How do you feel at the end of a day when you’ve been very productive? It feels good right? So why not focus the end of this year on ways to be more productive in the new year? This can involve using the right tools but it also involves many other things.

Here are twenty-one ideas for increasing your productivity, as well as making the most of any type of productivity app, software or strategy.

Start with the Most Important Productivity Strategy

Before installing any productivity tool, first determine which part of your business you need to systematize and hand off. Look for the most:

  • Time-consuming part of your business
  • Energy-draining tasks of your business
  • Area of your business where you lose the most money
  • Area of your business that makes you feel as if you’ve wasted hours

Start with a productivity tool that takes care of the most urgent areas—be that scheduling, customer support, billing or all of the above—and fit your solution to meet that need with as few tools—or steps—as possible.

Stop the Endless Cycle

Do you buy course after course, promising yourself you’re going to “master” an area of your business that is not second nature to you? Do you have courses and eBooks on your computer that you’ve never completed (or perhaps never even started?)

These are big clues to your ‘weak’ areas—the ones you should waste no more time on, but immediately outsource or automate.

Learn to be Mindful and In the Moment

If you’ve made a commitment to be more aware of your business overview and vanquish self-sabotaging habits, then pay attention to that commitment. If you find yourself doing time-waster tasks on autopilot, or spending hours trying to tweak one headline, or letting time slip away on Facebook—stop. Take frequent reality checks during the day. Get up from your computer, and take a moment to appreciate the weather outside (bad or good); the comforts of your office; even the fact that you are alive and breathing.

Doing this can help you break bad habits—as long as you make this your new habit!

Underestimate on Purpose

Perfectionists have a lot of bad habits. The worst one? Being a perfectionist! Stop overestimating your ability to be super-entrepreneur. Keep your to-do list essentials simple: No more than three key tasks per day. Then time those three things; at least for a few weeks.

After you’ve concluded this experiment, start allotting a time frame to each task, based on the actual time-frames. And if something takes too long? Automate or outsource!

be more productiveSync Your To-do List with Your Scheduling Software or Calendar

Reserve some appointment slots for yourself, to accomplish tasks you have to do yourself. You should actually put these on your calendar or task list so they don’t get pushed to the back burner.

Create Templates and Checklists for Recurring Tasks

Checklists and templates provide a quick way to make sure you create consistency in your content and communications. They also save time, and allow you to hand off completion to assistants.

Plan to Repurpose Everything

Every step you take as an entrepreneur—down to even making mistakes—is fodder for sharing. So make sure you take notes, keep a daily journal and/or record as much as you can, keeping in mind how to repurpose it later.

Shut All Your Browser Tabs Down

We all do it—have a gazillion tabs open while working. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and muddled, shut them all down and start afresh.

Do Your Most Important and/or Most Unpleasant Task First

Procrastinators do the most important or most unpleasant task last. Do these tasks first and get them out of the way, and you’ll be more energized as you step into the rest of the day.

Be Proactive: Not Reactive

Too many entrepreneurs get caught up in chasing around after clients and after the latest business ‘fashion’. Focus instead on the lifestyle you want, plan your steps to achieving it and set healthy boundaries. Focus on that—not on mastering the latest Webinar platform or letting clients trample on your boundaries.

be more productive

Break Major Goals into Tiny Bites

It’s far easier to reach the other side of the country one step at a time, rather than focusing on how far away and unreachable it feels.

Celebrate each step, and celebrate key milestones along the way even more. And remember that even the most famous musician in the world had to learn to keep at it, and learn one lesson at a time.

Un-train Your Brain

We have now hard-wired ourselves, quite literally, to multi-task—something that as of recent years has been venerated. Psychologists have proved that multi-tasking dissipates energy and makes us feel duller and more confused later in the day. Furthermore, multi-tasking drops IQs by an average of 5 points, according to one source.

Focus on one task at a time, and shut off (and out) all other distractions.

Keep Things Fun

It’s not rocket science to note that we humans tend to abandon activities or tools that are stressful, difficult or boring. No matter what new habits or tools you decide to use to increase productivity, make sure that you find them easy to adopt—and fun to use.

Productivity is really just another way to make sure your quality of life—as well as your business and your relationships with others—rocks. Being truly productive keeps you energized, inspired and heading straight towards your dreams.

Is Digital Noise Impacting Your Business and Health?

Digital noise is a real thing. It’s all those distractions coming from our phones and computers that prevent us from focusing on the important things in life, like our businesses, health, or loved ones. Take this self assessment to determine if digital noise is affecting your life.