Top Ten Ways Women Entrepreneurs Boost Productivity
By Susan L Reid, business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial
women starting up businesses.
Listed in a David Letterman’s reverse “Top Ten” order, here are the
top ten ways women entrepreneurs boost productivity:
10. Write out your to-do list the night before.
Don’t wait until morning to make your list. Write your list the
night before. Allow the process to percolate while you sleep. Then,
when you wake up, it’s as if you’ve had an eight-hour head start on
9. Prioritize your daily list using the “ABCD and E” method.
= must do
B = should do
C = would be nice to do
D = delegate
E = eliminate
8. Wake up early and get off to a good start.
Wake up early to set the tone for your day. This allows you to get
into the swing of things at an unhurried pace. Establish a morning
routine that is of greatest benefit to you, not just to your family.
7. Delegate everything possible.
If it isn’t directly making you money, delegate it to someone else.
Turn over data-entry tasks, packing and shipping, and answering
non-essential e-mails and calls to a competent administrative
professional. Not sure if you should turn something over? Ask
yourself, “Can this task be done by someone else, or does it need my
direct attention?” As an entrepreneur, your job is to concentrate on
what is of most value to you and your business success...not on
6. Know your energy peaks and valleys.
You are in control of your business. You get to say when, you get to
say how, and you get to say how long. As an entrepreneur, you aren’t
locked into a 9-to-5 workday. You can start work at the crack of
dawn, go to the gym in the afternoon, and outline a new product idea
in the evening. Schedule work activities, family time, and personal
quiet time around the natural ebb and flow of your energy peaks and
5. Find a way to love what you do.
If you love what you do then you are more apt to be productive
because you are fully engaged. No matter what you’re doing at any
given time, find a way to love doing it.
4. If in doubt, throw it out.
Make liberal use of your waste can and recycle bin. Regularly go
through files and throw out or shred material that is outdated or no
longer relevant. There is no need to save everything “just in case”
you’ll need it later. Trust that if you throw something out today
and you need it in the future, you’ll be able to get your hands on
3. Break up projects into tasks.
If you have something on your to-do list that’s been there for a
long time, realize that it’s probably not a task. It’s a project.
To-do lists are for discreet tasks. When you put a project on your
list, you’ll feel bogged down and productivity will slow. Many of
the women entrepreneurs surveyed use business strategist Brian
Tracy’s method for breaking up projects into easy-to-do tasks:
First, list the finished result you want. Next, map out every single
step of the project. Then, put the steps into order, moving the
important steps to the front. Now, delegate tasks and assign
Finally, track the progress of the project.
2. Give 80% of your attention to what is important and 20% to what
As an entrepreneur, your job is to discern the difference between
what’s important and what’s urgent. To figure out the difference
between the two, ask yourself, “Will focusing on this move my
business forward and make me money, or will I just be putting out
Dealing with the urgent all day is draining. Dealing with the
important is energizing. Make sure you’re giving 80% of your time
and attention to what’s important each day.
1. Focus on one thing at a time.
The number-one thing women entrepreneurs do to boost productivity
is…focus on one thing at a time. Although women are known to be
exceptional multi-taskers, those surveyed said they were able to get
more done when they focused on one thing at a time. Starting and
stopping in the middle of things was frustrating for them and meant
that not much was completed at day’s end.
If focusing on one thing at a time is challenging for you, have a
pen and paper nearby. That way, if something pops into your head,
just write it down and get right back to the task at hand.
What is the number one thing you should do to boost your
productivity? As you’ve just seen, among the 250 women entrepreneurs
I surveyed their answers ranged from prioritizing their daily to-do
list to learning to break projects up into smaller tasks to
delegating everything possible. Decide which of their favorite
techniques will help you the most, and start implementing them right
now. You’re sure to boost productivity for yourself and your