Five productivity hacks for small businesses
Time is always a precious commodity, and small business owners will often do whatever they can to wring the most out of every minute, trying to achieve as much as possible in every workday.
Of course, there’s always a right way and a wrong way to do anything and being busy is no different. If you’re overburdened by the workload at your small business, read on for some productivity hacks that can help you get things done sooner, and smarter.
Automate repetitive processes
Got a ton of repetitive tasks that chew up time for you or the employees at your small business? Find a way to automate with tools, apps and other technologies that perform basic functions for you. Take a closer look at tools such as Tasker, IFTTT, and Zapier to see whether they can help you streamline your daily processes and save valuable time.
Stop answering almost all incoming phone calls
There are, of course, obvious exceptions to this one, such as when you’re expecting a call from a key client or working through the final details of a deadline project. By and large, however, most of us could add more minutes to our day by dramatically cutting down on the time we spend talking on the phone. Schedule some time late in the afternoon to check your messages and return calls to anyone important (consider following up with a text or email instead). If you’ve got an assistant or right-hand colleague, include their name and number in your voicemail greeting in case a caller needs urgent attention. Hiring a remote ‘virtual’ receptionist is another option, one that can give your business a sense of cachet with callers.
Stop wasting time in meetings
Stop scheduling or accepting meetings that don’t have a clear, defined, and relevant agenda. When you do accept a meeting, be up front about how much time you’re willing to devote and make it clear that you intend to stick to that amount – 30 minutes is generally the most you should need. Try to keep the number of attendees as small as possible; only ‘VIPs’ should be on the guest list for your exclusive gatherings. Arrive prepared, start on time, stick to the agenda, and try to avoid unnecessary chit-chat. With some discipline, you might be able to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting in meetings by 50 percent.
When you do hold meetings, consider skipping the chairs. Standing meetings can promote a sense of alertness and engagement among the attendees.
Start working on tomorrow today
Before you wrap up for the day, spend a few minutes looking at what lies ahead tomorrow. Start thinking about how you’re going to tackle the key items at the top of your to do list. Who are you meeting with, where, and why? When you start mentally preparing for tomorrow’s tasks ahead of time, you’re more likely to be in the right frame of mind when the time comes, ready to get things done.
Learn how to say no to things
Nothing manages your time better than not filling it in the first place. Many of us find it tempting to say yes to as many people as we possibly can and struggle to decline requests. The truth is your time is far too valuable to agree to each and every thing that comes your way. Be judicious about the offers and engagements you accept, and delegate as many daily tasks as you can to your team. If you find it especially difficult to say no, consider preparing a script in advance before turning something or somebody down.