The ability to stay organized and focused is the mark of a successful entrepreneur. If you feel like you’re falling behind from a productivity standpoint, there are ways you can train yourself to optimize your schedule for success everyday! Use these tips to plan out each day and improve your overall productivity.

1. Don’t plan your day the day of

Email can be a big time sucker, especially if you’re doing tasks as they are emailed to you. For the most productive days and weeks, plan your work out a week in advance so you know what your next week is looking like. Of course, important tasks will pop up in your email, but those can be added to the queue for the day if you have time or added to another day’s tasks.

2. Do your most important tasks first

If you’re planning your work out a week in advance, you can structure your day even further by putting high priority items at the top of the list to get done first. Why do your most important tasks first? Time and energy are limited resources. When you do these tasks first, you’ll have the most focus to get them done efficiently.

3. Keep routines

The life of an entrepreneur can be unpredictable. Even when your work schedule is all over the place, it’s important to keep routines where you can. That could mean going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday, having a morning ritual of hitting the gym, or a nightly tradition of getting home to make dinner or put your kids to bed. Sticking to a routine will keep you on track throughout your day.

4. Schedule time for everything

We mean it. Everything. Schedule lunch breaks, meetings, time to look at your email, time for each task, breaks to relax – everything! When you know exactly what needs to get done and when, you’ll stay on task. Of course, this doesn’t have to be set in stone. If a task takes longer than expected, it’s not the end of the world. Overall, it’s important to have that schedule in place so there’s no surprises about what’s coming next.

5. Have a to-do list on hand at all times

You can keep a running to-do list on your phone or carry around a notebook if you prefer the satisfaction of physically crossing off a task. Either way, it’s important to have it with you everywhere. When you think about that one little thing you can’t forget, write it down. Managing several projects can be overwhelming to the brain. Once you get everything down in writing, you can prioritize and add to your schedule accordingly.

6. Track time

Being aware of the time you’re sinking into tasks is important for improving your productivity. If you’re like many, going down an irrelevant rabbithole for an hour is not hard. As you do your weekly planning, think about how long each task should actually take. Write it down next to the task so when you go to do it, you can set a time for yourself. Try using a time management system to record your time to each task – this can be an eye opening experience. With timestamps for each task, you can see what you’re spending the most time on and try to strategize ways to optimize or automate to get it done faster!

It’s going to seem a little annoying at first to adopt all these tips, but with some consistency, we promise you’ll see results!

For more productivity topics and tips, check out our productivity education page.