The life of a small business owner is certainly not a dull one. You likely spend your days wearing many hats — switching from the role of executive business owner to handy person or clean-up crew or marketing superstar or customer relations specialist. Being able to maximize your time and improve your efficiency is paramount to your success.
Here's how you can be more productive as a small business owner in the new year:
1. Create a Schedule for Yourself.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks, and sometimes, when you feel stressed or overworked, you end up doing less rather than more. One of the first steps that you can take to increase your productivity is to create a realistic and attainable schedule for yourself. For example, you may want to start your day with an hour of organization that includes checking e-mails, updating social accounts and monitoring customer feedback online. Then, you should set aside more time for the other tasks and jobs that you have to do throughout the day. One of the perks of being a small business owner is that you have the freedom to work when and where you want, but it's critical that you still create a consistent schedule that will keep you on-task throughout the day.
2. Minimize Distractions Whenever Possible.
In a world that operates on smart technology, it may seem like it's impossible to avoid distractions. Your phone probably lights up, alerts you and sends you notifications for a variety of reasons at all hours of the day. Any one of these alerts — be it a text message notification, a weather alert, a news update or a reminder to pay a bill — can distract you from the task at hand and prevent you from accomplishing your daily goals. To minimize distraction, turn off all unnecessary notifications before you begin your work day. In addition, keep your phone in a place where it's accessible and you can hear it when you need it — but not necessarily where you will be tempted to check it every few minutes. If you work from a home office, keep the TV off and don't talk to Alexa. Creating a distraction-free environment will allow you to clear your head and stay focused on the important work that you are doing for your business.
3. Get a Virtual Assistant.
Perhaps you are not in a position to hire a full-time assistant who will work on-location at your small business. That doesn't mean that you have to do without the benefits of having an assistant. One of the best ways to increase your productivity as a small business owner is to get a virtual assistant. Your virtual assistant can help you with a variety of tasks, ranging from administrative work to personal errands. A virtual assistant can complete your schedule for you, book your travel arrangements or answer your e-mails. The virtual assistant also can complete your online grocery order, place that Amazon order for you or locate the perfect recipe for your dinner.
The benefits of having a virtual assistant include:
- Saving you both time and money.
- Organizing your business and streamlining your processes.
- Allowing you to focus on your larger goals.
- Giving you the opportunity to do what you love rather than feel stuck doing the administrative work.
- Helping you improve your customer service skills.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage.
Technology may get a bad reputation for being one giant distraction to everyone, but it actually can help make you a more productive small business owner if you use it appropriately. There are many apps that can help you track your productivity and subsequently provide you with tips for how you can better manage your time. As a small business owner, you might enjoy downloading apps that help you:
- Track your fitness and keep yourself focused on healthy goals.
- Identify what you spend your time doing and show yourself how you can better use your time.
- Schedule social posts and manage your online presence.
- Access all of your documents and media from one cloud-based location.
Streamlining your apps and selecting the ones that will best for you and your small business can help you leverage technology so that it benefits you both personally and professionally.
5. Allow Yourself to Enjoy 'Me' Time.
Being a small business owner can be all-consuming. It's easy to fall victim to the endless cycle of daily tasks and larger projects that can make you feel like you have sold your soul to your business. However, if you allow this to happen, you will experience burnout and burnout prevents you from getting anything worthwhile accomplished. Don't be afraid to give yourself some time to do the things you simply enjoy. In fact, you should put this time right into your schedule. By making room for a hobby — such as reading, journaling, drawing or yoga in the park — you will allow yourself to feel refreshed and recharged before you get back to work at your business. It will help you feel better both physically and emotionally, which will in turn make you a better and more productive business owner.
6. Hold Yourself Accountable and Practice Self-Discipline.
Self-discipline is key to becoming a successful entrepreneur who knows how to manage their time effectively. When you are disciplined, you will be able to sit down and work steadily on the task at hand. Not everyone is born with self-discipline, so you may need to train yourself to become more disciplined as a business owner. Some steps that you can take include:
- Write down your short-term and long-term goals, then create a detailed plan for accomplishing them.
- Reward yourself when you accomplish your goals.
- Hold yourself accountable by tracking your progress.
- Allow someone else to hold you accountable. Share your goals with a close friend or relative, and have them check up on you from time-to-time.
As you become more disciplined over time, you will find that productivity comes more easily. It's important to remember that self-discipline is an art form of sorts, and you may have to continue to hone it in the months and years ahead.
7. Prioritize Your Daily, Weekly and Monthly Tasks.
Ultimately, the key to getting productive and staying that way is to keep your priorities in line. When you are running a small business, you are constantly trying to survive the current day while working toward the future. This can be a daunting task, and it is tough to balance the immediate and future needs of your business. By keeping a running list of your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly priorities, you will be able to focus on what needs to be done next. Recognizing which task is most important will allow you to take care of quicker, and will then make more time for the next job at hand.
As a small business owner, your resources are likely stretched thin. Many small business owners find that they take on more work for themselves because they feel like they cannot afford to hire experts and professionals to run their business for them. Not to mention, they don't want to give up control of their pet project to someone who may not love their business in the same way that they do.
Fortunately, a virtual assistant may be the perfect solution for your small business. This affordable option allows you to delegate your tasks to an assistant while you focus on the larger picture. It will increase your productivity in a matter of moments and allow you to realize your business goals faster. When you have the right virtual assistant on your side, it will be easier to implement all of these tips that will help you boost your business productivity.