• December 7, 2022

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Businesses are made up of a lot of moving parts, so running one can often be a complex endeavor. Without a plan or a strategy for keeping all these moving parts in line, it can be easy to fall into stress, overwhelm and a general sense of unhappiness during your workday.

For the members of Young Entrepreneur Council, figuring out what methods work for them has been an ongoing process. Here, they each discuss one specific strategy they’ve found works well for simplifying their day and allowing them to tackle their duties without added stress and overwhelm.

1. I Block Out Time For Distraction-Free Work

As our team has grown exponentially in the past year, we’ve had to spend some time creating and organizing Slack channels. Now, we have over 30 channels, which means that messages are constantly coming in from team members all over the world. Our business is always changing and improving, so we don’t want to ignore those important moving parts, but we also don’t want those messages to interrupt our day-to-day operations. To simplify my day and duties as co-founder, I usually block out certain hours of my day in order to work without any distractions. I’ve found that this increases my productivity and makes me a more effective leader. – Simon Bacher, Ling App

2. I Leverage The ‘Bundling’ Method

For us, staying productive and getting work done without stress can only be achieved if we focus on a single task at a time and eliminate all distractions during our productive hours. We try to control all distractions and tackle all nonessential tasks during specifically allocated times. What works well for our team is using the “bundling” method to group all similar tasks so we can work on them at the same time. For example, we check and respond to emails only during “communication hours” and not immediately upon receiving them. To implement this structure, our team is trained to work in 90-minute increments, prioritize deep work and effectively control distractions by allocating specific times during the day (usually between 3 to 5 p.m.) to tackle them. – Feruza Djamalova, Sobirovs Law Firm

3. I Focus On One Activity That Improves My Life

Every quarter, I put myself through an exercise that helps me clarify one activity that will improve my life in several areas, professionally and personally. For business, that one activity can be broken down into monthly, weekly and daily parts, and I have made it a habit to focus on doing whatever that is first thing each day. If the rest of my day goes sideways or gets filled with other people’s requests, I can carry the satisfaction of pushing my one activity forward. This has helped me keep stress and overwhelm in check while also making it easy to track and share my goal with my team. – Kris Garlewicz, ProsperiFi

4. I Minimize How Often I’m In Meetings

As business owners, we have multiple things thrown at us every day. If we try to tackle everything as it comes, then we are allowing situations to control us and not the other way around. The “two plus one” meetings rule has worked well for me. Have two scheduled meetings in a day that cover ongoing projects, client meetings or department reviews. Schedule various departments on different days of the week so that you can provide quality time to each function. Keep one hour of optional meeting time daily to fight any fires or handle any immediate actionables. With this method, I stay focused by allocating my mind and time only to that day’s task during the meeting as well as before and after for prep work and follow-up. – Vinay Indresh, Spacejoy

5. I Consider What Keeps Me Up At Night

I use the “up at night” planning strategy to make sure I’m focusing on the most impactful aspects of my business. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the day-to-day, I brainstorm the top things that keep me up at night and put those right at the top of my list when planning work each week or each day. – James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

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6. I Delegate As Much As Possible

I keep a running list of everything that needs to be done in the business. At least once a day, I go down that list and see what projects I can hand off to an employee. I have found that I can not do it all, and usually there is someone ready to help. They often will do a better job than me, in less time and with more pride. Being able to delegate allows me to keep my list true to only the things that I can put into motion. This gives me laser focus and a plan of action to achieve those tasks while the other tasks are being completed by another team member. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo

7. I Plan My Days And Weeks In Advance

While it may sound simple, planning is everything in terms of maintaining peace of mind and gaining the focus needed for constant progress. While planning the next day the night before is a really important key habit of mine that I unwaveringly set aside the time for every single evening, I also plan for the week ahead every Sunday, no matter what. Having a solid plan in place for the next day sets me up for a running start the moment I wake up—literally and figuratively—as having clarity on the tasks for the day means I can concentrate on other elements of business while I run in the morning and then spend the rest of the day simply checking off my to-do list, without having to set aside time to contemplate planning during my most productive hours of the day. – David Henzel, TaskDrive

8. I Find A Way To Keep My Tasks Organized

You have to try out a few methods of organization to see what works specifically for you. For some people, keeping a list of tasks helps. For others, having visual boards of workflow is what keeps them organized. You have to find a method that works best for you and the way you operate. Some people are more visual learners; therefore, visual graphs and images help them remain calm within the chaos, knowing nothing will slip through the cracks. I enjoy using Miro boards to keep projects organized and updated for my team and me. – Roman Smolevskiy, A+ Construction Pro

9. I Trust My Team To Follow Documented Processes

I work in several functions of the business, from sales and marketing to operations and project management. In each function, I have smart people who offer input or take my input and execute it. I don’t run any part of the business on my own; I mostly oversee them. We have also created playbooks and templates for each function so that it is easier to work—even for newcomers. When I started the company, I did not have playbooks for my team members, and it was difficult to train them or hold them accountable. I understood the value a bit later, and 90% of the tasks have become easier. I also involve my team more in any decision-making processes. So in the end, simplify the complex effort into functions and processes. – Piyush Jain, Simpalm

10. I Conduct A Daily ‘Clear-Out’

Simplifying my day is a process, not a one-time event. For me, it starts with what I call a “clear-out.” Every morning, I take a few minutes to assess my schedule for that day and see where I can free up time. This usually means getting rid of small tasks like returning emails or phone calls that aren’t urgent or important. Once I’ve done that, I make sure to block off some space in my calendar so that I can focus on the big projects coming up that week. This sounds simple, but it’s one of the best ways for me to keep my priorities straight and stay focused on what matters most. – Brian Greenberg, Insurist

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