Running your own business – whether you’re in the start-up phase or five years down the road – is no easy task. Often, it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
That’s why it’s important to use the hours you do have selectively, and as efficiently as possible. So instead of trying to work 18 hour days, why not work smarter in a shorter number of hours?
Increasing productivity in your business isn’t rocket science – as long as you know what you’re doing, and you’re prepared to make some changes.
This post will take you through 9 simple strategies for increasing productivity in your business today.
What’s your ONE THING today?
What’s the ONE thing you can do today that will get you closer to your goals?
As Gary Keller explains in his book, The One Thing, the secret to improving productivity in both your business and personal life is to focus on less and do more, by getting clear on your most important task each day – and completing it before you start anything else.
Get clear on your one thing and you’ll win the day!
Bin the multitasking
Many people believe that multitasking is a great way to get more done in less time, but this is a long-standing misconception.
It has been proven that our human minds can only focus on one thing at any given time. So trying to do two or more will only slow you down, and can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
You’re far better off sticking to one task at a time.
Learn How to Delegate
Many business owners – especially in the beginning – find themselves unable to let go and dish out tasks and responsibilities to other members of their team. This might work in the early stages, but it’s not a long term solution, and will prevent you from successfully running and growing your business in the long run.
Learning to delegate tasks out will help you to get more done without you having to spend your time doing it. Just be sure to explain the desired outcome clearly and set boundaries for your employees.
Empower your employees
There are so many amazing tools available for businesses these days, which facilitate communication, creative thinking, and collaboration. A few of the best ones are Slack, Basecamp, and Google Docs – which help everyone to touch bases and stay updated on multiple projects without needing to be under the same roof. If you’re not using one of these – you should be!
In addition, try and have a flexible approach when it comes to your schedule as well as your employees. Allowing remote work and people to choose hours that suit their best times (where possible), has been shown to boost morale and productivity.
Know your end goal
As a business owner, you need to be thinking strategically. Asking yourself strategic questions will help facilitate this:
“Where is my business going?”
“Where do I want my business to go?”
“Where is the industry heading?”
“What should we do differently or better?”
When you get clear on the answers to these questions, and your end goal, you’re then able to work backwards and develop a plan of action to take you from A to B in however many steps it takes.
Running a business without a strategy will keep you bogged down in everyday tasks that won’t push you any further towards your long-term targets.
Be proactive, not reactive
Designate a time to respond to emails or phone calls or any other admin tasks – but don’t allow them to dictate your day or drain large pockets of your time.
Many experts suggest avoiding email until you’ve gotten your most important task completed and out of the way each day.
The world is unlikely to explode if you don’t respond to that email within ten minutes, and batching your time in this way is much more efficient.
Have less meetings
The majority of meetings are a total waste of time… but you probably already know that when you think back to the ones you’ve been forced to attend in any company you’ve ever worked for (snooze!)
If what you need to say or discuss can be done via your online co-working platform or email – don’t hold a meeting.
When a meeting is necessary, have an agenda, and try not to have it go on for longer than 15 minutes. A standing meeting is a good way to do this, and is becoming increasingly popular as a time saving hack.
Take regular breaks
We’re humans, not machines, but many of us business owners are quick to forget this!
Your mind and body need regular breaks throughout the day to remain sharp, productive, and energised. Schedule quick breaks into your calendar, where you grab a glass of water or have a quick stretch.
Be sure to keep yourself hydrated and nourished with healthy snacks. Try and swap energy drinks or coffee for green tea or plain water.
If you don’t look after your body, you will eventually burn out. Productivity is all about maintaining a steady pace, and staying on track to your goals – adequate rest and a healthy diet will work wonders with this.
Get comfortable saying “no”
Many business owners are “yes” people, either because they have a fear of missing out on something potentially great, or they don’t want to disappoint people.
The trouble is, when you agree to take on extra projects that don’t align with your business’s mission, you’re depleting your resources, and in the long run it’s not going to be beneficial for either parties.
You might find it difficult saying “no” to people, but this is the only way you’ll be able to keep you and your team as focused and productive as possible.
Remember – you have to say no to certain opportunities in order to say yes to the right ones.
What productivity hacks are you using in your business today?
We’d love to know what you swear by when it comes to being as productive as possible day to day, as well as ensuring your team are running as efficiently as possible.
If you’ve got any tips that we haven’t covered in this post, share them in the comments below!