When you own a small business or work in human resources, your to-do list can be overwhelming. There is always someone you need to talk to or something that needs doing. So how can you take control of your tasks without working overtime and running yourself ragged? These productivity hacks will help you focus, prioritize and use your time more efficiently so you can accomplish everything that needs completing.
Knock Out the Worst First
The easiest of all productivity hacks is simply doing your most dreaded task first each day. As soon as you get to work, when you’re fresh and ready to conquer the day, do the task you dislike the most first. Once it’s over, you give yourself permission to tackle anything else you enjoy doing more.
Limit Screen Time
Your biggest time-suck is your computer screen. Email, software and websites can be huge distractions for a busy employer. To improve your focus and productivity, use apps to block internet access. The SelfControl app will block any websites you find distracting for a set amount of time. Once the timer starts, there is no way to turn it off until time runs out completely – giving you ample time for working on priority items.
If you don’t know where you spend your time online, try a tool like RescueTime. It will audit your daily browsing habits so that you can identify which websites you’re using most often. Depending on your setup, it can also block distracting sites for set periods of time and highlight good work achievements.
If you’re planning to work offline or not check email for a period of time, make sure to note it on your calendar and alert your staff as well.
Can’t help but use the internet while working? Occasionally stumble down a rabbit hole of information? If you find articles online that are helpful, interesting and relevant to your job (but not what you’re currently focusing on) use a tool like Feedly or Pocket to save the posts for later when you have more available time.
Create a To-Do and a Notes List
If your to-do list is so long that you don’t know where to start, use apps such as Trello, Basecamp or Asana to list out everything that needs to get completed. After all your tasks are jotted down, you can then prioritize from most to least important.
After you’ve listed out all necessary items that need completion, keep a notepad beside you where you can write down any notes that come to mind. You may find yourself adding more items to your to-do list or putting down brainstorming ideas for future projects and goals. If you get in the process of regularly jotting down action items and great ideas, you’ll stay better organized and more creative.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
You hired employees because you can’t run an entire business by yourself. Count on your management team or your administrators to help you complete tasks that don’t require your direct input. It can be difficult to give up control, especially when you’ve handled them alone efficiently in the past. Assigning some of your workload to qualified employees isn’t a failure, it’s an accomplishment.
Reconsider Your Meeting Strategy
So much of your (and your employees’) work time gets wasted in meetings. Consider how many you regularly schedule. Do you ever find yourself or your staff multitasking in meetings (for example, checking their phones or email)? If so, the meeting will likely not be as effective as it could be. Develop in-depth agendas and stick to them in a timely manner, and use email for everything that doesn’t need to be discussed in person or in detail.
Invest in Any Tools That Make Your Job Smoother
Need a customer relationship management (CRM) system for lead or customer management? Help is out there; there are dozens of options to choose from. Blitz offers workflows for many industries. Echosign can help you get signatures safely and more efficiently. Gusto is an easy-to-use and cost-effective payroll service.
Are there pain points you encounter daily that could be eased by adopting online tools? If so, make the decision to invest in them. Not only will you be able to perform these tasks even more efficiently, but you’ll be freeing up valuable work time that you could spend completing other projects.
Allow for Downtime
You can’t produce at warp speed without eventually crashing. Build some downtime into your workday. Schedule a couple of 10-minute breaks throughout your workday or play your downtime by ear. Get out of your seat and stretch. Grab a coffee or healthy snack. Check in with your employees. Read through some articles you bookmarked. Basically, just give yourself a chance to recharge on a regular basis. If you want to be as productive as possible, you can’t constantly be going, going, going.
What productivity hack will you implement first? Are you going to create a to-do list or complete your most dreaded task as soon as you get to the office? Take the time today to try one of our suggestions, and you’ll be organized and productive in no time.
Have an additional productivity hack you’d like to share? Tweet it to us at @UnitedConcordia.