Scheduling is the Essence of Productivity Success

The adage “work smarter not harder” has become a business cliché, but it does hold a lot of truth. For many startups, the idea of living and breathing for your company and hustling from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep is a romantic ideal for success. The reality is that approach is a roadmap to burnout or even failure. For entrepreneurs, the adage could be modified to “work smarter not longer.” Planning is a better strategy for productivity than hustle. We’ll dive into that concept to produce some tips to avoid burnout while producing results.

Quality Beats Quantity

The physical demands of the round-the-clock workday are obvious, but the quality of work suffers throughout a long day as well. Many successful people have a very simple secret to success: a to-do list. It may seem quaint but taking some time in the last hour of your workday to layout your tasks for the next one will help keep you organized, make it easier to prioritize, and help you hit the ground running the next morning.

Here are two pro tips to using to-do lists to optimize productivity: First, keep it old school and write it out or print it on paper. The feeling of physically crossing something off the list is remarkably satisfying. Second, look at the list in the morning and force yourself to tackle the thing you want to do at least first. Whether it goes well or poorly, it’s out of the way and not hanging over your head the rest of the day, affecting your productivity with other tasks.

Over-Extension is a Recipe for Disappointment

Startups live and die with their reputation. It’s critical to always deliver what you promise, but you must be careful about over-promising and over-extending. Missing a deadline is far worse than projecting a longer timeline to complete a project. You don’t want to be saddled as unreliable. You also don’t want to be in a constant scrambling state as you and your employees rush to hit unreasonable deadlines. Emergencies come up, but make them the exception, not the rule. Under-promise and over-deliver!

Most modern startup icons, even the ones famous for working 24/7 will tell you that they have schedules and plans, even if they’re rough. As your company grows, it’s far better for employees to work in a culture that gives its staff time to breathe than one that operates at a high level of stress. Be kind to yourself and your team. Work smarter, not longer.

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