How to Structure Your Day as a Business Owner
First, abandon the idea that a work day should be 8 hours. That concept comes from the Industrial Revolution days, was made popular by Henry Ford in 1915, and hasn’t really evolved since then. Productivity is not a measure of how many hours you put in, it’s about the results you get out.
Instead, think in terms of 90-minute windows. That’s basically the limit of your attention span to devote to a task, so any longer and you become inefficient and ineffective. Breaking your day into these windows will allow you to be more productive in the long run. In a work day, you may have anywhere from 3 to 6 90-minute windows, with a recommended 20 to 30 minute break in between.
Decide on your 3 Most Important Things for each day and figure out which window or windows they should go in, depending on how long the task should take. Your 3 biggest responsibilities as a business owner are Marketing/Sales, Operations, and delivering the Product/Service, so the tasks will likely fall under these umbrellas.
Think about your energy levels throughout the day and match up tasks accordingly. When do you have the most physical energy? The most mental energy? When are you at your most social?
Typically the mind is strongest in the morning and best able to block out distractions. In the early afternoon, we are usually the least focused, so it’s a good time to take care of Admin tasks - checking emails, responding to comments/messages, etc. Late afternoon and evening tends to be the best time for social activities, meetings, interviews. That’s for the majority of people, but it may be different for you. Consider tracking your energy throughout a week to see when you’re at your most and least focused.
The key is that once you’ve decided which window will focus on which task, you need to FOCUS. Block out everything else but that thing. Stop multitasking. Turn off all your notifications, go on airplane mode, whatever you need to do, just focus.
Strive to wake up well before 8 so you can get a morning workout in or some reading/mindfulness before the work day starts.
Choose your 3 Most Important Things for the day and assign them to the 90-minute window you will complete them in according to your energy and attention level.
Start your work day at 8 and work on your most difficult task for 90 minutes
Take 30 minute breaks between these sprints.
Save social and creative tasks for later in the day.