Staying productive as the owner of a small business often proves harder than many of us expect. No matter how passionate or dedicated you are, maintaining a steady stream of work with nobody looking over your shoulder likely won't come naturally to you. Productivity isn't an innate talent; it's a skill.
If you're willing to implement a few simple tips and tricks throughout your workday, you'll be able to develop your productivity levels and begin reaching milestones that you may have previously thought were unattainable. Taking the steps to work harder and smarter is easy - and the payoff is personal and fiscal.
1 Eliminate Distractions
This goes without saying, but actually taking the steps to remove distractions from your workplace is a separate ballgame. Even though you aren't in an office, distractions can come from anywhere and can range from mildly aggravating or distracting to side projects that suck up entire days or weeks.
It's easy to get distracted by your mobile - you can tell yourself you're opening it up to work, and twenty minutes later you're stuck wondering how you ended up browsing the web. Consider utilising applications to keep you on track and away from distracting content if you tend to get hypnotised by your screen. Apps like Forest and Siempo help temporarily block apps and limit screen time. The latest versions of iOS and Android also offer their own in-built screen time functionality.
2 Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Most small business owners don't work entirely on their own. If you've got staff or even a few helping hands around, don't be afraid to delegate tasks and responsibilities as you see fit. Removing some of your own workload and transferring it to competent team members will free up your mind to focus on the things that really matter. If possible, you should only be working on projects that add value to your life or business.
3 Test Out the 80/20 Approach
The 80/20 rule, also referred to as the Pareto Principle, suggests that 80% of your activity results in 20% of your productivity. What does this mean for business, though?
Take a look at your day and the way you spend time. It's more than likely you'll realise that you spend a significant portion of your time on only a small part of your business. Funnel your energy into the 80% of actions that take up 20% of your time. Plan to eliminate low-payoff activities (especially if they're high-effort) and focus on using your time to capitalise on what you're excellent at.
4 Track Productivity
Have lists, charts, graphs - whatever it takes to make it clear that you've got goals that need reaching. Track your productivity and activity levels carefully. You may be able to pinpoint weak areas or poor habits that you fall into that keep you from achieving success.
And don't be afraid of rewards, either! If you meet or exceed productivity goals, you deserve to give yourself a pat on the back. Whether it's taking a moment to give yourself some recognition or picking up something from the shops to make dinner tonight great, you shouldn't be ashamed of rewarding yourself for being productive.
5 Stay Healthy
Your business won't be healthy and sustainable if you, yourself, are struggling to make it through the day. Make sure you're well-hydrated, getting enough sleep, and have plenty of healthy snacks on hand to keep you fuelled throughout the workday. Don't hesitate to schedule breaks and exercise into your days to keep your blood flowing and your mind in tip-top shape.
Running a small business isn't easy, but the payoff and rewards that come with doing so successfully are immeasurable. There are a number of steps that you can take to make your job easier and boost productivity - and, as you've seen here, most are easy to implement! Try out a few of these methods at a time to determine which ones work best for you; you may be surprised by the results.