As a small business owner – it can be difficult to focus on productivity itself when you’ve already got tons of other things to think about. Especially when you’re already in a time-poor environment where your attention is demanded by so many other parts of the business. While getting more customers is good for your margins – things can soon get hard to manage if you’re trying to do everything yourself.
In this article, we’re going to look at four different ways that you can start increasing your productivity rather than wasting time on other tasks.
1. Break larger tasks down into smaller ones
If you’ve got a big project looming with lots of cash at stake, you won’t be alone in feeling overwhelmed. Especially if you’re on a tight deadline to the project – you might find yourself in a highly-pressurised situation. Such high stakes can often cause either procrastination or increased stress as you rush to meet clients’ demands.
That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to break down tasks into bite-sized ones and address each one methodically and in order. Even just getting a little bit done first could be enough to start getting the productivity ball rolling. Try setting yourself a few attainable targets and goals so that you’ve got a clearer sense of what needs doing, as well as a sense of accomplishment when each one is completed. It also makes progress much easier to track.
2. Devise streamlined procedures for normal tasks
Different parts of your business’ operations should have written steps or procedures. This helps make you (and any relevant staff) achieve the best results every time and work through what needs doing methodically. Hopefully saving time on menial tasks will allow you to target more important goals like driving more sales and growth to your business.
You can start by using checklists for all your business tasks. These are a great way of keeping things simple and knowing exactly what needs doing in order at any one time. You might also want to regularly review your procedures as you develop new ideas to streamline processes. Don’t just stick to one way of doing things because you wrote it down a while ago – if you have thought of a better alternative.
3. Reduce distractions
While I’m not suggesting you ignore incoming phone-calls, you shouldn’t let them control your entire working day. Answering the phone for things that either aren’t relevant or aren’t urgent to your business will often sap your productivity and distract you from other tasks. Consider allocating some time each day where you’re out of reach of distractions like this, so you can focus on the most important tasks you’ve got to do that day. Make sure you get the most time-sensitive things done first, or the ones that have the biggest impact on your business.
As well as having a time where you block out phone-calls and emails, allocate time to action emails and other correspondence without other business distractions. Try taking an hour every morning answering emails and phone-calls before you switch them off for a while.
Manage the expectations of those who get in touch with you by letting them know when you’re busy and when they might be able to expect a response. If it really gets to a certain point, consider hiring a secretary or personal assistant to take care of some this for you, so you can take care of more important tasks.
4. Don’t procrastinate
Procrastinating is often one of the biggest problems for small business owners, especially those who work alone. It may sometimes be hard to motivate yourself, but you need to develop processes and ways to get things done. Sitting around and waiting for things to happen simply won’t work if you run your own business – you have to get things done as soon as you can and not let them foster. Start by taking meticulous notes and write down the things you’ve got to do each morning. Tackle each one at a time, and don’t move onto anything else until you’ve got them done.