As an entrepreneur, you must stay productive. It’s easier than ever to found and run a start-up, which means that no matter what market you’re in it’s likely you’re going to face competition. The moment you’re not maximizing your productivity is the moment when the competition can take the lead.

The funny thing about productivity is it’s not a matter of working more or even harder. It’s about working smarter and factoring your personal preferences and rhythm into your daily life. Here are a few ways you can do that.

Have One Priority Each Day

Every day must have an objective, one thing that will help your company the most. The steps to get there may be numerous, but having one priority goal each day will keep your efforts focused. It’ll remind you of what’s important and what isn’t.

That doesn’t mean you should only do one thing a day. It only means that you must have one overarching goal for each day.

Default to a “No”

Entrepreneurs are often strapped for time. You may find yourself scrambling day after day to accomplish your tasks, making sure that everything is order before you head home for a good night’s rest. That means every task you take on must be of utmost importance and must be beneficial to the company.

Many times you’ll be forced to make a decision before you understand the consequences. In those situations, it’s best to default to a “no.” This results in the status-quo being maintained, and keeps you from accidentally committing to a time-consuming project with limited benefit to your start-up. You may miss some big opportunities, but defaulting to “no” is far safer than a gut-reaction “yes.”

Get Away From Work Once in a While

Sometimes the best way to stay productive is to take a rest. You may be tempted to stay in the office night after night, working yourself to the bone, but all that’ll get you is tired. There’ll be a few wins here and there, but they’ll come at the cost of your health and your future productivity. Get out and go to the park, or stay in and watch a good movie. Consider these tiny little vacations that you take every now and then to rest and recharge.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t times when you should dive into work and refine that presentation until it’s perfect. For the most part, however, you should give yourself a break whenever you can.

Full Commitment or Bust

You’re going to get a lot of offers as an entrepreneur, and they won’t always be exciting. Some offers, for example, will bore you just thinking about them. Then there are those special deals, those moments that get your blood pumping. Those are the projects you agree to – the rest should be met with a decisive “no.”

You are at your best when you’re excited and passionate about your task. You can’t afford to be less than that, which means that you shouldn’t say yes to tasks you feel lukewarm about. If the task is for the start-up, send it to someone who lives for that sort of work.

Restart in the Middle of the Day

Sometimes, things just won’t go your way. Your rhythm feels off and nothing’s going right. You can force the issue and just power through the weird feeling in your skull – or you can take a step back and reset the day.

Get a blank piece of paper or pull out your phone and open up a new text file. Make a list of what you need to do and figure out which ones are urgent and important. Not only will this free you mentally and focus your efforts, it’ll reset your rhythm and allow you to essentially start fresh.

You can also do your morning routine again. Do whatever it is that you do before you work. This will also let you reset your mind, especially if you have a pre-work routine that gets you pumped up.

Each entrepreneur is different. What works for other people may not necessarily work for you, or may require modification to suit your habits and needs. Try a few of these suggestions and adjust them to fit your preferences. Eventually you’ll find something that works for you and makes you a more productive entrepreneur.


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