Having my own small business and working from home is (literally) a dream come true for my family and me. In fact, it was so life-changing that my husband started his own business shortly after I launched mine! (You can read more about the early years of my business here.)
While starting our businesses are two of the best decisions we’ve ever made, going through the first few years of *two* businesses has been tricky at times! There’s so much I want to do as a wife, mama, person, and entrepreneur that sometimes it gets a little crazy trying to juggle everything. More than at any other time in my life, I feel like I have to be super-aware and intentional with how I manage and spend my time.
Knowing where my boundaries are, how to organize projects, and when to “turn off” my business side can be challenging. I’ve figured out by now that balance is best, and it took a major mindset shift and setting some intentional good habits to get to the point where I feel like everything goes smoothly…most of the time 😉
7 productivity tips for entrepreneurs
Our life looks a whole lot different than it did just five years ago. We’re constantly balancing our personal and family lives with the work that goes into growing our businesses. Over the last few years, we’ve nailed down our go-to systems and habits that help keep us on track (and sane!)
This blog is all about productivity tips for entrepreneurs – I’m sharing the habits, programs, and mindset shifts that have helped me be more productive and manage my time in ways that feel sustainable. If you’re also an entrepreneur looking for new ways to manage your time and maintain balance, I hope you find some tips that work for you!
Tip #1: Stick to a schedule
We’re in the thick of raising two boys, and that means my days usually fall into one of three categories:
- Client-facing days, where I’m in discovery calls or meeting with clients.
- Deep-dive design days. These are the days when I’m working full-speed ahead on client projects. You’ll find me in my leggings, my hair up in a bun, crossing things off my project to-do lists in front of the computer.
- All-in-mama days, where I can give full-time attention to my boys. (+ that laundry of pile in the corner of the room)
I love being able to turn off work when I’m in mama mode, so I prefer a firmer boundary between parent time and CEO time.
Now, I definitely work on projects while my kids are playing or in bed! But if I can find some dedicated off-duty time from being a mom, it’s much easier to get in work mode and knock a bunch of tasks out at once. I try to tackle most of my work when I know the kids are already at school or on their “dad days.”
Some people like to get out to a coffee shop or wake up early to block off some quiet time. It looks different for everyone! If you can carve out distraction-free time, those few hours a week can be some of the most productive.
Bonus tip: a note about meetings
Have you ever noticed meetings can change the workflow of a whole day? It’s so much harder to focus on desk work when I know I have a meeting on the books. My solution is to only schedule meetings on two days, max, each week – the rest of my days are divided between desk work or other obligations!
Tip #2: Time block the important things
Between the four members of our family, it feels like there’s always something on the calendar. We’re constantly shifting around the puzzle pieces of work, school, appointments, family time, and fun stuff we want to do.
We make it work by figuring out our goals for the week ahead and time-blocking the highest priorities first. Everything else has to fit around those blocks of time. That way, even on the most hectic days, weeks, or months, we still meet our big deadlines and family goals.
Tip #3: Streamline your processes
There are a million tiny things business owners have to keep track of: client meetings, recurring “housekeeping” tasks, delivering projects on time…and the list goes on!
As much as possible, I’ve streamlined and automated these processes out of my head and into project management software, automation, and organized systems. It’s amazing how much time you get back when you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time a new client signs on, or you need to send an invoice reminder.
Bonus tip: What I use to manage my business
- ClickUp is my go-to project management tool, and it’s the base hub for everything from client project checklists to blog post ideas. I love that you can organize information or set to-dos, deadlines, and due dates to use it as a task manager. (Psst! If you’re looking for a ClickUp quick-start, Kaci Ackerman has some awesome templates and tutorials).
- Dubsado is what I use for client management. It’s where I collect leads, track contracts, and proposals, and do all of my invoicing. When I did this manually, I always felt like something was falling through the cracks. Dubsado keeps me well-organized and lets me automate a lot of the client management process.
- Slack is where I chat with clients about projects and get quick comments and feedback.
Tip #4: Use a digital calendar
ClickUp and Dubsado both have integrated calendars, and my heart skips a beat every time I see a well-designed paper planner. But Google Calendar is the only service I’ve been able to stick with every day, both personally and professionally.
The trick is to set up multiple calendars, so you can toggle each view on and off according to what you want to see at any given time.
We have a central family calendar, and my husband and I each have calendars for our businesses. If we have anything (and I mean ANYTHING) going on in our lives, it goes on one of these calendars as an event or reminder – otherwise it doesn’t happen – we even schedule in our weekly date night!
Tip #5: Make room for movement
Movement has always been a huge priority for me. It helps me clear my head, recharge, and make room for anything else that comes along in a day. In the early days of my business, sometimes this was as simple as making time to take a long walk, listen to a podcast, and hold space for myself.
Now that my business calendar and client roster are more full, sometimes it feels inconvenient to step away or like I don’t have the time in the midst of it all. But the opposite is true! I’m far more productive after a quick 20-minute workout, walk, or yoga session – so I’m also super intentional in scheduling my workout time.
Tip #6: Set a reward system
Don’t get me wrong; I adore what I do! But even when you work for yourself, you can still catch the procrastination bug. Some days, the to-do list feels never-ending, or a big project can get me down and feel overwhelmingly impossible to conquer.
When I’m having one of those days, I time-block tasks. Instead of thinking about the big picture of what I have to accomplish, I’ll set a timer and focus on working toward one goal for the next hour. Somehow everything seems more doable when I know I’m working for a set amount of time.
Once the timer is up, I reward myself for finishing whatever I was working on – a no-guilt catch-up of The Bachelor, a bubble bath, or a delish bowl of salted caramel ice cream.
Tip #7: Give yourself grace
I left this one for last because it might be the most important one on the list!
Knowing my boundaries while remaining flexible in certain areas has helped me keep productivity high while maintaining balance. It’s been helpful to let go of the traditional 9-to-5 mindset and shift into figuring out what works for our family in each season.
Working for myself means I’m my own boss, and I have to remember to be a good boss to myself! Some days during a client launch, I wake up earlier and work longer hours. Some days are shorter, and I can walk away from the desk after an hour or two.
“Grace” for you might look like giving yourself permission to spend more time away from the desk when needed. Maybe it’s being more flexible with work hours.
Sometimes you’re in a growth season, firing on all cylinders and spending every free moment on the business. And sometimes you need a rest season. All of that is normal and OK! It’s all about listening to yourself, communicating with your loved ones, and being honest about what you need to do at a given time.
I hope you’ve found these productivity tips for entrepreneurs helpful!
I’m still very much a work in progress! Who knows? In a few years, totally different things might work for my business. It’s all part of the process. The most important thing is being real about your goals and needs, staying flexible, and making room for what’s most important to you.
No matter which season you’re in, I hope these tips help you break down what’s important to you and your family, set goals and firm boundaries, and take small steps and make new habits that create more time for doing the things you want to do and growing in the ways you want to grow.
TLDR: What are 7 Productivity tips for entrepreneurs?
- Stick to a schedule
- Time block the important things
- Streamline your processes
- Use a digital calendar
- Make room for movement
- Set a reward system
- Give yourself grace
Wanna nerd out about productivity tips for entrepreneurs, marketing strategy, and gorgeous websites?
Head over to my Instagram! I’m hanging out there on the daily, connecting with other small business owners and sharing advice on launching search-worthy websites.