You probably feel a certain amount of productivity when you stay busy throughout the day. You’re jumping from task to task and feel like you’re getting a lot done. When the work day is over, what do you have time left to accomplish? Probably not much. Like any local business owner, we bet you’re tapped and would give your left shoe for a couple extra hours in the day.
This year, we want you to work smart, not hard. Okay, maybe work a little hard. But, there’s no use wearing yourself out one day only to show up to your business with zero energy the next.
Mark Twain famously said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. Obviously, we’re not telling you to trade your bowl of cereal for Kermit. What we are saying is tackle the hard stuff first. By completing the most daunting tasks early in the morning, the rest of the day’s activities and challenges will seem much more surmountable.
- Know where your time goes.
Do you know how much time you’re spending on different tasks throughout the day? It may sound tedious, but tracking the time you spend on everyday tasks can help you understand if you’re focusing your time in the right places. Here’s another thought. Ever find yourself waiting around? Plan ahead for this downtime. Use it to knock out small tasks like quick phone calls or email correspondence.
Another time-suck may be unexpected interruptions. What sort of things get you off track throughout the day? Are you being scheduled for meetings that are a total waste of time? Don’t be afraid to decline. If the thought of saying, “no” gives you an uneasy feeling, at least make a commitment to make meetings more productive. Ensure every meeting culminates with at least one big decision or action item.
- Delegate or automate.
If your to-do list houses several items that never really get crossed off or have been there more than a few days, it may be time to delegate or automate these tasks. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of these are things we don’t really want to do, feel underprepared to take care of, or maybe we don’t even know where to start.
That’s where your team comes in. You hired them for a reason, after all. Don’t be afraid to lean on your office manager, a lead staff member or someone else to take a couple tasks off your plate. It’ll be a relief for you, and it’ll also serve as a development opportunity for them to take on more responsibility!
Automating can mean a lot of things. What we’re referring to is business software systems that can manage some of the more common business processes for you. You’re probably aware of products like Quickbooks to take care of your accounting needs, or perhaps Salesforce to cover Customer Relationship Management (CRM). There are tons of options available. It’s all about finding what solution fits your company’s needs best.