You wake up, check your phone, and before you know it, you are flying down a rabbit hole of endless email replies. Then noon arrives, and all you have done is engage in comment battles on Facebook and check your Twitter several times.

The feeling of not getting anything done lingers. It stings, it really does. And when you allow that feeling to persist, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and even depression.

Action and productivity lie at the core of every successful business. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you will endure lots of failures, but you can overcome disappointment by implementing the following strategies on a consistent basis.

1. Plan Your Day

It’s been said by everyone and anyone, and as cliche, as it is, failing to plan is planning to fail. Planning doesn’t entail accounting for every second you are awake. That leads to burnout and it isn’t realistic.

Instead, follow a few proven principles when planning your day:

A. Do the hard things first: In particular, the tasks that require extra mental energy, brain power, and focus.

B. Set short deadlines: Under 4 hours per task tends to work best for me. For instance – write 500 words in 30 minutes or finish a proposal in 2 hours. Even if the task normally takes longer than what you allocate, you will accomplish more than you would without a deadline. Do the same for your team members, especially if they are working remotely.

2. Minimize Distractions

We all know that cell phones and the internet have all but eviscerated our attention spans. Three things will help you ensure that you won’t get distracted by unimportant things: Put your phone on airplane mode: Ever notice how you can read an entire book on a flight. No, it’s not because airplanes have a magical productivity field.

A. Put your phone on airplane mode: Ever notice how you can read an entire book on a flight. No, it’s not because airplanes have a magical productivity field.

This trick alone can be attributed to a drastic increase in productivity. Try it out, even if you start with an hour.

B. Deleting nearly all apps from your phone: An argument can be made for keeping every app, but ask yourself if you need every app on your phone. You can check your bank account and respond to your Facebook messages from your laptop.

C. Setting aside times for social media and texting – try using a 15-minute block of time at lunch.

3. Use Rewards

Science backs this – incentives motivate us. Without rewards, you will lose momentum and want to give up as soon as you face resistance.

If you are addicted to lattes, you can reward yourself with a latte at lunch after your finish the difficult tasks for the morning. See how these rules work together?

4. Track Your Progress

Not with complicated spreadsheets and formulas. Keep it simple by adding two sections to your daily planner: what you did well and what you want to improve.

At the end of your day, take a few minutes to list two or three items in each of these sections, and over time observe what areas you consistently falter in. Rinse, repeat and you will start to notice substantial gains in terms of productivity.

5. Create Habits

Each of the above rules must become a habit, otherwise, you will find yourself abandoning ship.

The only way to create a habit is to mercilessly force yourself to do something for 30 days in a row. When you face resistance, which you undoubtedly will force yourself to do it anyway. There is no way around it.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix or silly acronym for you to accomplish what you want, but you will achieve your goals if you follow the rules above.

Hopefully, this will inspire a few ambitious people to achieve what they want without having to resort to complicated tactics or strategies.

Nick Sonnenberg
A serial entrepreneur with a passion for creating companies that disrupt the way people live. Nick is the co-founder of Leverage and the former CEO of CalvinApp. In addition to his professional interests, Nick is an avid chess player, traveler, and athlete.

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