There are never enough hours in the day for small business owners, so we’ve created a guide on how to be more productive, less stressed and happier at work.
Like most people, there’s probably a million things you need to get done every day but just can’t find the time. For business owners, this can be an even bigger problem, which is why we’ve created this guide to help you make the most of every moment.
Good morning habits
Studies have shown that when you stop having to think about what to do next, and start planned activities, you’ll be less stressed and happier.
Master the science of scheduling
A to-do list isn’t enough. By scheduling your day first thing in the morning you’ll have to actively think about essential daily tasks and crucially how long they will take.
Try using a time tracker like toggl. It’ll boost your productivity and ensure you know how long tasks actually take to complete. If it takes 45 minutes to clear your inbox instead of the scheduled 20 then it’s time to change your plan.
Tidy desk, tidy mind
Does a messy desk inspire you or terrify you? Studies have shown it’s either one way or the other for most people, and if you’re the latter it’s time for a desk-top detox.
Stacks of paper will make you feel overburdened and stressed, as well as being a potential distraction. There’s an easy way to preserve your scheduling zen: strip down to the bare essentials.
A PC, laptop, or tablet
Notepad + pen
You can also consider a paperless office. Digital documents are better for the environment and can be accessed anywhere via the cloud, which means you aren’t tied to an office.
Let’s fight back against the biggest time drain in the office:
The first rule of meetings is never go in unprepared. If there’s no agenda then there’s no meeting. Don’t be afraid of keeping people on track - they’ll thank you for it later.
Collaboration tools like Skype for Business are great for video conferences, but without a business broadband line you’ll likely suffer connection issues. The same applies with phone meetings; unless you want a crackly line, make sure you get a dedicated business landline or mobile connection. You can see the sort of solutions we have for this here
Businesses benefit from being on social media but there’s a smart way of doing it. Instead of repeatedly interrupting your day to post updates, create and schedule a batch of content to post automatically. It creates an ‘always-on’ social media presence without the same over-investment of time. There are plenty of easy-to-use tools online like Hootsuite, or buffer. Find the one that works for you.
Firstly, reduce the amount of emails you receive with a service like Sanebox. It learns what matters to you, so you can focus on important emails across multiple providers and devices.
Secondly, turn off email notifications on all of your devices. Your concentration is broken every time you see a notification or your smartphone buzzes - so stay strong and check in at scheduled intervals.
There’s more to life than endless emails, so make your day productive by communicating more effectively at work.
Tools like Slack and Trello are great for businesses who want one tool for all their comms. You can easily send and organise messages, whether it be business-wide or in project teams. And these collaboration tools will work across all of your devices.
Similar to scheduling your social updates, automation can streamline other areas of your business. For example, pre-templated emails from providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact save a lot of time. These emails can then be scheduled to go out at regular intervals (monthly newsletters, pre-planned sales etc.) which takes the immediate pressure off.
Simplify customer payment interactions
You can also automate your cashflow, with automated payment systems that send comms to customers at various points in the buying cycle (i.e. sign-up, order confirmation, delivery). Finding ways to speed up transactions can also be helpful.
Cloud storage helps your business by providing secure, instant access to your data wherever you are, from any device. Most small businesses would struggle to afford the server space necessary to store their business data, or the systems securing it, making the cloud a great alternative to installing or buying a server. It’ll also help make your business General Data Protection Compliant (GDPR). Consider this when selecting a provider:
Ensure your provider has no caps on upload/download bandwidth speed or file sizes
Ensure your provider offers a full back-up and restore – crucial in the event of a cyber attack
By following these tips and tricks you’ll not only have a more productive day, you’ll be less stressed and able to focus on the bigger things, like how to grow your business. To check out more ways to make your business ready for anything, take a look at our other Insights articles here