When it comes to productivity, do you ever feel like the universe is conspiring against you? If you answered yes, you're not alone.
As an entrepreneur, you must stay productive to succeed, but there are thousands of tasks vying for your attention each day. The struggle to balance immediate to-dos with important, big picture thinking isn't unusual.
One of the best ways to improve your output is to take productivity tips from experienced leaders. Learn from other's mistakes and triumphs and you won't have to reinvent the wheel.
Read on for our list of 11 ways to boost your productivity as a small business owner. You'll be amazed to find out how a few simple adjustments can transform your workday.
1. Commit to a Routine
If you haven't established a daily routine yet, now is the time to start. Understanding the flow of your day is the key to making other business productivity adjustments.
If you always begin and end work at the same time, your brain and body will adapt to the different segments of your day. You will become more effective at your job during work hours, and better able to relax when you're finished.
Your work routine should also include checking emails, taking breaks, and anything else you need to do regularly. Most people prefer to focus on challenging tasks early in the day, when they feel energetic and refreshed after a restful night of sleep.
2. Practice Smart Scheduling
Schedule everything, not just meetings and phone calls. Break your day down into half-hour or hour-long blocks, then fill each one with a single task.
No task is too large or too small for scheduling. Scrolling through social media, checking in with team members, and setting goals for the coming year should all have a spot on your calendar. Decide how much time you should devote to each task and stick to the plan.
Our culture often celebrates multitasking, but the truth is it doesn't work. Studies have shown that trying to do more than one thing at a time actually slows us down. Scheduling improves focus and prevents individual to-dos from absorbing more of our time and energy than they should.
You can use tools like Google Calendar, Calendly, or a good old-fashioned planner to manage your time.
3. Prioritize Relentlessly
Learning how to prioritize is like productivity gold for entrepreneurs. Even with careful planning, things change constantly in a small business environment. Leaders need to make quick decisions about how to allocate resources.
It can be helpful to prioritize on multiple levels – annually, monthly, weekly, and daily. Set aside time to decide what should happen now, soon, and much later. Get comfortable with saying no to opportunities that don't make the cut.
Protect your own time and energy by only taking on what you can't delegate to someone else. Lower priority tasks can be handled by your team. Reflect on your choices every day and adjust accordingly.
4. Divide Large Projects Into Small Steps
It's easy to put off what you can't accomplish today. To avoid procrastinating over large projects for months or even years, break them down into a series of smaller steps.
Maybe you want to launch a new brand partnership, but you're feeling overwhelmed. Start by sending an email, sketching your idea, or putting together a rough budget. If you take a few small steps forward every week, you'll end up being more productive.
5. Take Advantage of Technology
Productivity tools have revolutionized the way small businesses function. You should definitely be using them to support and coordinate with your team. Apps like Slack and Asana make task management and communication easy to handle from anywhere.
Technology also offers endless opportunities to automate and outsource tasks. External solutions are great for online transactions, website design, and SEO services.
As a leader, make sure you have access to the best equipment possible. You shouldn't have to spend time worrying about your laptop, smartphone, or Wi-Fi connection.
6. Jot Down Ideas in a Journal
If you run a business, you're probably an idea person. Being a visionary means you have so much potential to change the world, but getting lost in your own head can tank productivity.
Designate a place to jot down your thoughts so you don't waste precious energy trying to remember them. Schedule time to review your notes and prioritize new ideas.
7. Eliminate Time Wasters
Time wasters are everywhere, and some of them are even enjoyable. For example, maybe you love posting on your company's Instagram account. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's probably not the best use of your time.
Office chatter, unimportant emails, and unnecessary meetings are all-time wasters disguised as productivity.
Do your best to get rid of distractions and hand off administrative tasks. Some CEOs swear by going offline for stretches of time to strategize and think about the big picture.
8. Hire a Flexible Team
Your team exists to support you, so notice what's impeding your productivity and assign it to someone else. Hiring an assistant can be well worth the cost if it creates more space for you to think and lead. Delegate to your team first thing, so they're not left waiting for you.
When you hire staff members, look for flexible individuals. It's a pleasure to work with people who are humble enough to get the printer fixed or pick up lunch for a client if it's for the good of the company.
9. Put Processes in Place
Streamlining processes within your business will do wonders for your productivity. If employees understand what needs to happen and how they won't need to interrupt you with questions. Make sure your instructions are precise.
Staff members are happy and efficient when they know what is expected of them.
10. Practice Self-Care
Burnout is a common complaint among founders. Taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally will help prepare you for workplace productivity.
Do your best to find a work-life balance that includes healthy eating, sleep, exercise, and time with friends and family. Simple stretching can relieve stress and improve mental clarity.
When you succeed, celebrate independently and with your team. Giving accomplishments the attention they deserve keeps people motivated to keep going.
11. Consult With an Expert
Sometimes it can be hard to notice and acknowledge your own shortcomings. If you are still struggling with how to be more productive, consider seeking outside support.
Business coaching experts will notice things you don't. They can provide business productivity tips to simplify your routine. They will also help you incorporate time-saving techniques into your day.
Follow These Productivity Tips for Success
There are so many obstacles to productivity for business owners, and every day presents new challenges. Hopefully, these productivity tips will make your time at work more balanced and fruitful.
If you are looking for expert advice, contact us today to learn about our business coaching services.