Six Simple Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners to Get More Done Every day

Six Simple Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners to Get More Done Every day

Six Simple Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners to get More Done Every day

Did you know there are over 30 million small-sized businesses in the US and they account for more than 99% of all US businesses? 

Even more astonishing than that number is the fact that despite being one of the major drivers of economic growth, more than 50% of small business owners still claim that finding qualified individuals to hire is one of their biggest challenges.  

Due to this insufficiency of the quality workforce and the financial struggles that come with self-investing, most business owners often find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities and working on a tight schedule round the clock. 

If that resembles a day in your life as well, here’s what you need to do: Instead of focusing on working more, focus on working productively. 

It’s possible to be your own boss and still have a balanced work-life equation - you just need to learn how to work as the pros do. Here are six simple productivity habits that are guaranteed to help you optimize your output by 10x. 

1. Plan Your day and Stick to it 

As cliche as this sounds, a to-do list or journal or even post-its can help you make the most of your day and make your life significantly less stressful. It’s hard to feel like you are on top of things when your tasks aren’t in order — just like it’s hard to work in a cluttered room. 

Planning your task doesn’t have to be for just individual days. In fact, it’s recommended that you start with a high-level plan to achieve something and then break it down into smaller tasks and map it to a timeline. For example, you might start with a high-level goal such as ‘start social media marketing’. Once you research and find out how to achieve it, you can chalk out monthly, weekly, and daily goals that would then make up your tasks. This will not only help you quantify a vague goal, but also help you set small milestones and give a sense of accomplishment when you reach them. Your daily task might be something as simple as creating an Instagram account and sending out 25 follow requests. But it will feel good when you mark it off your to-do list. 

It is also recommended that you plan your day during the previous evenings for a more systematic start to the day, especially when dealing with inventory. But even if you can’t, the more important thing is to make sure you plan it before you get caught up in the daily grind. 

In fact, you can apply the same tip to organize your business as well. Having a prepared agenda or list of appointments for the day (printed via your online booking software) in advance would help you and your team start the day well-prepared.  

2. Give Yourself Time to Switch Context 

Wearing multiple hats might seem fancy to most people, but for those who do it, it can be mentally draining — which in turn, hampers your productivity. A simple side effect of being the payroll manager, digital marketer, and cashier all at once can be that you won’t be able to perform any of those roles effectively. 

In fact, context switching can kill up to 80% of your productivity. Add the constant interruptions due to daily operations or notifications to it, and sustained focus on any single task becomes impossible. 

So, make sure to give yourself enough buffer time in between tasks to switch context. Or you might find yourself physically and mentally exhausted at the end of a day when you didn’t even get up for coffee. 

Another thing you can do while planning your day is to ensure that you do not plan to do complex tasks consecutively. For example, if you have to review your PnL sheet for the month, and do a run-down of your weekly appointments on the same day, you can probably schedule a client interaction session in between to have some light conversation and socialize. 

3. Learn to Delegate Without Stressing out 

Most business owners refrain from delegating their tasks because losing control stresses them out. They’d rather do it on their own than deal with late execution, poor quality output, or the stress of explaining to someone what they did wrong. 

But as most business gurus point out, if done right, delegating can significantly help take the load off your shoulders and allow you to focus on the more important things. Here are a few tips to make delegating easy: 

  • Start small. Don’t expect to become a master delegator in a day. Start with delegating the simplest of tasks that have little margin of error. Doing this will help you understand your personality as a delegator without having a lot of impact on the output.  
  • Don’t expect your team to do something right the first time around. The first time you delegate something, invest time in showing them how it’s done, point out the mistakes, and give constructive feedback. This will ensure that they understand what you are expecting the next time you assign them a task. 
  • Communication is key. It’s crucial that you explain what you want and exactly how you want it to be able to delegate successfully. List out the key points that need to be communicated before you assign someone a task and answer all necessary questions right at the start to ensure there is no miscommunication. 

4. Automate as Much as you can 

Everyone today is about doing things faster and better — and there is a whole host of tools out there that can help you achieve that for free. If you have been skipping out on automation technology so far, it’s high time you start looking for tools and applications to make your life easier.  

Find out which tasks in your daily to-do that are repetitive and can be automated. Once you figure that out, finding a tool would likely only require a quick Google search. From data storage to appointment scheduling, here are some key process that small businesses can automate: 

  • Data storage and transfer: With cloud storage and automated syncs, the need to copy and paste your data to access it from multiple devices has become obsolete. So if you are still storing your data on a hard drive, you can switch to cloud storage for faster sharing and easy accessibility. If you need to share documents with your team, you can also have a shared folder online where you can simply upload the file and the rest of your team will be able to access it.    
  • Emails and SMS: No shows for appointments and abandoned carts mean a loss in revenue. While it might not be possible for you to email every single client, there are many applications in the market now that allow you to send hundreds of emails and texts with a simple click. Further, you can also set custom workflows that allow you to automatically send an email to connect with potential leads, thank existing customers after they purchase a product or service, or even send reminders and confirmations for their appointments. 
  • Appointments: Want to sit back and see your appointment slots fill even while you’re asleep? Opt for an online appointment booking system that allows your clients to view your schedule online in real-time and book a service or demo call at their own convenience 24x7. No more scheduling back-and-forth over calls or emails. 
  • Invoicing: Clubbed with inventory management or an appointment booking system (based on your business type), automated invoicing can help you print out invoices in a matter of seconds and reduce the queue and waiting at the checkout counter.    
  • Reporting: Most business management tools today come with an automated reporting system so that you can make data-driven decisions without having to deal with complex spreadsheets and advanced analytics.  

5. Don’t Skip on Your Off-time  

While it might sound counterintuitive, taking breaks during your day, and off-time from work every once in a while actually helps increase your productivity. Studies have found that switching off your brain and focusing on doing things that you like reduces stress, helps maintain performance, and boosts your emotional willpower. 

Our mind works like a muscle and just like you need rest days after heavy workouts, your brain also needs time to repair and recharge after a taxing day. While the entire concept of ‘hustling 24x7’ might make you want to listen to that audiobook during walks or address employee grievances during lunch, don’t do that! It might feel like you are getting more done, but in reality, your productivity takes a hit when you are doing nothing but thinking about work all day. 

So stop feeling guilty about taking that holiday and go have some fun! You’ll definitely come back stress-free and motivated.    

6. Ditch Perfection 

Nothing destroys productivity like the pursuit of perfection. People who try to get everything right the first time around, often get caught up in procrastination and this becomes the enemy of their productivity. Small business owners are often trying to wing it and take every day as it comes. 

Their challenges are unique, so most of the time, textbook solutions don’t apply to their problems. And if the business owners get caught up in trying to perfectly implement something, they might never be successful. They keep delaying and waiting for the perfect moment to take action, leading to very little implementation. 

If you ever find yourself in this loop, keep in mind that no one is looking. Even if you fail at something, you can try again and the next time, you’ll be much more experienced. After all, taking calculated risks and experimenting is the foundation of any successful business. So don’t forget that being productive every day will take you much farther than chasing perfection would.

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  • Andy Hepworth

    Instead of multitasking, I schedule my work in advance.

  • Ray Sargent

    What if 2020 strikes again ?

  • Edward George

    Thanks mate

  • Dean Patterson

    Just in time before Christmas...

  • Omar Mazhar

    Good read

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Luke Fitzpatrick

Tech Expert

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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