As an entrepreneur, it can be a breath of fresh air when your schedule, workload, and everything you do during the day is completely up to you. You can work in your pajamas if you want and bring a laptop right into your bed to work. You can set your own hours and take as many breaks as needed. However, this can also start a bad habit of doing less work than you should be doing. Being productive when you don’t have someone to answer to is a lot harder than it looks. If you find yourself slacking a bit, the following productivity hacks will be useful.

1. Exercise Regularly

Believe it or not, exercising is one of the best things you can do when you want to be more productive. Starting your day off with a walk or a quick run to the gym can get your blood pumping and your energy going. It not only increases your energy for that day, but the healthier body will also improve your productivity over time.

2. Become More Organized

Many people find that they are losing some of their productivity because they aren’t very organized. Your workspace, whether it is your own office, a desk in your bedroom, or your dining room table, should be clean and orderly. If you are constantly having to move things around to get to the keyword or mouse, and shift through paperwork to find the notes you wrote down, you aren’t going to get much done in the long run.

3. Work at Unconventional Times

Working for yourself doesn’t always mean keeping regular working hours. If you have a bit of an erratic schedule, then you need to be creative with when you are able to work. If you have an infant at home, work when he or she is sleeping or during tummy time, if you spend a lot of time commuting, then turn on a recording app on your phone, set it down on the seat next to you, and talk into it. This might become your way of brainstorming while on the road. Then whenever you are waiting in the car while it is parked, get out your tablet and start working.

4. Use Timers

Timers are one of the best tools to have when you need better productivity. They can do a few different things for you. For one thing, you can set the timers so that you are working on a particular project with no breaks for a certain period of time, then you allow yourself a break. Another way is to use a stopwatch that lets you see how much each task takes. This is not only enlightening for the future, but it really pushes you to get stuff done when you know you are timing yourself.

5. Use a Schedule, Not a To-Do List

This is a really hard habit to break because everyone wants to use a to-do list. However, when you just have a list to go by, you might think you can get it all done later in the day, so you wait too long to get started. Then you get tired, don’t finish your list, and have twice as much to do tomorrow. Instead of a standard to-do list, switch to a schedule of tasks to do during the day, and at certain times of the day.

6. Work in Blocks

If you find it hard to know when to take a break and when to work, try the 90/10 work and break interval schedule. This requires you to work for 90 minutes, then take 10 minutes off. Continue doing this throughout the day, taking a longer break for lunch. It should allow you to get enough done during the day, but to also get sufficient breaks.

7. Tell People No

When you work from home, people tend to think you can change your schedule whenever you want and just stop what you’re doing. Make sure others know that your at-home schedule is just as strict as if you were going to the office to work. Get in the practice of saying no when someone invites you for lunch if you don’t have the time or wants help with something during a busy workday.

8. Start a Daily Routine

While being an entrepreneur gives you the freedom to do what you want, having a routine is much better for your productivity. Try doing the same thing at the same time every day, including when you wake up and go to sleep, your lunchtime, and when your workout is.

9. Get Plenty of Sleep

You need to take good care of yourself if you want to be productive, which includes getting enough sleep. Make sure you are giving yourself adequate time to rest at night instead of losing sleep over stress.

10. Turn Off All Alerts

If you have alerts on your phone or computer, turn them all off when you are trying to work. They are a constant distraction that breaks you from what you are trying to get done.

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