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SQUIRREL! An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Staying Productive

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An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Staying Productive


If you’re like SPOT, you love the Pixar movie UP! For those who haven’t seen it, one of the heroes is a dog named Doug who has a special collar, which translates his thoughts into words. Many times throughout the movie, Doug will be in mid sentence and simply blurt out “Squirrel!” and stare briefly at some off screen rodent before coming back to his thought. Entrepreneurs can easily find themselves in the same situation but instead of squirrels they become easily distracted by some new technology, social network or sales technique being sold to them by the unending stream of information sources available today. So how does one make these distractions become irrelevant?

The solutions can be as unique as the user. Kevin Costner once played a pitcher in the film For the Love of the Game that before every pitch he would say to himself, “Clear the mechanism.”  This phrase created a Pavlovian response that allowed him to tune out heckling fans, internal fears, even the look on the batter’s face so that he could do one thing, pitch a perfect strike. We suggest to our clients a slightly different, yet no less Pavlovian, foundational approach.

Develop a Plan
The foundation for productivity starts with creating a routine with enough flexibility to adapt to your daily needs. We don’t advocate rigid schedules that make you feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day but you should be able to allocate blocks of time to a specific purpose each day. Below is an example of how you can set up one or several days each week. We recommend that each day have a slightly different schedule to avoid monotony at the very least, but you should base your plan on your needs.

9 – 10am: Read and Respond to emails/phone calls

10 – 11am: Read industry news

11am – 12pm: Meetings / project time

12 – 1pm: Lunch

1– 2pm: Read and Respond to emails/phone calls

2 – 4:30pm: Meetings / project time

4:30 – 5pm: Status updates to clients

5 – 5:30pm: Prep for next business day

Obviously, these blocks will grow and shrink each day as the demands of your business and customers dictate, but it will give you some confidence in being able to focus your attention during each part of your day. It is also worth noting that a break in the middle of the day for lunch is vital to keeping your motivation and creativity going. That means, don’t eat at your desk. Go somewhere and read. Go to the deli or even just another part of the office to eat. The change in scenery will help you recharge your mental batteries and better equip you for the rest of your day. We’ll be honest, it’s not easy to stick to when you first start but it is definitely worth the effort in the long run. It’s how we operate at SEE SPOT Marketing and it works pretty well for us.

Secondly, entrepreneurs should find a method of organizing and prioritizing projects and information. Many different tools exist from smartphone apps to cloud resources to the tried and true pad and paper method. If like us, you believe you should outsource any task that doesn’t directly drive revenue, then the fastest way to determine the best solution for your situation is to consult a business productivity expert. One such expert is Athenée Mastrangelo, CEO of iDesk:Academy and A Board Certified Professional Organizer® and Certified Productive Environment Specialist™, she has been consulting with clients to evaluate their needs and craft specific game plans to increase productivity and focus for over 10 years.

We highly recommend her services and suggest you give her a call if you need assistance getting yourself or your business organized. In future entries, we’ll discuss a wide variety of ideas to grow your business, bring more balance to your work life and help you not only reach your Big but enjoy the journey. Ready to focus on your own Big? Click to send us a note and one of our strategists will be happy to follow up with you.

Image by Kamil Porembiński via Flickr.

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