As a business owner, you have to wear many different hats. That’s just the reality these days. At month end, you’re an accountant, when employees complain (that’s always fun) you’re in HR, and when you need to make payroll, you’re in sales. Unfortunately, in many cases, you can’t simply take a hat or two off - what needs to be done needs to be done. But the problem is: there's limited hours in a day.
Have you ever walked into the office, made a pot of coffee, and the next time you looked outside it’s dark and you haven’t even started working on what you planned to? Yup, I know the feeling.
So, what’s important is for you is to find ways to make yourself more productive and make the most out of your time. Here are five ways that should help:
Learn to Delegate
When you run a business, you end up being the brain, arms, and legs of the company. While it may be exciting at first, there’s just no way to get everything done on time.
For starters, figure out which tasks can be accomplished by someone else and delegate accordingly. It may seem like a good idea for you to have a say in every decision, or to simply “do things right yourself,” but at the end of the day, you have bigger things to take care of. Plus, no one likes a micro-manager. Try using an app, like Task Delegation by Google, or Trello to distribute tasks among your team and track their progress. You’ll be glad you did.
Work in Time Chunks
The “Pomodoro Technique” is a great time management strategy that can help you complete tasks with less mental fatigue. For every task, schedule your day in time chunks and work in small bursts. Just set your phone alarm for 25 minutes. Eliminate any distractions and focus on the task at hand. When the alarm goes off, take a short break. Check your email, read a few pages from a book, stretch your legs or browse your favourite website. Then, start again. Although it can be very hard to avoid distractions while working on a set task, if you stay disciplined, your productivity is sure to improve.
Improve Internal Collaboration with Office 365
Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud version of Office, is a great tool that can help you increase productivity and keep your small business competitive. Because it’s in the cloud, you can access your files and applications whenever, and wherever you want.
One of the best features of Office 365 is the internal collaboration capability. Your employees can upload a file to the document library, share it with another user or group, and work on the document together in real time. You never have to worry about working in an old version of a document again. Plus, the benefits of cloud are plentiful for business owners. Want to spend an extra day at the lake but still get work done? Stay home with the kids on one of their days off? As long as you have an internet connection, this won’t be an issue. Office 365 and cloud solutions are without a doubt a must have for any small or medium business.
Focus on Key Result Areas 80/20
The ol’ 80-20 rule, I’m sure most, if not all readers have heard of it before. Although probably overly referenced, its basic principle is strong and can be applied across a number of disciplines.
According to Pareto Principle, 80% of results come from only 20% of the efforts. In other words, you need to prioritize each task by the amount of effort required. Determine what tasks of the 80% aren’t producing the results you want. Do you have that one client that just sucks up your resources like a black hole? We all do. Sometimes it’s best to let go of those clients and focus on others. It may not even be the client's fault (or maybe it is), but they may just not be a good fit for your business model.
Now, find out what from the 20% of effort is contributing to 80% of the results. This is where you’re making your money and where things are working.
Manage Your Contacts More Effectively
You probably don’t have an organized contact list. Some of your contacts are saved in Outlook while others are saved to your phone. There are also those you’ve connected with on Linkedin. It can be challenging to manage them all and find the information you need, when you need it.
With Office 365, you can synchronize all of your contacts and manage them together in one place. That way, you won’t have to worry about using the wrong email address or missing an important notification.
Building new habits take time
Success can’t happen without hard work and determination. Likewise, productivity doesn’t happen by accident. It is the result of good practices, smart strategies, and the right tools. So make sure you hone in on your current practices, and think of ways to improve them.
Want to learn more about technology that can help you improve productivity like Office 365? Give us a call at 905-660-4118 and we’ll explain the different tools and strategies available to you so you can get the most out of your time and escape the office at a good hour.