Moving your company forward requires maintaining focus and actively managing your time. Evaluate how you spend your time and implement strategies to increase your productivity and help you get more done. Effective time management helps you reach your goals with less stress.
Track Your Time
Increasing your productivity means understanding how you spend your time during the average workday. Keep a log for a week and record everything that you do in 15- or 20-minute increments. Choose a logging method that works well for you, such as paper and pen, spreadsheet, or an app on your smartphone. Review your log at the end of the week, and take note of the time spent on actual work tasks. You may be surprised at how easily you become distracted by social media, calls from friends or other nonessential activities.
Now that you know how you spend your time, you can structure your schedule to accommodate your needs. Make a daily to-do list at the start of every day, and only schedule what you can actually do within the time that is available. Jamming your daily to-do list with tasks that you will never get to can cause you to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Rank the tasks in order of priority, and tackle the highest-priority items first. Scheduling in blocks and avoiding multitasking can also help you increase your productivity, such as setting aside the hour from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to focus exclusively on making sales calls. Leave wiggle room for handling last-minute demands and unforeseen challenges to prevent your entire schedule from becoming derailed. For example, a phone call with a client or a meeting with your staff may go longer than expected; your schedule should be flexible enough to accommodate the 10 or 20 minutes of extra time.
As a small business owner, you may be used to doing everything on your own. However, as your business grows, you can free up some time in your schedule and increase your productivity by delegating or outsourcing some of your responsibilities. You probably don’t need to pack and mail every product shipment by yourself, for example. Determine the tasks that take up a lot of your time or those that you aren’t fond of performing, and delegate those to an employee. If your business is just getting off the ground and the budget is tight, consider hiring an intern to help ease your workload.
Using software and apps to do some of your work for you can also help to increase your productivity. For example, Hubdoc can import your receipts into QuickBooks and turn your bills into online transactions, which saves you the time it would take to enter the information manually. You can automate everything from payroll, sales reports and managing orders to tracking your time.