7 Life hacks For Entrepreneurs: From Organizing To-Do Lists to Employee Engagement

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 1. 1.Make a list of deadlines instead of a to-do list

Most likely, you have a to-do list - in a notebook or organizer, in notes on your phone, or just in your head. Does it ever happen that some tasks have been moving from list to list for several months, but hands never reach their completion? They hang like dead weight, hinting at your unproductiveness and laziness. Getting rid of such tasks, as well as shortening the to-do list, is easier than it seems.

Set a deadline for each task on the list. This is the easiest way to turn a to-do list into a schedule and a clear plan for what to do and when.

For example, if you are writing a business proposal for a large client, include the date when you submit it. By this time, you must not only draw up a commercial proposal, but also take into account the time it takes for the designer / assistant / freelancer to issue it. Accordingly, the task will have several more deadlines:

  • 1 - when you give the sketches to the designer,

  • 2 - when the designer sends the finished version,

  • 3 - when you send the edits to the designer,

  • 4 - receive the final version of the commercial proposal and send it to the client.

Now, instead of one vague task from the list, you have a developed plan with clear deadlines, along which you will move.

If you work in a team, it is important that everyone on the team can see the tasks and deadlines of their colleagues. This is helped by the services of task trackers - Trello, PlanFix. As a last resort, the command task tracker can be assembled in an Excel table or Google Sheets.

The main benefit of setting deadlines for all work (and not only) tasks is reducing stress levels. You will begin to control what is happening and plan your day based on deadlines, since you will already have a clear schedule. It remains only to adhere to it and adjust according to the situation.

2. Pump up critical thinking

Many entrepreneurs sin by making the first decision that comes to mind. In the rush and bustle, they do not take the time to assess the problem from all sides. But the first proposed solution is not always the best. The skill of critical thinking will help protect against mistakes.

There are several ways to sharpen your mind to critically evaluate your decisions and not to "flog a fever."

First, question any assumptions and decisions you make. Especially when the stakes are high. If you have come up with a new development strategy, ask yourself, “Why is this strategy the best in this case? Is there market research on this and what do they claim? "

Second, enable logic. Evaluate how obvious are the arguments in favor of this or that conclusion in order to make an informed decision on their basis? Are the arguments "for" supported by real numbers or statistics?

Finally, try to find a fresh or innovative solution to the problem. No matter how great the temptation to rely only on your inner circle when looking for answers to business questions, you never get a fresh perspective on the problem if everyone around you thinks the same way as you do. Get out of the bubble and ask different people to question your decision.

3. Stop remembering mistakes

How often do you think about your business failures or mistakes? If you become obsessed with negative experiences, anxiety and anxiety rise, you lose the ability to make volitional decisions. There are several ways to deal with intrusive memories.

Remember what makes you doubt yourself or your decisions? Perhaps when communicating with certain people or while working on a project or task, you suddenly feel insecure about yourself and your strengths? Watch yourself when (and most importantly, why) you start rethinking the same mistake or failure.

Noticing that you have once again recalled the very wrong decision, thanks to which you lost money / client / got into a difficult situation, think about it from a different angle. Instead of saying "I am incompetent" to yourself, say "I feel incompetent." In this way, you move away from affirmation to formulation of feeling. And feelings and reality often have nothing in common.

Finally, no one canceled the easiest way - to distract yourself. If your thoughts continue to revolve around a failure from the past, take a walk, meditate, or start filling out an income and expense report - do simple, pleasant (or not so) things so that the brain can focus on something else.

4. Listen more, don't talk

If you have employees, you most likely talk a lot - you explain, persuade, set tasks, mentor, give directions, lecture. The leader has a lot of reasons for expressing his thoughts.

On the one hand, it is important to convey to employees, partners, colleagues what you want from them. But at the same time, constantly speaking out, you may not notice how you will begin to dominate in every conversation, leaving your interlocutors (usually subordinates) no chance to be heard.

Start following yourself in conversations. For example, if at a planning meeting or meeting someone brought up a sensitive topic or asked a question, ask colleagues to express their opinion first. Even if you already have a ready-made solution, don't talk about it until at least a couple of people have expressed their suggestions. In this case, employees will get involved in the problem solving process and will feel that their opinion is important and their contribution to the cause is worth something.

Aerobatics is creating regular one-on-one meetings with key employees to give them the opportunity to express their ideas and suggestions. At these meetings, ask employees about their wants, needs, concerns and listen. You will be surprised how much you learn about your business and employees without saying anything.

5. Follow the Four Basic Meeting Rules

Most meetings are a waste of time. They eat up time, turn into a booth and do not bring obvious results. It is not necessary to have knowledge of nuclear physics level to conduct productive meetings. You just need to follow the basics.

First, when scheduling the meeting, define a goal. She will allow you to draw up an agenda.

Second, decide who should definitely participate in the discussion of a specific issue. If certain employees need to be aware of the meeting but do not need to be present in person, alert them of the upcoming meeting and share the decisions made at it.

Third, at the beginning of the meeting, stipulate its purpose and focus the audience on the task at hand. Participants should be as involved as possible in the discussion and finding a solution. Your job is to get involved.

Fourth, do not forget to take stock after the discussion and reflect a little. Answer the questions: “Did all the participants in the meeting really take part in it? Did anything distract from the main goal and agenda? "

6. Involve employees in achieving the goal

To make your employees feel committed to the purpose of the business, simply motivating and elevating company mission statements are often not enough. Moreover, overly pretentious and insincere speeches about the highest business purpose from your lips can be counterproductive and cause cynicism among employees.

Keep two things in mind to inspire and engage your employees.

First, think about how to show employees the contribution and impact of their work to the business. You can tell your team as many times as you want that their work is important, but how do you make them feel it? It might be worth bringing in a customer and asking them to share their feedback with the staff, or to give the team a short field trip. For example, to conduct an excursion for office workers in production or, conversely, bring employees from production to the store, where they would see real customers buying the product they create.

Second, sincerity matters. If your attempts to motivate and engage employees go against your usual behavior, employees are more likely to realize that they are being manipulated, not inspired. Work with engagement on an ongoing basis, rather than as a one-off promotion, to let employees know you are serious.

7. Explore Positive Feedback

Most executives only focus on negative feedback about a business or product, ignoring positive feedback from customers and partners. But positive feedback is an invaluable way to learn about the strengths and growth points of a business.

Create a space (digital or physical) where you will store the praise you receive from letters, complaint books, and suggestions over the phone. Take some time from time to time to review and ponder all the thanks and positive reviews. Ask yourself: What is the most praised thing? How can I use strengths in other areas and directions? "

There is no need to be shy and dismiss gratitude. Think of someone pointing out strengths that you might not have guessed. Use it for growth and development.

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