Setting up your own small business takes a lot of hard work and determination, but it is more challenging to maintain a consistently high level of productivity as your business grows. The pressure of deadlines, the dullness of routine tasks and a lack of focus are some of the hampering factors. Follow these 12 ways to stay productive in your small business.
1. Plan Tasks
People often resort to multi-tasking in a bid to manage time and get more work done. More often than not, this creates a lack of focus and none of the tasks have a high-quality finish. A better idea for improved efficiency is to club together 2-3 similar tasks; for example, while logged into the Internet, you can check e-mail and carry out bank transactions. Plan the day’s tasks first thing in the morning and track them every couple of hours.
2. Organize the Office
Being organized saves time when you are looking for something urgently. This goes for both physical assets like files, folders and other office stationery as well as soft copies of documents stored on computers and back-up discs. An organized, clutter-free workspace has a professional look, which is important when clients visit your business establishment. It also makes a good impression on your staff, and they will respect you for it.
3. Outsource Routine Tasks
Running a business involves many administrative, accounting and other peripheral tasks. In the beginning, you may manage to do all these things on your own, and outsourcing them might seem like a cost overhead. But as your business grows, each task demands more of your time and builds up the pressure. Hiring people is a wise investment in the long run, but nowadays, there are versatile technological tools that make such tasks quicker and easier. You are left with time and energy to deal with core business matters and stay focused for growth.
4. Do Not Push Yourself Too Much
While ambition is essential to drive your entrepreneurial spirit, do not set over-ambitious goals that can push you over the edge with stress and frustration. Your business has a long way to go and grow; maintain achievable, short-term goals that allow you to enjoy the experience as you go along.
5. Limit your Working Hours
Just because you now have a small business to look after does not mean you should ignore your family or personal life. Do not let yourself be tagged as a workaholic because it is nothing to boast about. Decide the working hours for your small business and make sure you and your staff stick to them within reasonable limits. When you return to work, you will be surprised to see how fresh, energetic and inspired you are.
6. Set Deadlines
Beat the procrastination evil by setting deadlines and communicating them clearly to your staff. This will motivate you to get tasks completed on time. Better yet are deadlines promised to external parties such as clients since they are paying for your services and are not likely to make the compromises that you might internally manage. Moreover, as this directly affects the reputation of your business, the stakes are higher.
7. Get Rid of Distractions
Set up your computer system such that personal e-mail and social media sites like Facebook are blocked. There are software tools that enable this, or you can get it done through an IT administrator. You can allocate certain times of the day when these sites can be accessed.
8. Use Whiteboards
You never know when creative juices will start flowing, so you must be ready to capture them anytime. It also pays to see your thoughts and ideas written down; this makes them seem more achievable and helps you focus. Install a whiteboard in the office and stock up on marker pens. Whiteboards are also excellent for brain-storming during meetings, tracing paths through flowcharts, preparing schedules and creating to-do lists.
9. Play Music
Music is known to stimulate the mind, but you don’t want to waste time searching through your collection while at work. Create a 1-hour playlist of the songs that you like before-hand. Choose upbeat tracks that make you feel more energetic and drown out ambient noise like people talking and phones ringing. Some people prefer to take a power nap while instrumental music plays softly in the background; it helps them recharge their batteries for the rest of the work day ahead.
10. Exercise Regularly
Incorporate exercises like sit-ups or brisk walking into your daily activities at work. However, this is not break-time; your mind will be as active as the rest of your body at such times. Use the opportunity to attend to calls or simply come up with ideas and make pending decisions. While walking, ensure that you choose a path where you are less likely to bump into colleagues and friends, lest you get stuck chatting with them.
Meeting other self-motivated individuals like yourself is a great way to get vitalized in your job. It helps if their business belongs to the same industry, but even otherwise, it gives you a chance to hear other people’s ideas. This may spark your own innovation and gives you some much-needed time away from the stress and humdrum of the office.
12. Take Inspiration from Nature
Go green, literally, by placing pots randomly around the workspace. Greenery will help boost your creativity and calm your nerves. Open the windows to let in fresh air and natural daylight, and keep desks clean and free of clutter.