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7 life hacks for entrepreneurs: from organizing a to-do list to engaging employees

Most likely, you have a to — do list-in a Notepad or organizer, in notes on your phone, or just in your head. Does it happen that some tasks go from list to list for several months, but the hands do not reach their completion? They hang like a dead weight, hinting at your unproductivity and laziness. It is easier to get rid of such tasks and reduce the to-do list than it seems.
Set a deadline for each task in the list. This is the easiest way to turn a to-do list into a schedule and a clear plan of what to do and when to do it.
For example, if you are creating a commercial offer for a large client, specify the date when you will send it. By this time, you must not only make a commercial offer, but also take into account the time it takes for the designer/assistant/freelancer to complete it. Accordingly, the issue will have several more deadlines:

1-when you give your sketches to the designer,
2-when the designer sends the finished version,
3-when you send the designer edits,
4-get the final version of the commercial offer and send it to the client.
Now, instead of one blurry task from the list, you have a developed plan with clear deadlines that you will move on.

If you work in a team, it is important that each member of it sees the tasks and deadlines of colleagues. Task tracker services like Trello and Planfix help you do this. In extreme cases, the team task tracker can also be compiled in an Excel table or Google Sheets.

The main advantage of setting deadlines for all work (and not only) cases is to reduce 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 it according to the situation.

2. Improve your critical thinking
Many entrepreneurs sin by making the first decision that comes to mind. In the rush and rush, they don’t take the time to evaluate the problem from all sides. But not always the first proposed solution is the best. Critical thinking skills will help you protect yourself from mistakes.
There are several ways to sharpen your mind to critically evaluate your decisions and not “kick the bucket”.
First, question any of your assumptions and decisions. 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 any market research on this issue and what did they say?”

Secondly, turn on the logic. Evaluate how obvious are the arguments in favor of a particular conclusion in order to make an informed decision based on them? Are the arguments “behind” supported by real numbers or statistics?
Finally, try to find a fresh or non-standard way to solve the problem. No matter how tempting it may be to rely only on your immediate environment for answers to business questions, you will never get a fresh look at the problem if everyone around you thinks the same way you do. Get out of the bubble and ask different people to question your decision.

3. Stop remembering mistakes
How often do you remember your failures or mistakes in business? If you fixate on negative experiences, your level of anxiety and anxiety increases, and you lose the ability to make strong-willed decisions. There are several ways to deal with Intrusive unpleasant memories.
Remember what makes you doubt yourself or your decisions? Is it possible that you suddenly feel insecure about yourself and your abilities when communicating with certain people or while working on a project or task? Keep track of when (and most importantly, why) you start to re-think the same mistake or failure.

When you notice that you are once again Recalling the wrong decision that caused you to lose money/a client/get into a difficult situation, think about it from a different angle. Instead of saying to yourself, ” I’m incompetent, “say,” I feel incompetent.” In this way, you go from asserting to articulating a feeling. And feelings and reality often have nothing in common.
Finally, no one has repealed the easiest way to get distracted. If your thoughts are still spinning around a failure from the past, take a walk, meditate, or start filling out your income and expense report — do simple, pleasant (or not so nice) things so that your brain can focus on something else.

4. Listen more and not talk
If you have employees, you probably talk a lot — explain, persuade, set tasks, instruct, give instructions, report. The Manager has a lot of reasons to Express his thoughts.
On the one hand, it is important to convey to employees, partners, and colleagues what you want them to do. But at the same time, constantly speaking out, you may not notice how you will begin to dominate every conversation, leaving the interlocutors (usually subordinates) no chance to be heard.

Start looking after yourself in conversations. For example, if someone raises a hot topic or asks a question at a meeting, ask your colleagues to be the first to Express their opinion. Even if you already have a ready-made solution, don’t talk about it until at least a couple of people have made their suggestions. In this case, employees will be involved in the problem-solving process and will feel that their opinions are important and their contribution to the cause is worth something.
Aerobatics-create regular one-on-one meetings with key employees to give them the opportunity to Express their ideas and suggestions. In these meetings, ask subordinates about their desires, needs, and concerns, and listen. You will be surprised how much you learn about your business and employees without saying anything.

5. Follow the four basic rules of meetings
Most meetings are a waste of time. They eat up time, turn into a farce and do not bring obvious results. It is not necessary to have knowledge of nuclear physics in order to conduct meetings productively. You just need to follow the basics.

First, when planning a meeting, define the goal. It will allow you to draft a subpoena.

Second, decide who exactly should participate in the discussion of a particular issue. If certain employees should be aware of the meeting, but they do not have to attend it in person, let them know about the upcoming meeting and tell them about the decisions made at it.

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

Fourth — don’t forget to sum up after the discussion and reflect a little. Answer the question: “Did all the participants really take part in the meeting? Did something distract from the main goal and agenda?”

6. Involve employees in achieving the goal
To make your employees feel committed to the business goal, simple motivational and uplifting speeches about the company’s mission are often not enough. Moreover, overly pretentious and insincere speech about the highest business goal from your mouth can have the opposite effect and cause cynicism in employees.
To inspire and engage your subordinates, remember two things.
First, think about how to show employees the contribution and impact of their work for the good of the business. You can tell your team that their work is important as many times as you want, but how do you make them feel it? Perhaps you should bring a customer and ask them to tell their employees their feedback or give the team a little tour “in the fields”. For example, take a tour for office employees in production or, conversely, bring employees from production to a store where they would see real customers buying the product they create.

Secondly, sincerity is important. If your attempts to motivate and engage employees go against your normal 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-time promotion, this will let employees know that you are serious.

7. Learn positive feedback
Most managers focus only on negative feedback about the business or product, not paying attention to 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 can store the praise you receive from emails, complaint books, and suggestions over the phone. From time to time, take the time to review all the Acknowledgements and positive feedback and think about them. Ask yourself: “What is most often praised? How can I use my strengths in other areas and directions?”
There is no need to be modest and dismiss thanks. Think of someone as pointing out strengths that you might not have known you had. Use this for growth and development.

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