When you own your own business, productivity is the name of the game. With so much on your plate, there’s never time to drag your feet or take a day off. As your business grows you’ll have the opportunity to bring in qualified employees to assist with the work, but you’ll likely remain busy. So how do you stay on top of everything you need to do, no matter what industry or how long you’ve owned the business? Here are 10 tips to help you become an ultra-productive business owner.
1. Overestimate How Long a Task Will Take
As you schedule out the jobs and tasks, make sure to overestimate how much time you’ll take. Don’t give yourself a small window to finish, as this may just end up rushing your work and ending with you not satisfied with the finished quality. You can prepare for the unexpected, but chances are, something will come up, taking you away from the work you have scheduled. Life happens, regardless of if you’re the boss or an employee. Provide yourself with a generous amount of time to finish off your work. This way, you’ll have a better chance to remain on schedule and avoid rushing work to catch up.
2. Time Block Your Day
The longer you work on one given task, the greater the chance of your mind wandering. Productivity begins to drift away, especially if there is no end in sight for the assignment. That is why you should build time blocks into your day. With time blocks built into the schedule, you’ll easily break the day down with work time, time to recharge and other dedicated blocks for anything else you need to accomplish.
Spread four two-hour work blocks throughout the day. This way, you’ll still put in a solid eight hours of work. However, also include a 30-minute break or “me time.” This will allow you to take a walk for 30 minutes, sit back and enjoy a coffee while watching the news, or enjoy a 30-minute lunch with a coworker. When you go back to the next work block you’ll be amazed at just how much more focused and productive you are.
On top of the four work blocks and the 30-minute breaks scheduled in between each block, make sure you include 90 to 120 minutes of “me time” at the beginning of your day. This is the time you can shower, exercise, eat breakfast, enjoy time with your spouse or meditate. Don’t just dive straight into work. By giving yourself this free time at the beginning of the morning, your body will wake up naturally and give you the time needed to bask in the morning. Taking advantage of such an early morning routine allows your brain to focus on work by the time you arrive at the office (even if the office is just another room in the house).
3. Daily Task Lists
With those four two-hour work blocks, you need to know exactly what you’ll do to increase your level of productivity. The best way to do this is to create tasks lists at the end of each workday for the following day. By creating these tasks at the end of work, you’ll have a fresh eye on what you didn’t accomplish, what needs to get done and what task has the greatest level of importance. Setting up daily task lists helps you hit the ground running when you make it into the office. This cuts down on unnecessary time wasted and should boost your productivity, as you know exactly what needs to get done.
4. Create a Morning Routine Free of Technology
If you’re like many people, the moment you open your laptop or check a social media account on your phone, you’ve already doomed yourself into wasting the next good chunk of time. It’s far too easy to fall down the technology rabbit hole. Whether it is watching a YouTube video, (which could lead to another and another) or finding the need to look up social media service, before you know it your entire morning is shot and you’re rushing to work. That is exactly why you need to create a morning routine free (or nearly free) of technology.
In that 90 to 120-minute time block at the beginning of the day, schedule in time to enjoy talking over a breakfast you’re your significant other. Sitting at a table with someone while looking at a phone doesn’t constitute time together. You’re a human being and you need quality human interaction, so if you’re lucky enough to currently have someone in your life, take advantage of it. You’ll find the rest of your day is enriched because of it.
What receives a pass on morning technology? If you need a guided meditation video to assist in calming your mind and stress, go ahead and switch one of these on. Or if you enjoy listening to music while you work out, listen to music. You may also like the radio news playing in the background while you shower. All of this is fine as it is in moderation and doesn’t take away from other morning tasks. You’ll find yourself feeling so much better about the day if you cut out technology first thing.
5. Hit the Gym
Working out, whether it is hitting the weights or going for an early morning jog, improves your mental focus while reducing stress levels. When you work out and increase the heart rate, more oxygen and blood pump through your body, including your brain. The improvement in oxygen and blood flow helps improve your ability to process information and think with more clarity. In turn, you’ll knock out tasks faster at the office and remain focused on what you need to do longer. Plus, with the amount of work you’re putting in, having a built-in stress reliever in the day is always a good thing.
6. Review Where You Are
If you don’t review where you’re currently at, how do you know you’ve made any real progress? From time to time, take a step back from your work and completely evaluate what’s going on, what you’re doing and what still needs to be accomplished. Whether you set up a weekly or monthly review, you need to have these scheduled on your calendar. The longer you put these reviews off, the greater the chance of wasting time and draining your productivity. If you are a manager, it’s best to start off with weekly reviews and then adjust accordingly.
7. There’s Nothing You Can Do About Time
The faster you accept this fact, the better off you’ll be. You’ve probably said, “if there were only 25 hours in a day” (or something along these lines) you’d be able to get more done. Problem is, you’ll just fill up the day with more work and then say, “if there were only 26 hours in a day.” There’s nothing you can do about time. So, don’t worry about the amount of time in a day. Do what you can with the time you have. As long as you put in a quality day’s work, you’ll feel accomplished and satisfied.
8. Organize Your Work Space
Having a clean, organized workspace helps the brain focus. You’ll drift away less frequently and have the ability to narrow in on the task at hand. As the saying goes, “a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind.” So clean up that space. You’ll feel less stressed and overwhelmed when you do.
9. Learn to Say No
Many of us struggle with saying “No” when asked to take on a task. Some people have no problem taking on more work or helping out when they can. You can't do that as a manager, however, or eventually you'll bite off more than you can chew. Know your limits. Practice saying “no” from time to time. You’ll have more time to focus on the necessary tasks.
10. Create Email Rules
Email is a great form of communication and a quick way to send and receive essential messages, but it can also account for one the largest amount of time wasted if not managed. You may find yourself checking your email after every small task you accomplish. This may lead to you checking your email once an hour or so. Even if it is five minutes, that is five minutes you could have spent doing something else. Add those up over the course of an eight-hour workday and you may find you’ve spent 40 minutes checking email (and that’s if you don’t take additional time to respond to messages). Create email rules, block off time for it, then stick to these rules.
Nobody said owning your own business would be easy. However, you’re the kind of person who thrives on being in charge and knowing your company hinges on your work effort. You want to build a name for yourself and grow your business into something special. To do all of this, you need to remain ultra-productive. By taking advantage of these 10 tips, you’ll quickly discover just how productive you really can be.
Tell Us –
Which one of these qualities do you have? Which ones do you have the most difficulty with?