13 Productiviy Hacks for Small Business Owners
For a small business to flourish and a small business owner to keep his or her sanity productivity is critical . It might be hard to see sometimes but simply making minor changes can improve the efficiency of your workflow ten fold. We’ve gathered several suggestions from around the web that you you can start using today to help get things done faster.
- Have a List of Priorities – As an owner of a small business, you probably have a to-do list at hand. The question is, are the items on your list sorted out? Prioritizing means arranging your tasks according to urgency or importance. To sort out your priorities, rank your tasks according to:
- Must Do
- Want to Do
- Will Do Whenever Convenient
- Break Projects into Smaller Goals – Some projects are too big to tackle at once, like writing that TPS report or launching a newsletter. Their size creates inertia. And you end up doing nothing. But if you can break each project into smaller goals, those subtasks become easier to swallow. For example, you might decide to:
- Write page 1 of the TPS report by the end of today
- Draft a bulleted outline of your newsletter by noon
This approach helps you overcome inertia, so you start getting things done.
- Learn How to Delegate – Whether you are working with a virtual staff or in-house assistants, ease up some control over your obligations and let other people take care of them. This doesn’t mean avoiding the things you don’t like doing. Recognize which jobs other people are better at and let them handle those for you.
- Keep Meetings Short – Before you decide to round up your team for a meeting, consider if the agenda can be sent or discussed through email. If not, keep meetings as brief as possible. If you’re meeting with an in-house staff, have the discussion while standing up. People will be more alert and the meeting will be more straightforward.
- Don’t Multi-task – In the past years, people have glorified multitasking as though juggling different tasks at the same time is a badge of honor. The truth is, multitasking usually does more harm than good. Human brains aren’t wired to hastily switch from one chore to another. Less effective and more stressed out – that’s what multitasking can do to you.
- Channel Your Inner Bill Belichik – The Patriots have had incredible success over the yuears and one key to that success is a focus on finding out what players do well and letting them focus on that and not 20 other things they aren’t good at or passionate about. Look at your current team and consider who does what well and apply that to delegating tasks. If you have a few employees that love the idea of writing for your blog and they have some time to devote each week to the task, then they would be the perfect people to delegate the task to. On the other hand, if they are not good writers, or are fully consumed with other revenue generating activities then they wouldn’t be right for the task.
- Take care of yourself – Forgetting to take care of yourself is a common issue for entrepreneurs. It’s been shown that exercising in the morning can greatly improve your productivity. Exercise energizes rather than exhausts you, contrary to what the couch potatoes might tell you. Exercising also promotes good health (quick, alert the press!), and some studies have shown that exercise can improve your mood for up to 12 hours following your workout. Less stress, more efficiency–it’s worth setting that alarm 30 minutes earlier.
- Keep Track of Great Content – There’s a lot of information out there concerning small businesses and ecommerce, and it can be difficult to keep track of it all. Here are three tools to make sure you never miss a thing.
- Google Alerts: Get email notifications at whatever cadence you’d like any time Google finds new results on your industry, competition, related news and more.
- Feedly: Organize all the blogs and publications you like to read via a simple (and pretty) RSS feed.
- TweetDeck: This powerful tool lets you see what everyone on Twitter is saying about your industry, get involved in tweetchats (and perhaps run your own), follow experts in ecommerce and track your competitors.
- Make sure that meetings are worth your time. – The truth is that most meetings never need more than 30 minutes to accomplish their missions. Many only need 15 minutes. Don’t be a calendar-default deadbeat. Next, you’ll tell me you kept your phone’s default ringtone, too. Your time is money. Make sure that the meetings that you and your employees go to are pertinent to the success of your business. Try to stay away from conferences that won’t directly benefit your organization, and do not schedule more meetings than are necessary with the same business partners–superfluous get-togethers hamper productivity.
- The Two-Minute Rule – The general productivity consensus is that if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, you should finish it immediately. Whether that means responding to an email or confirming a doctor’s appointment, get those small (but often weighty-feeling) tasks done with, rather than let them collect and snowball.
- Sign in on Sunday (Just for a Minute) – Sunday is a day for relaxing, but if you’re often overwhelmed come Monday morning, logging in briefly Sunday evening may help you alleviate some of that Monday mania. You don’t need to make calls or even answer emails–simply assess what your Monday game plan will be, and you’ll sleep a little more soundly.
- Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Sleep – Humans need at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Science has shown that lack of sleep not only makes people more irritable and less focused, it can even lead to scary diseases like Alzheimer’s in the future. If employees are boasting that they get only 4 hours of sleep at night, make them stop. Sleep-deprived employees are proven to be unproductive and inefficient. Employees who are tired in the mornings due to lack of sleep will find it difficult to concentrate on important tasks. They will also find it difficult to cooperate and play well with others during the day. Some might even fall into so-called microsleep modes in the middle of the work. In a nutshell, sleep deprivation will kill the productivity levels at work. Therefore, encourage employees to get enough sleep at night. Managers and owners should definitely follow by example.
- Automate Your Recurring Tasks – Fortunately, most businesses who like to ensure productivity has a simple way of countering this. To counter the chances of forgetting a task, a major productivity hack that every small business owner should know involves creating repeating task reminders through work management tools. By having a tool to constantly remind you of these recurring tasks, you don’t have to miss the important tasks that are necessary to a well-functioning business operation.