The day in the life of a business owner involves so many moving pieces. How do you stay on top of all your responsibilities and still be productive? Mastering productivity is the key for driving profits in your business. I asked several entrepreneurs and productivity experts to share their top productivity tips to increase workflow in your business.
Manage your email, don’t let it manage you
Avoid task-switching, each distraction or switch takes precious time and it adds up quickly. My top tip is to batch up small tasks, like email. Process your email twice daily, once in the morning and then in the afternoon. Outside of those sessions don’t look at it, disable notifications, heck, close it down! Email isn’t an urgent form of communication.
If you rely on urgent emails, separate them into a different account or use rules so that only those emails ping you. Or use an assistant to manage your inbox and alert you to urgent matters. Each distraction avoided is 5-20 minutes you get back in your day.
It’s very easy in the early days, to let yourself get distracted, and often fear of failure plays a big part in that. When businesses kick off, the key problem is often about ensuring that you are proactive and don’t procrastinate on sales and marketing activities. Live by your schedule and be disciplined about blocking out time for high value work.
Once your business starts building up a client base, the issue then becomes managing multiple deadlines and expectations. At this point, efficiency is key. Batch low value tasks together, automate repeatable processes, delegate and outsource as much as possible. Be clear about the work that requires your strategic mind, creativity and relationship building skills. Delegate everything else that you can.
Don’t lose your focus on why you are in business and who you are there to help.
Routines build good habits, increase efficiency by getting more done in less time and reducing stress. You save time if you do things regularly instead of letting everything pile up. Create routines like checking email at certain times of the day (instead of always breaking away to answer and losing time and train of thought while working on something else).
THEME your week. We all have BAU (business as usual) tasks to do, but every week you should set a specific THEME such as resolving technology issues, building a new sales plan, staff reviews or something that you need to hone your attention on. Then say NO to all outside influences that week (unless a crisis hits). It’s absolutely incredible how much your directed energy creates a positive outcome. We all say YES to too many things at once and productivity goes out the window.
Determine the three things that you do best personally, the three things you do best professionally, make the latter your product/service, focus all of your energy on the former in the context of the latter, and hire people (staff, consultants, VA’s) to do the rest. If the numbers don’t add up to afford the help the numbers don’t add up to make it a business.