How to skyrocket your productivity with these 10 tips
If you’re a business owner (even a small business) in South Africa, then the way to improve your productivity is clear: set goals.
Research shows that entrepreneurs and business owners with specific goals are more productive than those without them.
But how can you come up with these goals?
Here are 10 productivity tips that should be used throughout the day:
1. Set an alarm for the time you want to wake up.
If you are a business owner (or Entrepreneur), then you know that there is always something to do.
Whether it’s answering emails or finishing up those reports, the day never ends when you own your own company.
However, in order to maintain productivity at work and avoid burnout, it’s important to take care of yourself outside of the office too.
With these productivity tips for busy business owners, you can stay on top of things and be ready for anything!
2. Use a calendar or planner to keep track of your schedule
Business owners, even small business owners, have a lot on their plate.
Running a company can be rewarding, but it’s also demanding and requires long hours to keep up with anything that comes your way.
If you want to stay productive and avoid burnout, it’s essential to have a good system for staying on task.
Study after study has shown that the best way to stay productive is to make lists and stay organized.
It also helps to be accountable for what you say you will do because then other people can hold you accountable — your employees, co-workers, or customers. When planning your workday, it’s important to set deadlines and have specific goals for the day or week.
If things start piling up, you risk becoming overwhelmed and stressed out. That won’t be good for anyone, including your business!
3. Stay organized by using labels, folders, and binders
Organization is the key to success.
In fact, many people believe that if you aren’t organized, then you will not be successful in life.
The process of organizing is not difficult, it’s the discipline to follow through that is the key.
Don’t procrastinate, and drag out tasks that need to be done. Instead, get them finished the first day they arrive at your desk.
Keep a ‘tickler’ file with all your unfinished projects sorted by date completed or action is taken and review its contents each week so nothing slips through the cracks.
The more organized you keep your business, the easier it will be to grow. You’ll know where all your files are and what needs to be done. As a result, you’ll find yourself getting things accomplished faster and faster every single day!
4. Why distractions like Facebook and TV kills productivity
Technology has changed the world, but it has also made us less productive. In our offices and homes, we have become slaves to devices that distract us from what matters most-our work and our loved ones. It might be time for a social media detox!
1 in 5 people is addicted to social media and spends at least 4 hours per day on it. Imagine the loss in productivity is losing half your workday … every day!
The average person spends about 20 minutes each hour looking at their phone while they’re awake (around 4 hours total).
This is slowly killing productivity and connection by taking away from vital work time or precious moments with friends and family.
We need to be more conscious of how much time we waste on digital devices so that we can use those wasted minutes productively elsewhere.
Make time management top of mind at all times, it could make or break your business!
5. Take breaks every hour or so with 15 minutes of physical activity (walking, stretching)
Studies have shown that people who work in 90-minute intervals are more productive and creative than those who work for 8 hours straight.
They take breaks every 60–90 minutes with 5–10 minutes of physical activity (walking, stretching) to recharge their batteries and give their brains a break from the mental exertion.
Definitely take a break at least once an hour.
Go for a walk around the office, get some water or coffee, stretch your legs.
If you can manage, thirty minutes of exercise per day will give you more energy and keep you in shape so that you can use those 90-minute bursts with maximum efficiency.
6. Schedule business meetings in advance rather than accepting last minute invites or phone calls
Meetings are a necessary evil in the world of business.
They can be great for brainstorming, discussing current projects and getting feedback from team members but they can also suck up huge amounts of time and energy without any concrete results to show for it.
In order to make your meetings more productive, there are some simple steps you should take before each one:
- Schedule them in advance;
- Make sure everyone has enough notice;
- Be clear on the purpose of the meeting ahead of time;
- Prepare an agenda with topics that will be discussed beforehand so that participants know what to expect when they arrive at the meeting place
7. Keep healthy snacks available at all times
The idea behind this is to provide a healthy snack option that you can easily access and eat without having to get up from your desk.
This way, when you are feeling hungry, you have an alternative to the unhealthy snacks in the break room or vending machine.
This will help keep your diet on track so that weight loss efforts don’t suffer because of mindless snacking.
P.S. Don’t forget about healthy drinks, too!
Instead of sodas, fruit juices, or sugary coffee drinks, try a green smoothie or water infused with fresh fruit for flavor and added health benefits.
8. Don’t make do with a to-do list of 100’s of items, pick 3 most important and get them done
It’s important to keep your to-do list limited to a maximum of 3 items.
Psychologists have found that people have a limit when it comes to focusing their minds on things.
Doing more than three tasks at once will cause you to feel anxious and stressed.
I can confirm this is true for me; when my list gets too long, I become anxious and stressed as well as less efficient because I am jumping from one thing to another without completing any of them.
Also, remember that multitasking in business is a myth!
When you do two tasks at once, you can sometimes seem to be working twice as hard but in fact, less is getting done.
