There is such a thing as decision fatigue. This means the more decisions you make in a day, the worse your choices become. This is an important phenomenon for entrepreneurs to be aware of, because they tend to have to make a lot of decisions on a daily basis.
When starting a company, there are so many things coming at you–many of them you never expected–that the idea of being efficient is second to just keeping your head above water.
However, the most productive people tend to have a very controlled, systematic approach to getting things done. This helps keep the decision making to a minimum and allows you to focus on only what is necessary.
This isn’t to suggest there’s a way to get around working hard, but when you are putting in those long hours trying to make your business a success, you want to make sure those hours are worth it.
So before you dive into the next project with no apparent ending or beginning, do these five things that will add a degree of efficiency and sanity to your day.
1. Steer Your Schedule
There are a number of productivity apps that can help make this automatic. If you have to block out time to get work done when you won’t be taking phone calls or meetings, or answering email, so be it. Just make sure you’re in the driver’s seat, steering your day where you want it to go, rather than waiting for something to take you off course.
2. Do More By Doing Less
It’s counterintuitive to think that multitasking will actually cause you to spend more time getting less done. However, recent studies have suggested that multitasking actually makes you less efficient. Don’t go down this path. Instead, complete one project–and do it right–before you pick up another.
3. Relinquish Control
For many startup founders, there’s a tendency to feel like you have to do everything yourself or it won’t be done right. But when you learn to delegate to others, it won’t be long before you realize how much more time you have for the most important tasks. At some point you have to let go of a certain amount of control, so that you can begin to scale in other ways.
4. Create Processes
As a startup or small business, you’re going to experience a lot of challenges and issues you haven’t dealt with before. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t put different processes in place as you go, so that the next time something comes up, you have an immediate action plan. Flexibility is good and necessary, but flying by the seat of your pants is not a position you want to be in for long periods of time.
5. Know When to Take a Break
There’s a point of diminishing returns on hard work. There comes a time on a given day or week when you have to realize there’s only so much you can do, and actually taking a break will be much more beneficial. Give your mind a chance to rest and come back the next day refreshed. Chances are you’ll make much better decisions.
Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those with1-10 employees. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.