If you’re listening to this, you know, Entrepreneurs and small business owners juggle many things when running their businesses.

Unfortunately, the business culture seems to celebrate the “workaholic”. It’s like burning the midnight oil is a badge of honor. But it’s not. Wearing a lot of “hats”, working long hours, multi-tasking, and adding an endless amount of tasks to your to-do list doesn’t mean that you are getting more done.

In this episode of Shop Talk, I will share with you the productivity hacks that I’ve learned to use over the years that have helped me get more done in less time and still have an amazing personal life!

Here’s a snapshot of this episode:

  • 1:17 – Entrepreneurs are Delusional
  • 4:11 – A Productivity Challenge
  • 12:46 – 8 Productivity Hacks
  • 13:24 – Multi-Tasking is a Lie
  • 15:49 – Plan Your Success
  • 16:42 – Schedule Everything
  • 18:14 – Just Say “No”
  • 19:42 – Maintain Control
  • 22:06 – Keep Note Cards Handy
  • 24:28 – Lose the “if I only had _______________ excuse”
  • 26:56 – Work ON Your Business

Links mentioned in this episode:

Open The Full Transcript Here

Episode 6: Productivity Hacks for Busy Entrepreneurs

If you’re listening to this, you know, Entrepreneurs and small business owners juggle many things when running their businesses.

Unfortunately, the business culture seems to celebrate the “workaholic”. It’s like burning the midnight oil is a badge of honor. But it’s not. Wearing a lot of “hats”, working long hours, multi-tasking, and adding an endless amount of tasks to your to-do list doesn’t mean that you are getting more done.

In this episode of Shop Talk, I will share with you the productivity hacks that I’ve learned to use over the years that have helped me get more done in less time and still have an amazing personal life!

I want to start off today’s episode with a pretty bold statement (and that is) - I believe Entrepreneurs are delusional.

Hang on and bear with me for a moment.

We (Entrepreneurs) look at the world through a different lens than most. We are wired to see opportunity when others see problems. We are a “half glass full” kinda people. We believe in taking on risks in exchange for possibility. We also believe that we can do it all ourselves. I mean, we come by it honestly – it’s in our wiring!

A quick story…

Years ago, my husband was heading to work, and I ran to the car to try and catch him.

Me: “Hey, I’m going to paint the house today.”

Him: “Um, no you’re not.”

Me: “Yes, I am.”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Yes, I’ll have it done by the time you get home.”

He pulls out of the driveway. I head to the store to get paint.

Here’s the deal. I am delusional – and he knows it.

Here’s how delusional I can be…

It was already noon-ish

I had 4 kids to care for.

I still had to pick out, mix, buy, and unload a TON of paint.

I (literally) thought I could paint an entire 3,000-square-foot house (by myself) in less than 6 hours.

I am delusional. But (in my defense) I REALLY thought I could do it! I was convinced! But, the reality is, while I may be extremely hard-working, dedicated, focused, and believe in my goals – I am human.

And….I’m pretty sure you are too 🙂

I bring this up because I find that (as an Entrepreneur) we can set ourselves up for failure. We think we can do more than humanly possible. We try to do it all ourselves. And, it ends up costing us dearly.

So, I have a challenge for you…

A Productivity Challenge (actually)

There are just 3 steps in the challenge…and then I’ll dive into the productivity hacks I have to share that will help you get more done, in less time, so that you can feel amazing about the work you’ve accomplished and can take some time off to reward yourself!

And I know this can be accomplished because for the last several years, I’ve taken a 3-day weekend (sometimes even a 4-day extended weekend to hang with my hubby and travel) because I implemented the hacks I’m about to share with you.

And if you are listening to this and are working a full-time job and your coaching business is a side-hustle, that’s ok too! These hacks can be applied no matter where you are in building your business.

Ok, back to my 3 step challenge.


Take 5 business days to write down everything that you do in your business. Set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour. Once your alarm goes off, write down everything that you did for that hour.

