We all face tough times in our lives. Sometimes it’s personal, like a failed relationship or the loss of a loved one. Sometimes it’s a bigger crisis that affects many people, such as the aftereffects of a natural disaster or an unforeseen event like a worldwide pandemic.
When times are tough, it’s easy to lose your motivation.
And that can be hard on your business.
Why? Because without motivation, there’s no such thing as “being productive.”
Without motivation, it’s easy to let work and other tasks fall by the wayside. And that will have a negative impact on your business.
But the good news is that you don’t have to let this happen. You can stay motivated and productive in difficult times.
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Why it’s important to be productive in difficult times
I get it. Sometimes all you want to do is chill out on the couch and binge-watch the new season of Ozark on Netflix. But you need to understand that what you do in your business now will affect it three months down the road.
Depending on the type of business you have, you may be able to take some time off and not see any problem at all. You might be able to coast for a few weeks or longer without working very much. But sooner or later, you will see a decrease in revenue.
And what happens in a few months, when you suddenly see a huge dip in your income? It will take time – possibly a good three months – to build it all back up again.
How do you want to be spending your time six months from now? Stressed out and hustling all the time to get your business back up? Or working at a normal pace?
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather keep working now so that I don’t have to play catch-up down the road.
1. Stay focused on the right activities
Staying focused on the right activities will keep your business moving forward. Each business is different. The activities that you need to focus on will be specific to your business.
A time-tracking tool such as Toggl will help you understand where you are spending your time now.
When you’re working on a computer, it can be way too easy to get caught up checking email, browsing Pinterest or Instagram, chatting on Facebook, etc. By tracking your time, you’ll see exactly how much time you are spending on those activities.
You might have a valid business reason for engaging in those activities. Or you might be wasting time.
For each activity that you track, ask yourself “is this making me money?”
If you don’t want to track your time yourself, but you do want to see how much time you spend on various computer-related activities, then check out RescueTime. It automatically tracks your computer-time and categorizes the sites from Very Productive to Very Distracting.
Time tracking can be a real eye-opener! Not only will it help you to be productive in difficult times, but it will also improve your productivity when things get back to normal.
For each activity that you track, ask yourself “is this making me money?”
2. Stay connected with your business friends
Networking with other business owners can help you to stay motivated and productive during difficult times.
Your friends and family may be supportive and encouraging, but it’s helpful to have someone who understands what you are going through with your business that you can talk to.
If you don’t have any business friends, then it’s time to make some! In today’s online world, it’s easy to connect with like-minded business owners.
Start by checking out Facebook Groups. There are thousands of groups to choose from. You can find groups on any business topic or groups that are specific to your business niche. Once you’re a member, introduce yourself and join in the community activities.
3. Find someone to hold you accountable
One of the best ways to stay productive is to be accountable to someone. This could be a family member, business friend, business coach, etc.
I have an accountability partner that I meet with three mornings a week via video chat. We share what we want to accomplish over the next few days and report back on what we said we would do.
There are many, many days that I follow through on planned activities simply because I don’t want to tell my accountability partner that I didn’t get it done.
Another option for accountability can be found in my free Facebook group. We have a weekly thread on Mondays where you can announce your intention for the week. Then on Fridays, there is a follow-up thread where you can report in on how you did. It’s a built-in set of accountability buddies!
Having someone that you are accountable to is so powerful! Nobody wants to admit that they blew off working.
4. Create a schedule that works for you
When you’re going through a tough time, your schedule may be irregular. Your normal schedule may not work for your new situation. In fact, you may find it tough to find the time to work at all.
Creating a new routine will help.
It’s okay if you are scheduling in fewer hours now than you normally work. As long as you are still doing something, that’s what counts.
Time blocking can be your best friend in creating your new schedule.
- Figure out how much time you have to devote to work right now.
- Then decide which hours of the day you can work. Maybe you only have a couple of hours every morning. Or an hour at night after the kids go to bed. Block those hours out on your schedule.
- Figure out which activities are going to make you money. Those are your “must-do” tasks.
5. Use automation to get more done
There are many tools available that will help you automate business tasks. And automation will help you get more done even though you are working fewer hours each week.
Create content – whether that is blog posts, YouTube videos, or social media – in batches. Then schedule it to be published at a later date. You’ll save time by doing “like” tasks together.
WordPress, Facebook, and most email service providers have schedulers built in. You can also use tools like Hootsuite, Later, and Tailwind to schedule content to be published on social media platforms and Pinterest.
6. Stay positive during difficult times
Getting through tough times is easier if you can maintain a positive attitude.
When you find yourself lacking positivity, you may just need some words of encouragement to keep you going. Here are three quotes that I find helpful and inspiring in tough times:
7. Be flexible
There will be days when you won’t feel up to working or being productive. When that happens, give yourself some grace. If you need a break, take one.
But there will also be days when you have to put on your boss cap and tell yourself to get it done. On those days, suck it up and do what you have to do, with the understanding that you can be flexible on other days.
Remember – we all experience tough times in life. Nothing lasts forever and that includes difficult times. This is a season. It will pass.
Until it does. . .
Stay focused. Work on your highest priority tasks. And keep doing the best you can.
Want to remember this? Save 7 Tips to Be Productive in Difficult Times to your favorite Pinterest board.
More posts to help you be productive:
- How to Save Your Sanity With Systems and Processes
- Time Blocking Tips to Make You Laser Focused and Super Productive
- How to Stick to Your Top Priorities
- Dramatically Improve the Way You Plan Your Day
- 18 Tips for Busy Solopreneurs on How to Combat Burnout
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