There’s a lot to juggle as a small business owner and you have to make the most of every minute to move your business forward.
Unfortunately, many fail to optimize their productivity. Some ignore self-care to the detriment of their mental clarity and ability to focus while others spend their time on low-value busywork that doesn’t yield high-impact results.
Here are 12 tips to help you stay productive throughout the day:
1. Prioritize Your Tasks
Create lists of tasks you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis and distinguish what’s vital vs. what’s “nice to do” for your business. Allocate sufficient time and attention to the high-value tasks and prioritize those that can only be done by you.
2. Delegate Low-Value Activities
Don’t spend time on tasks that can be delegated to a team member (if you have a team) or done by hiring a virtual assistant for $10 an hour (e.g., data entry.) Be mindful of the value of your time and the opportunity cost of doing low-value tasks so you don’t take on everything just because you can do it.
3. Don’t Multitask
Bouncing from task to task can be very time-consuming because your brain needs time to switch from one activity to another, In fact, it can cost as much as 40% of your productive time. Focus on one thing at a time and batch your tasks to further minimize the switching cost.
4. Track Your Time
Cultivating mindfulness can help you spend your time more intentionally. You can use a time tracking app (e.g., toggl) to see how you’re using your time so you can proactively avoid activities that distract you from high-value tasks.
5. Automate Workflows
You can increase productivity while minimizing errors and delays by automating workflows. For example, by integrating the various software applications to ensure that data is synced up in real-time so you don’t have to manually update the information.
6. Streamline Operations
From bookkeeping and website maintenance to email and social media marketing, you need to juggle many things just to keep your business going. You can use a variety of apps to streamline these activities. For example, Boomerang for Gmail inbox, Hootsuite for social media marketing, and Quickbooks for bookkeeping.
7. Facilitate Team and Client Communications
You can use various platforms to aid project management, improve team collaboration, and facilitate customer communications. This allows you to spend less time managing the day-to-day activities while making sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
8. Stay Upbeat and Motivated
Your mood has a significant impact on your productivity. Be mindful about staying upbeat despite the ups and downs that a small business owner inevitably faces. For example, you can have some mood-boosting snacks (e.g., nuts, bananas) handy or incorporate breathing exercises to help release stress.
9. Set Milestone and Celebrate Success
Setting milestones for your projects and keeping track of the metrics can help you stay motivated. Celebrating success can also have a positive effect on your mood because it counters the brain’s negativity bias to help you focus on what’s going well.
10. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is essential to healthy brain functions, which can help you think more clearly, improve your memory, and process information more quickly. Get enough high-quality sleep by following a schedule, creating a bedtime routine, and setting up a bedroom environment that can help you unwind and relax.
11. Take a Power Nap
If you’re feeling fatigued, cranky, or frazzled during the day, take a nap to reset and recharge. To get the most of your nap, pick the right time so it doesn’t interfere with your regular sleep schedule, drink coffee before taking a 15-minute nap to help you feel more energized, keep the nap short, and make sure you have a comfortable environment.
12. Get Outside
Exposure to natural light has been shown to improve workplace performance. It can boost your mood, increase alertness, and regulate the circadian rhythm so you can sleep better at night. Even just a 20-minute walk around the block at lunchtime can do wonders for your productivity!