Smart Productivity Tips for Your Small Business

check listI’d be willing to bet that virtually everyone has said, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day!”

It’s especially true for the small business owner. Pile family responsibilities on top of work duties and it makes for a seemingly impossible situation. However, if you start hacking away at this problem from two angles, you can dramatically improve your productivity and take control of your life.

First, let’s lighten the load by delegating. You can delegate both professional and personal responsibilities. If you need to hire someone to run errands or clean around the house, do it. Not only does it give you more time, more importantly it frees you of the mental burden. It’s like getting rid of those weights some of us walkers occasionally use to increase the intensity of our workouts.

This principle applies to business as well. There are probably tasks that you’re still doing that should be handed off to someone else. Please, jettison the work that you aren’t so good at and concentrate on the things you do well.

Now that we’ve got you out from under some burdens, let’s get organized and look at the psychology of poor productivity.

Get started. The first step is always the most difficult and we come up with 1,001 ways to avoid taking it. Wean yourself from social media. Don’t check your email every 15 minutes. I don’t know what it is for you, but there’s a list of little things you allow to stand between yourself and the important stuff.

Make a to-do list every day. You may want to do this the evening before. Get the important jobs completed first. Success feeds on itself. Starting the day out with a win will propel you into the next item on your list. Make this a habit. Humans only have so much “will power” at any given time. You shouldn’t be expending it on the tasks you need to complete to keep your business moving forward.

Create manageable tasks. Break up big projects into smaller tasks. Dawdling 10 minutes on social media looks too inviting when we’re staring at a huge job that needs to get done. This process will also help you understand what needs to be accomplished to meet the goals of your small business.

Work intensely, then take a break. Studies and personal testimonies indicate that the most productive people spend a short(er) intense time working on one thing and follow it with a 10-20 minute break. I’ve seen arguments for this short period of focused work lasting about 30, 50 or 90 minutes. Pick a number that works for you, but follow it up with a real period of mental rest.

Don’t multitask. Honestly people, multi-taskers are less productive. They’re like a driver stuck in the mud who continues to jam the accelerator pedal to the floor. The tires spin and mud flies, but the vehicle isn’t moving forward. Don’t mistake activity for accomplishment.

Make these your habits. Here’s where you put your will power for a few weeks: making these points your work day habits. It shouldn’t require a big effort. When you see positive results, the taste of victory will fuel your desire to stay the course.

How about your personal approach to work and life? Have any tips that have helped you boost your productivity?

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