5. Get to Know Yourself
While there are things that you can do to optimize your brain performance, there’s no productivity formula or routine that works for everyone.
To become truly productive, you have to figure out routines and tools that work best for YOU.
For some people, it’s the Pomodoro method (when you work for 25 minutes and then take a short 5-minute break).
For others, it’s going through the same motions every morning to get ready for the day ahead, aka having a morning routine.
You won’t know what boosts your productivity unless you’re willing to experiment with different systems and optimize your daily life as you go.
That said, chances are, digital marketing takes up a fair share of your time and brain power (which are both finite resources, as we’ve established in this post)…
This 5-minute quiz helps you discover your secret weapon in marketing and makes converting your audience much easier so you can improve your productivity levels and get more done during the day. Get started now!