Recent statistics suggest that two-thirds of SMB owners and leaders are personally responsible for at least 3 different areas of their business. So it’s hardly surprising that the desire to grow productivity is a common entrepreneurial goal. Whether you want to streamline your workflow or modernize your marketing, don’t let time-wasting habits slow you down. Try these 8 productivity hacks to help jumpstart your workday.
1. Start with a Smarter Schedule
Sticking with a routine in terms of when you begin and end work each day not only keeps the daily grind from spilling into your downtime, it helps train your brain to meet objectives in a timelier manner. If you’re one of those people who’s more productive under pressure, try scheduling shorter chunks of time than you think you’ll actually need to accomplish your daily tasks.
2. Protect Your Most Productive Hours
For many of us, mental clarity is greatest in the morning, making the hours before lunch the best time to schedule focus-heavy commitments. Don’t waste the most productive time of day on mundane tasks like report writing and emails – reserve it for projects requiring creativity or strategic thinking. And to leverage your mental agility even further, get in the habit of grouping like tasks together.
3. Discover Why Two Screens Are Better Than One
If you’ve yet to make the switch from one computer screen to two, you’re missing out on some great time-saving benefits. Not only will opting for full-size screens make everything you’re working on easier to read, but a double monitor set-up also lets you work more efficiently by cutting down the time spent switching between pages or applications.
4. Learn to Say “No” to Notifications
Shutting down your smartphone or email may not always be practical, but temporarily turning off your notifications is. Do away with distracting alerts when you need to focus without interruption. By scheduling dedicated times to check and respond to non-urgent correspondence, you’ll perform other tasks more effectively, and you’ll save the time you’d otherwise spend reading your messages twice.
5. Pad Out Your Availability Calendar
Shared online calendars are enormously convenient. But they can become a time drain when others view empty space in your day as the ideal opportunity for a meeting. Build bigger blocks of unavailability into your calendar to offset times when you’re caught out by last-minute tasks or requests. You should also try to schedule at least one meeting-free day each week to give yourself the chance to play catch-up.
6. Take a Firm Stand on Meetings
Business gatherings can be notorious time-wasters. To keep your meetings on track, make sure they have a clearly defined scope and a strictly scheduled agenda. Allowing less time than you expect discussions to take can discourage “meeting run-on”. And when a brief get-together is all that’s required, consider initiating a stand-up encounter to prevent the settling-in that occurs when we’re seated.
7. Opt for Automation
Modern tech tools and software can shave precious minutes off your daily to-do list. Explore the possibility of automating recurring tasks involving everything from quotes, proposals, and expense reports, to emails and social media posts. You should also take advantage of time-saving document templates wherever possible by downloading or creating them in-house.
8. Give Yourself a Break
We’re far more productive when we take steps to preserve our work-life balance. If surfing the web helps you decompress, block off time in your work schedule to do that (just make sure you set an alarm). If you hit a mental hurdle, go take a breather outside. Most importantly, remember that pursuing personal interests outside of work is one of the best ways for entrepreneurs to avoid burnout.