If you’re like many small business owners starting out, you’re working without employees. It’s just you, determined to turn your passion into a reality.
Although this has many perks and challenges, one of the biggest obstacles to your success is dealing with distractions that threaten your personal productivity. Being more productive means getting more done in less time — an important skill for many business owners working by themselves. Use these four tips to focus on improving your own productivity:
Schedule Your Day to Minimize Distractions
As a solopreneur, you are the go-to person for all business communications, but there are times when you need to be focused on the task at hand without distractions, especially when you’re working on tasks critical to growing your business, such as fulfilling orders, completing projects or making sales calls. Maximize your productivity by scheduling the tasks that require your undivided attention during times when distractions are less likely. This may mean you get most of your difficult, hands-on work done early in the morning or late at night. Working odd hours may help you get more because you’re free of certain distractions.
When scheduling your day, take a hard look at each thing you did yesterday. Was it essential to building your business? If not, get ruthless about cutting the time-wasting activities to free up time for more productive tasks.
Block off Time for Specific Goals
When you’re the only one working on building your business, it’s critical to keep your sales and marketing activity levels on track. If you aren’t consistently keeping up with your email, making sales calls, reaching out to potential customers or following up with warm sales leads, you won’t get more business.
But there’s plenty that can get in the way. Fires can pop up throughout the day that can prevent you from getting these tasks, and really put a hamper on your personal productivity. But if you start to schedule the important things in a daily planner, whether online or in an old-fashioned appointment book — and keep to it — nothing else can take that time from you. Block off a time each day and dedicate it to working through your inbox, making five or 10 sales calls, crafting introductory letters or whatever your personal goals for the day or month might entail.
Embrace Apps and Systems for Efficiency
Today’s technology gives small business owners many inexpensive (or free) apps and software systems to maximize personal productivity. Use an app like Google Calendar to track your appointments, tasks, events and even your to-do list. Sync it across your devices for maximum efficiency — that way, you’ll only have to input information once.
Track important notes, information and project outlines on apps like Evernote that are available for smartphones, tablets and laptops. Use the Workflow app to program your phone, so repetitive tasks get completed in one tap — like ordering new stationary each month, for example.
Pay Attention to Your Attention
This may come as a surprise, but not everyone is a morning person. While launching your own business may require you to get up earlier than you like, you may find that you are most productive around lunch time, or even in the evening. Pay close attention to when you feel most energetic and alert, and try to schedule your critical activities for those times. You’ll likely still have work to do at times when you feel easily distracted, but try to stick to tasks that don’t require maximum focus or attention at these times of day.
Boosting your personal productivity won’t happen overnight, but stick with it. Everyone is different, so watch out for threats to your own productivity — distractions, time wasters and less-than-efficient routines can all be cut out or streamlined to save time and effort in your day.
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