Find out which three most important things need to get done and focus on them each day.
This will keep your mind focused, give you a sense of accomplishment when they are completed.
9. Use a timer to stay focused on tasks (“do project work for 90 mins” for example)
If you’re anything like me, your mind is always racing and your productivity forms a crucial part of business success.
You find yourself in the middle of a task and suddenly you’re wondering what to make for dinner tonight; or how much money you have saved up so far this year; or whether it will be sunny tomorrow.
It can be hard to stay focused on one thing at a time.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up!
One way to help focus is by using a timer — set it for just 90 minutes max and commit to doing whatever is on your list during those ninety minutes.
This is definitely one of the productivity tips that helped me to manage businesoverwhelm!
10. Write down your goals every morning
I am sure you have heard about the power of a “morning routine.”
For some, it’s drinking coffee or eating breakfast. Others might get up and immediately start working on their most important task for the day.
If you want to be more creative in your work, then what you do first thing in the morning is vitally important.
What if I told you that a key part of your morning routine should not be productive at all?
Instead, it should be something that takes away from what you are supposed to do.
And an Entrepreneur you would probably say: “That does not sound like productivity tips at all”, but it is!
This is exactly why the first task of my own, personal “morning routine” involves writing down my goals for the day.
Start the day positive and with an end goal in mind
It may seem counterintuitive, but writing down your goals for the day actually helps you to get more done.
The best way to start yourself off on the right foot is by being clear about what you want to accomplish.
Other Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners
Break down big tasks into smaller chunks that are less overwhelming and more manageable
There are many different ways to manage your time and increase your productivity.
One of the best ways is to break down big tasks into smaller chunks that are less overwhelming and more manageable.
Break the smaller tasks down in order of importance. Do the most important tasks first!
This will allow you to actually get something done instead of feeling like you’re spinning your wheels in an unproductive way.
Make sure you sleep enough
Most Entrepreneurs do not want to accept this, but this is an extremely important time management tip for increased productivity.
Sleeping is how we rest and recharge our bodies, so not getting enough sleep can lead to fatigue, anxiety, lack of focus, and an overall feeling of being unproductive.
Aim for 7–8 hours of sleep every night!
Do the most important tasks first!
Is this you?
“I feel like I can’t get anything done when it feels like there are too many things to do.”
The best way for Entrepreneurs to manage their time and increase their productivity is to break down big tasks into smaller chunks that are less overwhelming and more manageable.
Consider this, if you had a big report due next week that’s going to take all of your time and attention, would it make sense to tackle the easiest sections first? Definitely not!
Instead, wouldn’t it be better if you were to start with the hardest part first — the part where you’re most likely to get stuck and will need a fresh mind throughout?
Do ONE task at a time
This is one of the most important principles I learned by being a busy entrepreneur.
Especially for small business owners, it’s such a meaningful tip to stop multitasking and take on one task at a time.
Multitasking leads to not fully getting into the flow of the task at hand. It’s a productivity killer because it can cause you to lose your train of thought and get burned out.
Going from task to task can also be distracting as you shift your focus from one thing to another, which means that you’re likely to forget important things.
Save Time by Outsourcing mundane task
One of the best ways Entrepreneurs can save time is by outsourcing tasks that are not a part of their day-to-day work.
The idea is pretty straightforward and easy to do.
Instead of doing things that do not add value to your business, focus on tasks that will increase productivity and help you generate more sales.
Things like organizing your closet or recycling old files that are sitting out on your desk are definitely mundane tasks and you need to delegate that to other employees.
You should take careful consideration about how long it will take you to complete this task when determining whether or not it should be done yourself or outsourced to someone else.
Productivity tools to help automate important tasks
These tools are not direct productivity tips, but will definitely streamline communication and delegation in your business to ultimately increase your productivity.
Project Management Tools
There are a lot of project management tools available online and every tool has its pros and cons.
The best way to decide on the right tool for your business is to test the tool for 2–4 weeks.
Here are some tools to consider:
Auto Posting on Social Media
Here are some tools that will help you schedule your social media content. Try them out (most have a free trial or free account) and see what works in your business
Team Communication in your business
Immediate communication has become more important than ever for a business that needs to react quickly to situations.
It alleviates the back and forth of emails and ensures things get done!
Here are some great business communication tools that also have smartphone apps:
Implementing these productivity tips
As a successful entrepreneur, you should be your own CEO, and your success hinges on how you manage tasks and stay motivated.
There are many strategies and productivity tips that can help you achieve business success.
Ultimately, staying productive in business boils down to sticking with these simple tips and strategies in order to get things done as efficiently as possible.
If any of this sounds overwhelming or if there’s one strategy that seems impossible for you right now — don’t worry!
Just start implementing 1 of these productivity tips a week and you will be amazed how much you get done in the next 12 weeks.