Succeeding in business doesn’t have to be all that hard. All you need are the right strategies in place to reach your goals and increase productivity. However, there’s a dark side to the business.
Even though it is, for the most part, a great adventure, it can be pretty hard at times and requires more than fulfilling a simple to-do list. Between the litany of people and projects vying for your time and attention, it’s hard to figure out where to focus your energy.
Steps You Can Take to Increase Productivity
If you’re looking to get the most done in the least amount of time, you need to make a few tweaks to the way you do things. It begs the question: how do you go about improving your productivity with only a finite amount of time?
This one may sound a bit counter-intuitive; however, taking breaks helps to prevent burn-out. Research finds you get less done when experiencing burn-out than when you are focused and engaged. Taking 5 minutes here and there to let yourself rebuild focus before tackling the next task will increase your productivity.
Eat that frog
“Eat that frog,” is a saying Bryan Tracy coined and later turned into a book. It’s based on the 80/20 rule derived from the Pareto Principle: 80 percent of effects come from 20 percent of causes. All the terminology aside, it means the more important tasks typically yield the greatest results. If you have a hard task, prioritize getting it done in the morning. With the hard task out of the way, you’ll give yourself more time to complete smaller, easier tasks.
Distractions come in all kinds of forms; however, most time-killing kinds are also the easiest to fix. If you want to be more productive, start by eliminating distractions by disabling application notifications for a set period of time, turning off your phone and scheduling a break to catch up on emails, and using software to lock social media websites.
Easily Managing Your Time
The key to being more productive is to get organized, but it takes more than having a simple to-do list. You need to clear mental distractions that keep you from working, so you can more effectively manage your time. This is often easier said than done, so how do you ensure that your small business stays in order?
Getting Your Company Organized
Manage your office space and storage
Organizing your workspace makes it easier to find necessities, helping you to limit time loss. Keep in mind to organize your hard copy files in their own systematized cabinets for easy retrieval. Pick one system and use it for all your filing.
Manage your expenses
Managing your expenses can be hectic, especially if you put them off for later. To ensure that you’re on top of your finances, you need to manage expense receipts, invoices, and payments as they are completed. Preferably, you should have software in place that keeps your expenses consolidated. Keeping and accessing expenses are quite different.
If you need to access and evaluate your expenditures, consider creating summary reports. Summary reports are great tools for consolidating large quantities of data into easily readable documents.
Have a scheduling system in place
In today’s world, the average professional is inundated with a variety of tasks on any given day: correspond to clients, attend meetings, oversee accounts. You may decide to take a minute-by-minute approach and hope everything works out; however, it’s not always feasible. To get everything done in time, you need to have a scheduling system in place, such as a to-do list and or a priority matrix. No matter how turned around you get in the course of the day, you will have a schedule to refer back to and work from.
Go paperless where you can
No one is a fan of paperwork. If you work in an industry that can spare working with paper records, try using online record keeping software instead. Going online could give you more time to complete tasks by saving the need to manually file paper documents.
Tips for Being More Productive
Plan your work the day before
At the end of the previous workday, predetermine a set of tasks to work on as soon as you get in the next day. When you plan your day in advance, knowing exactly what you need to get done, you minimize the amount of time it takes in order to try and figure out what to do first.
Consolidate similarly related tasks
When you work on a certain type of task for an extended period of time, you get into a rhythm or flow. If you group similarly related tasks, you will find you complete them at a faster pace than ones that are dissimilar because you are constantly re-adjusting yourself into a rhythm fitting to that task’s category. Organize tasks by the similarity of their category and complete each category before moving on to the next.
Unplug from interruptions
According to studies, it takes you approximately 25 minutes to get refocused once you have been interrupted. Following the same logic, if you’re interrupted more than twice a day, you’ve lost over an hour of peak productive work; therefore, social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should be avoided as much as possible during work hours.
Delegate tasks to your team
If you’re going to increase your productivity, you need to delegate tasks rather than try to do everything yourself. You should delegate some tasks to other members of your team. While it’s normal for you to want to do everything yourself, you also need to ensure that you don’t burn out in the process. However, you need to determine which tasks should be delegated and which ones you should tackle yourself. You could easily delegate write-ups on social media or sending out emails to another team member.
Prioritize tasks by their importance
With so many tasks to do, it’s easy to get scattered. Sometimes you will feel the need to ask yourself, “what do I start with?” When this happens, the best approach is to set your priorities in terms of their importance. Set the most urgent and important task first. Place any other task lower on the to-do list in order of their importance. Consider using free applications to help you prioritize.
Let’s be honest: being productive when you have limited time to work with can be hard. You constantly need to make tweaks and adjustments to your priorities to avoid spending too much time on menial tasks, so you can focus on the more important ones. Most of all, if you are to be successful, you need to be as organized as possible.
Remember that productivity doesn’t mean you have to stay late and work yourself tirelessly. It means you have to work smart and prioritize effectively. Take breaks to re-energize your focus, eliminate notifications and easy distractions, and delegate tasks if you have too much on your plate. With these tips, you’ll find you will easily be able to carve out, at the very least, a half-hour of your day.