Productivity, or efficiency, is key to running a successful business. Ironically, it’s also an idea many business owners fail to acknowledge and dedicate proper time to improving. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, your goal is always to work smarter, not harder.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of your daily workflow, but slowing down and taking an honest evaluation of your processes and work habits pays off in the long run.
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1. Organize Everything & Keep A Schedule
Trust me when I say this, you can never be too organized, and it goes for your professional and personal life. Organization leads to less clutter, a decrease in stress levels and happier customers and staff. As the leader, you’ll also have more energy and be more pleasant to deal with at work and home.
Avoid a messy office, lost files and missed appointments by dedicating time to organizing everything that has to do with how you run your business. Also, manage a calendar and schedule to keep things around you running smoothly. Polish and clean up your portfolio and presentation materials, so you’re prepared to meet with customers no matter the day or time.
2. Take Advantage Of Technology
Technology can be your best friend or worst enemy, but that doesn’t mean to completely dismiss it. Take advantage of technology and productivity apps as much as possible. Although there’s always the risk of something breaking or malfunctioning, these problems are resolvable. The bottom line is that technology will make your life easier.
For example, having an iPad on the job allows you to quickly showcase high-quality images of your work to customers, retrieve important documents on the spot and win more jobs. An iPad is especially handy for someone who’s often bouncing around to different locations and clients.
3. Make Your Health A Priority
Besides growing your business, what other activities do you enjoy? Are you a runner, biker, enjoy a hot cup of coffee or reading books? Whatever it is you enjoy, schedule time for personal health and relaxation.
If you’re not healthy and taking care of yourself, it reflects in and affects the health of your business. Not having the time is an excuse, and that’s why organization, a schedule and structure are so important to maintaining balance and stability.
4. Understand & Document How You Spend Time
Continuing to rush around and tackle every task that’s flying around in your head will only leave you feeling exhausted and distracted at the end of the day. Refocus your attention from checking off to-do lists to better understanding how you’re spending your time, and if what you’re doing is the best use of your time.
We all have the same amount of hours in a day, but some are better than others at using their time more wisely. They’re successful without feeling burned-out because they concentrate their efforts on productivity and efficiency.
5. Sideline Non-Urgent Emails
Setting priorities is the first step to a more productive workflow. Determining and making a list of what’s urgent and non-urgent on your to-do list is critical for efficiency. Emails are the number one task that take up most of our time in business.
Laptops and phone notifications come at you non-stop. It’s up to you to decide the ones you give your time and energy to each day. Decide what needs your attention now and what can wait. This is the only way to ensure productivity levels increase.
6. Slow Down On Personal Social Media
You may not even be aware of it, but it’s possible you’re spending more time than you think attending to personal social media notifications. While you’re not the only one attending to personal matters at work, it’s good to take note how it cuts into productivity time for your business.
You have the freedom to use social media as you choose, however, consider using your time on social media to respond to customer inquiries and optimize your mobile phone for business. If you’re not ready to cut back, you may want to start with tracking how much time you’re spending on social media each day and how much of that time accounts for messing around on your personal accounts.
7. Set Realistic Productivity Goals
Yes, set goals, but the keyword with this tip is realistic. Of course, there’s a time and place for lofty, stretch goals, but be sure to track and hit the goals that are keeping your business profitable first. This also means documenting targets as part of your business plan and mapping out the steps you’re going to take to reach them.
The moral of the story is to give your business and customers all you got, but not at the expense of a decrease in efficiency. There’s a difference between the ones that make it and the ones that don’t. Give yourself a better chance of success by focusing on improving productivity.