Hacks to boost small business productivityStuart Taverner
Small business productivity is challenging. Making sure each workday is productive is essential to move your business forward, especially when on most days, the clock strikes 5pm and you’re not even halfway through your to-do list.
No matter how hard you push yourself to get the job done, you can never get on top of everything. To help you get more of the things that are important to your business over the line, we’ve compiled four hacks to make your small business more productive.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Productivity starts well before you head to work. It may seem obvious, but not only do many people fail to eat a proper breakfast, some even skip breakfast altogether. How can you expect to work at your best if you don’t give your body and brain the fuel needed to work?
Skipping breakfast has been linked with obesity, increased risk of heart disease, and increased risk of diabetes in men and women. On the flip side, eating breakfast improves brain function. So, what should I eat? Good Food has an excellent list of breakfast ideas that are both tasty and nutritious.
Improving your breakfast routine may mean getting up a little earlier or even planning ahead. Though it seems excessive, it will more than pay off in extra energy. You will also find your concentration and stamina increases, keeping you going throughout the working day.
Plan out your day
According to professional development expert, Brian Tracy, every minute you spend planning can save you 10 minutes later in the day. It may seem counterproductive to use precious time planning your work, but it pays off in the long run.
Think about the six-P formula: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Knowing what to prioritise and when you should work on it, is a crucial step to improving your productivity. Some pointers to help you plan:
- Schedule meetings, appointments and tasks a week in advance.
- Check the following day’s calendar at the end of each working day and make a plan to address all priorities.
- Review each day’s performance. If you often can’t achieve everything on your list, you are probably scheduling too much.
- A six-task list (see below).
Your six-task list
Putting together a to-do list to help you organise your daily tasks is a fantastic method of increasing small business productivity. Importantly, only list the top 6 tasks you must complete that day. Once you have identified those tasks, prioritise each one by numbering from 1 to 6, with 1 being most vital.
Work your way through those tasks and if anything comes up, add it to the list and re-order depending on priority. This is a concrete method of ensuring you complete the most important tasks of your day and hitting key business dates.
There are two key pointers that can help you plan your day:
Everything goes in the calendar
Leaving nothing out of your calendar – schedule everything – sounds a little intense, but it is an effective way to increase your small business productivity. Rather than scheduling an hour for a meeting, include time for travel, typing up your notes and following up actions; this way, none of these things will blow out your plans when you inevitably do have to do them.
Lock down specific times for email
Every email you check throughout the day, distracts you from your work and makes it that much harder to return your focus. Instead, pick just one or two times during the day to check and respond to your email. If you can, reply to emails straight away or add them to follow up tasks in your calendar.
Set & stick to deadlines
It’s much easier to complete a task or project when there’s a set deadline. Setting deadlines, especially firm ones, can increase small business productivity and help you to finish tasks on time. Consider setting deadlines for all your projects and regular deadlines – weekly or monthly – for recurring tasks, such as finances or scheduling social media posts.
By following these simple tips, you will get more out of your working day, improve your small business productivity, and get your workload under control.
Block out any distractions
Perhaps the most important hack in this list: block out distractions. Your mobile phone, colleagues, internal messages, and emails are all red flags that end up keeping you away from work.
Find a way to keep focused. Wear headphones, silence notifications on your mobile, and ask colleagues to schedule a time to talk with you if they require a lengthy discussion. Also, if you have an open office, come up with a ‘Do not disturb’ signal to minimise office chat.
There’s a limit to the amount your brain can take before it begins to lose focus. Small business productivity doesn’t involve constant, relentless work. When your screen starts to look fuzzy, or your concentration noticeably drops, take a break; go for a walk, grab a hot drink, take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. Find a way to stop what you are doing for five minutes, so you can come back fighting fit.
Exceptional productivity is a difficult thing to crack. Often, small businesses are sole traders, partnerships or micro teams, so time is precious. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to achieve everything you set out to do – most people have this problem.
Though it might feel you have a mountain to climb, follow these hacks to give yourself the best chance at conquering your to-do list and move your business into the future.
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