Give Your Time-Sucking Ways the Heave-Ho

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As a business owner, you have creative control over how you structure your days, a major perk of entrepreneurship. But this can also wreck you if bad habits keep you sailing in circles. The solution? Make like a pirate and plunder these common productivity sinkholes:

1. Negative Self-Talk

When you give in to glass-half-full messages, you sabotage your business efforts and become your own worst enemy. Banish self-doubt by rewiring how you think about situations, especially thorny ones. Your brain is configured to respond to positive self-talk, so if you believe you can work through a task, you will rise to the occasion and usually with less anguish than if you beat yourself up along the way. (Pirate skill: Stealth)

2. Excessive Advice from Others

The vast interweb offers no shortage of information on any given topic and access to a wide variety of experts. Because this is literally at your fingertips it’s easy to fall under its seductive spell. Here’s the thing: Constantly searching for answers outside of yourself is a time suck! What’s worse, you also lose the ability to hone in on your innate creativity. Trust that you have the answers. (Pirate skill: Wisdom)

3. Acting Like a Cat

Just as shiny objects instantly capture the attention of your kitty, when you react the same way to the beep of your new email or Facebook notification you’re more likely to choke on a fur ball than get anything done. Just sayin’. (Pirate skill: Focus)

4. Eating Bon Bons Instead of the Frog

Crossing a lot of small, easy things off of your list often doesn’t add up to much. According to productivity expert Brian Tracy, if you want to be successful in business, you need to get up each morning and eat your biggest, ugliest frog. The proverbial frog is your toughest task—the thing that gets you closer to your biggest business goal. The sense of accomplishment and mastery you feel by doing this on a regular basis will propel you forward and inspire confidence. (Pirate skill: Stamina)

5. A “More Is Better” Mindset

Thinking you need to be putting in 8, 10, 12 hours a day lest you seem ambivalent about the growth of your business is bunk. If you believe you need to put in 12 hours, you’ll merely take longer to accomplish all you need to get done. Try this: For one week, give yourself 4 hours of very focused time each day to get big tasks done. You’ll be amazed at the outcome. (Pirate skill: Speed)

Using these pirate skills to master productivity will chart your course on the high seas. (Eyepatch and parrot are optional.)

Bermuda Triangle illustration from

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