Successful business owners know how to make the most of every minute of every day.
Wasted time costs money and clients, but when you’re slowed down by administrative tasks, an over-flowing inbox and endless meetings it can be hard to keep up, so here are ten ways to maximise your productivity every day:
1. Use time blocks
I’ve never been particularly good at organising my day, but since I’ve started working with a personal assistant, I’ve learned that scheduling is everything.
My day is now organised into 20 minute slots so that I never spend too much time agonising over one task. It means that I never get stuck on a phone call, for example, and it means that every part of my day is productive.
If there’s a more complicated issue to deal with I just assign two or three slots to that particular task.
2. Prioritise tasks
As the leader of a company you should only really be working on top priority tasks as those are the ones which will most benefit the growth of your business.
I number my tasks from 1 to 3 according to their importance (1 being the most urgent and 3 the least). If you’re overwhelmed with lots of tasks tasks in a day, it’s a good way of focusing your attention on the most important jobs.
3. Minimise distractions
Social media is an easy distraction and can end up consuming huge chunks of your day. Delete apps off your work phone and avoid taking personal devices into the office.
It works the other way too. When you’re on holiday, switch off from work properly so that you can give your mind a rest and enjoy relaxing. I swap my smart phone for an old Nokia handset so that there’s no temptation to check my inbox and if there’s something urgent, the office will text or call.
4. Set achievable goals
It’s useful to remind yourself of what you’re trying to achieve from time to time. Write down your professional goals and set deadlines so that you can keep track of how the business is progressing.
When you’re busy it’s easy to loose sight of the bigger picture, but goals will remind you of what you should be focusing your attention on.
5. Schedule in breaks
Incorporate regular breaks into your daily routine so that you actually take them. It can be tempting when you’re absorbed in work to just plough through, but your mind will benefit from a rest and you’ll be able to approach problems with a new perspective.
6. Delegate as much as you can
Most entrepreneurs struggle with delegating jobs. Partly because they want to do the work and partly because they don’t trust anyone else to do as good a job.
Learning to hand over responsibility is one of the most effective and simplest ways to boost productivity. If you’ve spent time hiring an exceptional team of employees, it makes sense to use them.
Any task that’s not directly contributing to the growth of your organisation can be delegated. Make your expectations clear and provide detailed instructions, then leave them to it whilst you put your skills to better use.
7. Cut back on meetings
Meetings can be extremely beneficial if they’re for the purpose of networking or solving a pressing issue, but attending a meeting about whether to increase the order of coffee capsules for your office isn’t worth your time.
Only schedule meetings if it’s important for you to discuss the matter in person and make sure you’re fully prepared so that the meeting is as productive as possible.
I practise meditation for at least 20 minutes every day to increase my focus and positivity. It can seem like a waste of time particularly if you’re stressed and busy at work, but clarity of thought is absolutely key to making sensible decisions and it boosts creativity enormously.
Make it part of your routine and you’ll really start to look forward to letting your mind unwind.
9. Go to bed early and get up early
If you’re tired when you arrive at the office, chances are it will be an unproductive day. A good night’s sleep should be one of your main priorities. It will lower your stress levels and increase your creativity.
I find that exercising in the morning also helps to boost my mood. When I can, I surf before work so that I arrive exhilarated and excited about the day’s work.
10. Get rid of your desk
I’ve been using a stand up desk for several years now and find that it helps me feel more dynamic, motivated and engaged with my work.
I’m the type of person who needs to be constantly active and I get restless and depressed if I’m sedentary for too long. I use an earpiece for phone calls so that I can actually walk around. It means that I’m more animated, which is especially beneficial if I’m on a sales call.
About the author
Richard Walton is the Founder of AVirtual a company that provides virtual PAs to small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups. He is regularly featured in the press talking about topics such as work-life balance and productivity.
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