For example, you may write down things like:

  • Checked and responded to emails
  • Created a new proposal
  • Posted new content on social media
  • Etc. - you get the point. The key is to make sure you write down everything that you completed in that hour.
  • Continue step 1 during the entire time that you’ve set aside to work on your business.


The next thing that I recommend that you do is take a few minutes to do the math on what you’re worth.

Let me explain…

Let’s say your goal is to earn $200,000 in gross revenue this year (gross revenue is the total amount that you earn before you pay expenses).

Let’s also say that you are planning on working (just) 40 hours a week x 52 weeks - that equals 2,080 hours.

I know you (most likely) work more than 40 hours a week if you are full-time in your business – and you’ll probably take a vacation here or there, but let’s just keep things simple.

If you take the $200,000 you want to earn and divide it by the 2,080 hours you work in a year, that equals $96 (and some change).

That means that your time is worth $96 an hour.

Please hear me loud and clear…

Any activity that can be done by someone (or something) else for less than $96 an hour is COSTING YOU YOUR GOALS.

If you can hire someone for $20 an hour to take some responsibilities off your plate – then you will have time to focus on the things that matter most in your business.

And just so you know, the things that matter most are the things to NO ONE BUT YOU can do in your business. 

Examples of things that only you can do may be things like:

  • Taking some time to create a plan to achieve your goals
  • Creating new online training programs
  • Delivering your programs/products/or services to customers (especially if you are a coach, consultants and/or professional service-based business)

The reality is – you can’t do everything. No one can! You are human, you only have 24 hours in a day, and you must get exceptionally good at managing your time and focusing on the things that will positively affect the bottom line in your business.

This leads me to…


After you have completed 5 days of tracking, take out a piece of paper and divide it into 3 parts.  

In column 1, write at the top “Things That ONLY I Can Do”.

In column 2, write at the top “Things I Can Delegate”.

And in column 3, write “Things I Can to Automate”.

Now, with your list of things that you’ve documented for the last 5 days write each thing that you completed in one of those 3 columns.

As you are working through your list, you may also identify time that was spent on things that aren’t going to serve your business in any way. Go ahead and cross those things off. You want to make sure to identify what (actually) needs to be completed in your business so that you can move the needle towards your goal and what items can be eliminated. The tasks that you complete each week should move into 1 of the 3 buckets that we talked about.

Things that ONLY you can do.

Things that you can delegate.

And things that you can automate using technology or tools.

When clients that I work with complete this challenge, there are (typically) a few things that they begin to realize, and you may too.

  • They realize that they find themselves wasting a lot of time “drifting” from one task to another because they don’t really have a plan to get things done.
  • They realize that they check their email way too much throughout the day and that ends up pulling them in a million different directions.
  • They realize that they use social media as a distraction to fill the “down time” in their schedule, and it ends up sucking them in for longer than expected.
  • They realize that their schedule is filled with many tasks that can actually be completed by someone else.
  • And (this is a big one) - they realize that the things that they should be focusing on are often left undone.

In my experience, I have found that there are 3 reasons why the most important things don’t get done.

  1. Many Entrepreneurs (actually, people in general) have sold themselves on the idea that they should “just get the easy things done first - to get them out of the way”. Have you ever said that? I know I have. The problem with filling your schedule with busy work is that it never seems to end, and it doesn’t move the needle in your business.
  2. The second reason why Entrepreneurs fill their schedules with busy work is that it’s more comfortable. Busy work is easy. Important tasks typically take a little more time, preparation and may even push us out of our comfort zone. The good news is that you are just one decision away from stoping the endless cycle of busy work and turning your attention towards the big things that will actually help you achieve your goals!
  3. And the third reason why Entrepreneurs fill their schedules with easy busy work is because they don’t have clear goals and a plan to achieve those goals; therefore, they “drift”. I don’t know about you, but this one hits hard! For years, I filled my schedule with a laundry list of “to-do’s” that kept me busy all the time. I actually walked around telling everyone, “I’m so busy, I’m so busy” - it was like I was a robot programmed to say that one phrase! I was overwhelmed all the time. And I was frustrated because I wasn’t making progress. I was just busy. I think there might be a few people listening to this that can totally relate.

