Are you as productive as you think you are? As a business owner you have a never ending list of things to do to grow your business.
Instead of trying to do all things all the time, what if you set aside time each day - time boxing - to focus and complete your tasks?
I know I am guilty of spending the whole day on a task when I thought it would have taken me 30 minutes. Working in sprints and timeboxing I am able to accomplish more and see actual progress in many areas of my business and not just one area.
Setting boundaries around tasks allows me to be more productive.
Parkinson’s Law, which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
When I started working in sprints it allowed me to take back control of my schedule. It made me prioritize my day so I make time for money making activities not just product creation which I love.
We can get lost in doing the things we love or doing the easy stuff instead of focusing on marketing and sales, billing and growing the business.
I create sprints where I only work on one task in the allotted time with the goal of having the task completed in the end. I combine it with the Pomodoro Technique and I'm not sitting in front of the computer all day.
How to Work in Sprints
- Prioritize your sprint beforehand
- Set a timer or use the Pomodoro Technique
- Turn of notifications
- Take breaks
- Use a project/work management tool - I use my bullet journal and work with what my partners use (ClickUp, Trello, Asana)
- Group like tasks
If you have not worked in sprints yet, now is the time to try and up your productivity.
Productivity for Business
Want to be more productive? Here are productivity tools and ideas to become a more productive Empowerpreneur.
Are you ready to start accomplishing more, quicker and easier?
Get the Productivity Toolkit
- 11 steps to become more productive and achieve more
- Productivity Checklist
- 15 Productivity Hacks
- and a Productivity Journal
6 Benefits of Working in Sprints
- Done is Better Than Perfect - working in sprints you reduce perfectionism
- Manageable Schedule - your workday is more predictable and routine
- Be More Intentional - your workday is intentional. You will need to priortize tasks, give it a timeframe and you can also set your intention for the outcome and how you feel doing the task.
- Get Focused - you are able to focus and accomplish more. With more focus you improve your focus and productivity.
- No More Multitasking - stop multitasking and start finishing tasks.
- Stay Motivated - Working with sprints you are able to see the progress you are making, link ROI to the tasks and actually get work done.
Learn to work in sprints and use timeboxing to get more productive.
Structure Your Day with Timeboxing
This time management hack is so simple but we live in a society where the ability to multitask is applauded. Multitasking is not for everyone and the majority of us can get more done when we focus on one task at a time.
Timeboxing is blocking out a portion of your day to focus on getting certain tasks done. You only focus on what you plan to do during the allotted time.
You can block off
- 1 hour for administrative tasks (email, calls, invoicing)
- 3 hours for content creation
- 15 minutes social media engagement
You decide how to best manage your day. It's best to schedule your top priorities first and fit everything else around it.
If you are just starting timeboxing you can start small with scheduling tasks for shorter time periods. Commit to time boxing for 30 days and see how more productive you will become.
Timeboxing moves you from the long to-do list to planning out your tasks on your calendar. It's more visual way of planning your time.
Timeboxing helps you establish what to do, when and for how long. Then at the end of the day evaluate what you have accomplished.
Set Up Your Time Box Sprint
To set up a timebox, start by identifying a task or project that you need to get done:
- Figure out how long that body of work should take.
- For personal or team timeboxes, schedule in your calendar
- Decide if it’s a hard (stop work whether you are complete when the time scheduled for the day is done) or soft timebox (keep going until you are complete).
- Start the timebox.
- Avoid distractions during the timebox in order to maintain focus on the task at hand.
- Finish, then take a break.
Timeboxing is also an effective team management tool. It makes it easier to communicate and collaborate with your team. Your team members can eliminate distractions and interuptions when they see you are busy time boxing. It also is a great way to work togehter (coworking) and focus on projects.
Working in Sprints with the Promodoro Method
The Pomodoro method is a proven time management method. The technique uses a timer to break down all of your tasks into 25 minute focused blocks of time. The 25 minute intervals known as Pomodoros (POMS) include 5 minute breaks in between.
Using the Pomodoro technique you will:
- Get more done in less time
- Avoid distractions
- Increase your focus
- Become more productive
That’s the basic principle, you can also watch the short video on Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro page shows you how to tweak the process in six easy but specific steps to make it not only foolproof, but more fun too.
You can also sit down for Pomodoro sessions – online and off – with your team members, and all accomplish more in less time.
Set Consequences and Rewards
What will happen if you don’t complete a week’s worth of tasks? You will lose momentum, demotivate yourself and your business will likely suffer.
As a solopreneur what are the the consequences if you miss a deadline?
Some people find consequences will keep them motivated while others like positive reinforcement like rewards. And some people like to use both consequences and rewards. Find what works best for you.
Is it spa day, hiring a housekeeper, getting the fancy equipment or software for your business?
Use these tools to motivate you to utilize your sprints to your best advantage.
Get an Accountability Partner
Accountability comes in many forms so choose the best option for you and how you work. Many people find success with an accountability partner.
You can work with your business coach, a friend, co-worker or your team.
Check in with you regularly with each other. It's easier having a peer or someone that works with you as an accountability partner as business owners can relate to your challenges as an entrepreneur and your team members are knowlegeable about the project you are working on. But you can choose anyone as long as they are willing to not only hold you accountable but also offer encouragement.
Having a sounding board to help you solve problems and your own personal cheerleader makes having an accountability partner worth it.
You can also set up conseqeunces and rewards with your accountability partner. Chores that you really despise or agree to make a contribution to your partner’s charity of choice if you fail to complete your tasks.
You can also set up rewards like lunch or dinner and a show with your accountability partner.
Having a tracker like the Pomodoro Planner will also help keep you accountable.
Accountability only works if you’re truthful with yourself and your partner about what you hope to accomplish and what you actually accomplish. How often you check in with your partner really depends on how much encouragement and discipline you need.
Quick daily texts or emails will help you keep track of what you accomplished during the day and keep your partner updated. A weekly video conference will allow you to share your accomplishments and progress for the week as well as address any challenges.
While some people weekly check ins are optimal as it keeps them focused and on track. For others monthly or bi-weekly check ins work just as well.
Join a Coworking Group
There are many coworking spaces and coworking groups that offer sprints as well.
I host a coworking strategy sprint - Success Strategy Sprint in my private community:
4 Weekly Coworking Sessions
- Week 1 - Website/Funnel Update
- Week 2 - Marketing Planning
- Week 3 - Business Development
- Week 4 - Monthly Content Plan
Every weekly session includes a live pre-show 20 minute strategy planning session and a 2 hour Pomodoro to work on the strategy.