We know that as a young entrepreneur, you want to be as productive as possible. You’ve got a lot on your plate! You’re a student, a child, possibly a sibling, a friend, an athlete, a volunteer, and a busqiness owner. And we know that you want to do all the things and do them well. To avoid burning out, we have some productivity hacks that can help you work more efficiently.
SCHEDULE AND PRIORITIZE
Having a schedule means knowing what needs to happen and when. Learning how to prioritize means you’re aware of your most urgent tasks.
Scheduling and prioritizing help keep you on track. We know how easy it can be to space out or procrastinate. But if today is Wednesday and you know you have a paper due next Monday, and you also know that you have a weekend packed with family activities and friends’ parties, then you know you need to get that paper done no later than this Friday.
Find a scheduling app that works for you and do your best to stick to it.
Yes! This may seem counterintuitive. Movement drains your energy, right? It can, yes. But if you get used to it, it can actually help boost your energy in the long run. You don’t need to run 10 miles or lift heavy dumbbells to get the benefits of physical activity. A brisk walk around the block will work wonders, especially with all that fresh air. Or stretch for 5 minutes. Focus on quality over quantity. Get those endorphins going, recharge your brain, and let the extra intake of oxygen push you to the finish line!
What do you need to accomplish today? What would be nice to accomplish? What is your goal for the school year?
Keeping track of your goals helps you accomplish them. Instead of thinking, “I’d like to do well in school this year,” write down a more specific goal. “I’d like to increase my GPA by .5 this year.” Now, you have something to work towards. You can measure your progress in a solid, definitive way.
DO THE HARD THING FIRST
Instead of saving the worst for last, get it done and out of the way. Don’t give yourself the chance to procrastinate. Don’t let it slip by unfinished. Do the hard stuff first, and the rest will seem like smooth sailing.
When your phone’s on low battery, what do you do? Plug it in, right?
Your mind and body also need to be “plugged in” every day. Practicing good sleep hygiene in the evenings helps you sleep better. Better sleep means a more focused and productive young entrepreneur the next day.
Similarly, eating foods high in nutrition can recharge you, too. This doesn’t mean never treating yourself, but try to focus on foods that make you feel good beyond flavor. Fruits and veggies for vitamins and minerals that make your brain and body super strong. Lean protein for energy and strength. Whole wheat and grains for all-day power and good digestion.
Being with family and friends can also recharge you. Just letting go of school, work, and other obligations can give you the break you need to come back to everything with renewed energy.
GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS
Improved productivity comes from being able to focus. And focus means eliminating distractions as much as possible. Are you on a group text that pings your phone all evening long? Set your phone to silent (or better yet, turn it off) while you do homework. Live in a noisy house? Try studying at your school or local library.
We promise the world won’t end if you sequester yourself away for an hour or so!
It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to say no when you’re overwhelmed. It’s ok to ask questions for clarity and to be assertive when you know you’re right. Stand up for yourself. Make your needs known. Set boundaries and make sure people respect them.
When you’re pulled in too many directions at once, productivity decreases. You can’t do a million things and expect to do them all well! We know that it’s tempting for high-achieving college-bound teens like you to want to pack your college applications with the most activities you can. But saying no is a life skill. It’s not a sign of weakness or laziness. It’s self-care. And good self-care leads to a more productive you.
One of the best ways to make yourself more productive is through a reward system. Nothing will get you focused and on-task like the thought of a treat when you’re done! The reward should be healthy, or at least not terrible for you. A small cup of ice cream. Twenty minutes on YouTube. A text break with your bff. Snuggle time with your dog.
Hard work should be its own reward, but sometimes you need an actual thing. Set up a system of small but tangible rewards for yourself when you complete especially long or challenging projects and tasks.
KEEP A JOURNAL
Before bed, write down some of your best accomplishments from the day. They can be as small and simple as making it to school early, or as big and fantastic as getting into the college of your dreams.
Remembering what you’ve done helps your brain see that you’re productive. You’ll want more of this. Soon, noticing accomplishments throughout your day will come naturally to you. You’ll feel good and you’ll see how well you’re actually doing every day!
Productivity is important for young entrepreneurs. And while it can be overwhelming learning how to juggle all your tasks, it’s a life skill you’ll take with you to college and beyond. Prioritizing, efficiency, focus, and follow-through are all qualities of good leaders. These productivity hacks are meant to help you work smarter, not harder. Do the best you can, and you’ll find the rest of your life seems to fall into place.
The Kantner Foundation is proud to offer college scholarships to Florida’s high school entrepreneurs. To learn more about our program, and to start your application, click here.