So, here are the changes that I made - my “hacks” (if you will). When I implemented these things in my business within 9 months I went from 2 people in my business making about $250,000 a year (stressed and overwhelmed) to increasing my revenue 150% and hiring 12 additional people!

Now, that kind of growth also had some learning that came along with it (but, that’s an Episode for another day).

The point here is that with a few key changes in my business, I was able to make tremendous progress in a very short period of time.

I am confident that if you make these changes, you’ll experience a major shift as well!

Here’s what I did.

(8) Productivity Hacks

Hack #1

I stopped multi-tasking.

I don’t know where the mindset that being a multi-tasker means you can handle more things at once – but it’s simply not true.

There are MANY studies that show that multitasking reduces your ability to perform. Just Google “study of multitasking performance” to see the proof!

Another way to prove it to yourself is to complete this simple experiment.

Have someone time you writing the words “multi-tasking is a lie,” and once you’ve written those words, place a number under each letter (1,2,3, and so on). Then write down how long it took you to complete that task.

Next, complete the same thing – only this time multi-task by writing the letter then the number until you’ve written the same letters and numbers. 

You will be shocked at how much longer it takes for you to complete the same task!

That’s exactly what happens when you try to multi-task.

If you want to be more productive, stop trying to multi-task. Focus your efforts on the task until completed and then move to the next task.

Hack #2

I took the time to plan my success.

Brian Tracey says it best, “10 minutes in preparation will save you hours in execution”.

Most entrepreneurs are creative people. They (typically) fly by the seat of their pants, drifting from one task to the next, chasing shiny objects along the way.

If you want to achieve your goals and be more productive, you must take the time to plan what you want, how you are going to achieve it, and when the work will be done.

Simple concept – but most don’t do it.

If you need help in planning your success, I recommend you schedule a 3-Hour 1:1 Plan Your Success Virtual Workshop with one of our coaches (I’ll be sure to link to it in the show notes).

Hack #3

I schedule everything!

Have you ever noticed how tasks that have no deadline take longer to complete (if they get completed at all)?

I’ve seen many entrepreneurs put themselves out of business because they have sucked their business dry.

Every project you start takes time, money, and resources. When you start a project you don’t finish you spend time, money, and resources that you can’t get back – and worst of all, it didn’t even help your business!

Taking the time to plan if the first step to being more productive – the next step is to make sure that once you have a clear plan (blueprint) that you schedule when the work will be done.

A goal without a deadline is just a wish.

A strategy without execution is a waste of time, money, and resources.

And it will cost you your business if you’re not careful.

Listen, I know what it’s like to be responsible for most (or all) of the activities in a business. In order to fit everything in you must be diligent in scheduling everything!

Schedule your team meetings (and stick to the time frame).

Schedule your networking.

Schedule your sales calls.

Schedule your client meetings/work.

Schedule your lunch.

Schedule your marketing.

Heck, schedule when you check your email!

Head over to my show notes, and I’ll give you the time management calendar that I followed during the time I was really building my business (no opt-in required).

The key takeaway here is that you want to treat everything you schedule on your calendar as the most important appointment.

Clients are important.

Your team is important.

Eating is important.

Networking is important.

Marketing is important.

Sales are important.

…you get the point.

What most people do is that they “drift”.

They have no schedule. They open up their email first thing in the morning, and they let whatever/whoever is in their inbox determine what they do for the day.

Drifters don’t get things done.

Hack #4

I got really good at saying “no”.

Every time you say “yes” to something that is not previously scheduled on your calendar you are saying “no” to something else.

If you have a full schedule already and you say “yes” to another thing – then you need to remove something else.

