You know how every space movie ever made has the exact same scene in it?
It’s that scene when the astronaut leaves the comfort for the cold, dark reality of space. The camera pans out and you see the lone astronaut, floating endlessly through space.
That is just about how I found myself every day as a beginning entrepreneur:
Just floating through my day.
I would start the day focused on my to-do list, then somehow find myself scrolling through hundreds of emails, and before I knew it I was 30 minutes into an article on my competitor’s newly released product.
And, I had yet to actually be productive…
Once I realized I probably wasted about an hour of each work day on social media, I realized something had to change.
The key to a successful business is maximizing productivity, and by giving in to the daily distractions, I was completely dropping the ball…
As an entrepreneur yourself, you have probably found yourself in the same rut once or twice – you start the day with a goal in mind and so much determination, but somehow you venture off track and seem to never look back until another could-be-productive day is behind you.
China comes with a unique set of challenges that make entrepreneurship even harder. Healthy good can be hard to find outside of T1 cities, the internet is walled off, and day-to-day life comes with its own unique set of stresses.
So, if you are an entrepreneur in China scanning Newsmax while putting off work, you’ll want to check out these tips on how to be more productive.
And then get to work!
First and foremost, your health sets the tone for how the rest of your day and your life will pan out…
You know that McDonald’s cheeseburger you are cramming down your throat, at your desk, while you scroll through your emails? It’s a nice break from noodles, but it…
Isn’t improving your health and it definitely is not improving your productivity.
In fact, it is actually hindering you in both aspects. After you finish, you will feel tired – mentally and physically. The unhealthy food will wear your body down, making you consider just taking a nap on your desk, and the lack of an actual lunch break will leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Start by making small changes, such as going outside to eat at a picnic table and try packing a sandwich instead of running for fast food.
Focus on eating well-balanced meals throughout the day to boost your energy and your focus. Also, incorporate some downtime into your day – even if it is just actually getting away from the computer for your lunch break.
Your mind needs the time to reset. In fact, while you might think you are being more productive by skipping a lunch break, you will actually be more productive when you take one.
Late nights are inevitable as an entrepreneur…
You have countless things on your plate and everyone always needs you for something. However, late nights at the office or working from home should not be every night.
To be the most productive, ensure you are getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, at least. Your body needs this time to relax and reset itself for the next day.
Did you know your immune system can actually suffer from lack of sleep?
Your body repairs itself while you sleep, helping you fight off sickness. So, by skipping out on your needed hours of rest, you actually leave yourself more susceptible to illness which only hinders your productivity even more.
According to Frank Apodaca of The Sleep Judge, "The temperature of your room plays a critical role in the quality of your sleep. If you don't have air conditioning consider a cooling mattress pad with Outlast or phase change technology to help keep you cool. "
Make a Schedule, Trash the To-Do List
By giving yourself a to-do list, you automatically give yourself far more tasks than you can realistically complete in a typical work day. Obviously, everything you need to get done – rather it is by tomorrow or next week – will be on your to-do list.
But, can you actually finish all that today?
Instead, make a schedule that has you finishing your last task at the end of your work day – typically it is around 5:30 p.m. for most people. Start by scheduling the most urgent tasks, down to the least.
Not only will this help you set reasonable goals, but this will also help avoid those late nights at the office which can hinder you from getting your needed amount of sleep.
Reach High, But Not Too High
Business owners have long said “under promise and over deliver” – meaning tell the customer it will take you a set amount of time, typically a quick one that will impress them, and then deliver the product even earlier. However, this age-old advice can lead to some real stressors.
Being honest about the time it will take for you to deliver high-quality work to your customers will enhance your ability to foster deep and trustworthy business relationships with them and also help relieve personal pressure.
Instead, account for the time you estimate it will actually take you, including a little room for human error or delays. With each project, track your success and use this as a tool later for improving the accuracy of your deadline quotes.
The go-go-go mindset and intoxicating environment of ambition in China’s cities make it extra hard to unplug, but it is essential that you do so. Your customers deserve you at your healthiest and happiest best.
And, that added personal pressure increases mental fatigue, but feeling control over one’s schedule reduces it.
There are several actions you might be doing – such as skipping lunch and working late – that you think are increasing your productivity, but they are actually doing the exact opposite.
Productivity starts with finding a balance between work and personal time. Focus on getting healthy, staying well rested, and setting reasonable goals and the rest will fall into place.
What are some of your favorite activities that allow you to de-stress? Let us know in the comments!
Michael Michelini is host of the GlobalFromAsia.com podcast, an online radio show to help business owners grow their companies in Asia and around the world.
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