As a small business owner, it probably seems like there’s always a job that needs to be done, no matter how much you seem to work. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day, and that never seems to be enough to accomplish all of your tasks. This rings true especially during the holiday season, an incredibly busy time of year for many businesses.
Now while we can’t tell you how to add more hours to the day, we can give you 12 ways to increase your productivity at work. It’s about working smarter, not harder, after all. So instead of panicking about not being able to get everything accomplished in time, take a deep breath, and start implementing some of these tips into your daily routine.
Starting is often the hardest part of the day. Instead of continuing to avoid your tasks and looking for the perfect time to begin, just stop thinking and start doing. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish.
Get the Worst Done First
Don’t continue to push back a dreaded task. It might not be the most fun, but it needs to be done. Do it first thing in the morning, before starting on anything else. This way you can forget about it and move on to more important things.
When you work for yourself, it’s easy to put things off until you feel like getting around to it. However, this strategy isn’t going to help you get anything accomplished. Just like you set deadlines for your employees, you should be setting deadlines for yourself. This will help you get the most important tasks done first and in a timely manner.
Track the Time
Keep track of how much time you’re spending on certain tasks. When things start to get busy, you can’t afford to spend three hours finding a good photo to post on your business’s Instagram. Setting a timer or watching the clock will help you allocate your time a lot better than just guessing.
This is one of the simplest tricks, but it works. Keeping all the tasks you need to accomplish in your head only gives you more to stress about. Instead of trying to remember everything, write or type out the jobs you need to get done, and cross them off as
After making a list of your tasks, number or arrange them so that you can easily see which job is most important. Chances are you don’t need to change your Facebook cover photo right this minute, but you do need to call that client back as soon as possible. Prioritizing will make sure you get the most pressing jobs done every day.
Take a Break
No, this isn’t a waste of time. Your brain needs a break every so often in order to maintain concentration and performance – it’s been scientifically proven. Seriously, step away from the computer. It’s a lot more practical to take a five minute break now than sacrifice hours of productivity down the line.
Multitasking might seem like a great way to get more done at once, but you’re really not doing yourself any favors by working this way. In fact, your productivity drops by around 40 percent when you try to multitask. Instead of doing a mediocre job on
multiple tasks, give 100 percent of yourself to one task, complete it, and move onto the next. You’ll do better work and most likely get the task done faster.
Turn off Your Phone
Or at least turn off your notifications. There’s nothing worse for your productivity than constantly having to deal with interruptions. Finish a task, then check your phone/email/social media. Looking at it all day is only going to waste time.
Learn to Say “No”
No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to do absolutely everything. You likely already have enough on your to-do list. Don’t bite off more than you can chew by agreeing to tasks you know you won’t be able to complete. It’s easier to decline a job now than to apologize for the delay or doing it poorly later.
Ask for Help
There’s no shame in asking for help. For tasks that you personally don’t need to do (i.e. making phone calls, filing paperwork, mailing products, etc.), hire a part-time employee or an intern to make your life a little easier.
Group Similar Tasks
This doesn’t mean multitask; it just means you’ll increase your productivity if you do similar tasks back to back. For example, answering emails then responding to phone calls are similar. Shipping your products and running errands in the same outing makes sense. Don’t waste time going back and forth.
Time is money. Don’t waste it.