Easy right? Sure, it’s easy to say “yes,” but be careful – is the thing you are saying “yes” to more important than the thing you are now saying “no” to?

For example…

“Yes,” I’d be happy to grab lunch with you.

Lunch takes an hour more than anticipated, so you don’t make sales calls that day.

“Yes,” I have a few minutes to chat (that turns into an hour-long conversation), so you don’t do your marketing that day.

You see, time is finite (meaning it HAS limits). Everyone gets the same amount of time in a day. It’s the equilibrium of life (and business).

If you’ve ever looked at someone else’s business and said, “how the heck do they get so much done”? Or, “why are they so much further ahead than me”? 

Most of the time, it’s (probably) because they protect their time by saying “no,” and they spend their time wisely and schedule the most important activities on their calendar.

Hack #5

I made sure I maintained control.

This one goes hand-in-hand with saying “no” more.

I used to be the Entrepreneur who dropped everything when a client needs them – which is a huge mistake!

Then I found a sign that put things into perspective for me. It said, “your lack of preparation does not make it my emergency”. This totally changed the way I operated (and reacted) to my business and life!

You see, many people are in a tailspin in their life (and business). They operate reactively because they are drifters.

Because they are reactive, they want the rest of the world to operate the same way.

But, YOU don’t HAVE to!!

You don’t have to answer your phone when you are at dinner with your family.

You don’t have to look at your email first thing in the morning so that it gets you chasing fires all day.

You don’t have to email clients back within 10 minutes of them emailing you.

You don’t have to respond to private Facebook messages after hours.

Being in control of your life, business and schedule is a CHOICE.

If you are reading this and feeling some mental pushback on this I would challenge you to “get real” with yourself. Are you rationalizing your need to “drop” everything all the time so that it gives you an excuse to live a chaotic life and business yourself?

Take a moment to reflect on that.

I share this because I have done this….

My hope is that if you are thinking this way you come to the realization that you ARE in control. You deserve to protect your sanity. And you don’t have to be reactive because others choose to operate from this space.

The reward – you are able to stay focused on the things that you have scheduled to complete that will help you reach your goals.

Hack #6

I keep note cards handy all the time. I have them in my office, next to my bed, in my car, kitchen, and even the bathroom (gross, I know - but you never know when inspiration will strike!).

You see, I believe Entrepreneurs are cursed.

(We) are cursed with the “entrepreneurial mind”. 

The “entrepreneur mind” is a blessing and a curse.

It’s a blessing because it is the very reason we are in business. 

But, it’s also a curse because we can’t help but see opportunity everywhere! It’s how we are wired. 

This becomes a problem when we find ourselves spending more time dreaming than we do DOING. Or chasing “shiny objects” that get us off focus.

By keeping note cards handy, you can write down all the creative ideas that would normally send you on a tangent.

I find that most clients LOVE this….

They are initially worried that if they don’t chase that random opportunity RIGHT NOW that they will lose out on it.

I recommend that every time you have an idea or opportunity that comes along:

  1. Take a moment to write it on one card. Don’t chase or pursue that opportunity right away. Instead, store your note cards for 30-days. 
  2. Then, at the end of each month, take 30 minutes to review the ideas/opportunities that you wrote on your cards.
  3. Sort them into 2 piles:
    • No longer a “good” opportunity / lost interest.
    • And an “I’d like to pursuit” pile.
  4. Then in the “I’d like to pursuit” pile, choose (1) thing that you feel you should pursue AND implement in the next 30 days.
  5. Lastly, schedule some time in your calendar in the next 30-days to pursue AND implement that opportunity.

Continue to do this each month; you’ll be shocked at the time that you save by NOT starting a bunch of projects that you never follow through with!

Hack #7

I decided that I was going to lose the “if I only had a (fill-in-the-blank) excuse.

I would say…

If I only had someone to help me.

If I only had more money to invest in advertising.

If I only had a team.

You get the point…

Here’s what I realized. There are tons of businesses that started just like you and me – as a solopreneur wearing all the “hats,” with limited funding and (what seems like) never enough time.

As I stated previously, the equilibrium in life for all of us is time. Successful entrepreneurs manage their time wisely, focusing on the MOST IMPORTANT activities FIRST so that they can grow.

Growth leads to more money, more resources, and more opportunities to get others to help you.

If you think that getting more people is the solution to all your challenges, you are mistaken! 

While acquiring a team might help with some of the responsibilities, it also brings new challenges that will require your time and attention as well.

Bottom line, you must start where you are with the time, money, and resources you have.

If you are the only resource, you have then cut out the “fluff” and manage your time wisely.

If you can get an intern – get one.

If you can hire someone part-time – do it.

If you have kids – put them to work! I’ve been in business my entire life – my kids have definitely paid their dues in our family businesses over the years…..and trust me, they didn’t always get paid to do it.

The lesson here is to be aware of your thinking. 

Do you find yourself using the “if I only had a……” excuse to not stay focused? 

If so, change that sentence to, “what do I have that I can leverage creatively to get the job done”?

And Hack #8 ( I saved the best for last)

This is the hack that (literally) changed everything! I blocked 1 day a week to work ON my business instead of IN my business.

Working IN my business is doing things like client meetings, sales, and returning emails. Etc. All the things that keep us (and our business) moving along and fulfilling on our obligations and promises.

Working ON my business was setting time aside to set goals, create a plan to achieve them, work on my marketing and content creation, develop new programs, and document our processes so that we could scale and grow.

In the beginning, I personally set aside Fridays to work ON my business. I still scheduled everything that I was going to work on that day, but Fridays were off-limits to my clients and team.

I’m not going to lie. In the beginning, I felt like I was playing “hooky” in my business. I was tempted to check my email several times. I was expecting my team to Slack me with “fires” that needed to be addressed. I was actually looking for problems that I needed to solve so that I felt like I was working.

The thing is, I didn’t let myself fall trap to that behavior, though.

I didn’t let clients schedule calls with my on Fridays.

I told the team that I was not available on Fridays.

I checked my email 2 times a day (as scheduled on my calendar) only to send canned responses that said something like, “I received your message and will get back to you on Monday”.

I gave myself permission to focus and work ON my business, and I treated it like it was one of the most important appointments on my calendar - because it was!

You see, if you don’t give yourself time to work on your business, you will not grow. It’s just a simple truth (that took me years to understand).

I felt like I was playing “hooky” because I was so used to the chaos that I created for myself all week. But, when I worked ON my business, I found joy in my business again. I love what I do, but it can be overwhelming at times. 

I think (for me) frustration sets in when my schedule is full of busy work. I need space to move the needle in my business, not just tread water.

Fridays were the day I gave myself permission to grow the business, and it worked! The bonus gift that I gave myself in the process was clarity that led to confidence which led to me being constantly energized in my business.

Before I gave myself the space (and permission), I was in a never-ending cycle of busywork that had me frustrated and overwhelmed and eventually led to burnout.

Today, I work 3 - 4 days a week for the most part so that I can travel and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Sometimes, I get fired up about a new project in the business, and I’ll CHOOSE to work 5 days a week. But, it’s a CHOICE that I make. Not something that I HAVE to do.

There’s so much freedom in that!

Ok, so let’s wrap this up.

As you’ve probably gathered, being more productive is a result of adopting habits of discipline. You have to be willing to change the way you think about your work and priorities. I hope that these productivity hacks help you as much as they’ve helped me over the years.

If there’s anything I’ve shared here today that helps you in any way, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email at misty@yourmarketingcoachonline.com or drop a message on social media.

Your Success Matters

And, one last thing…

There are so many Entrepreneurs out there living quiet lives of desperation. Overwhelmed, frustrated, and contemplating giving up on their dreams.

Do me a favor and share this Episode with them.

There’s no reason why any Entrepreneur should feel alone in their entrepreneurial journey. Let’s lift each other up.


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