Five Ways to Be More Productive as a Small Business Owner
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a small business owner is using my days productively, even when no one is telling me what to do or when to do it. It’s so very easy to sit down, immediately forget what you were going to do, and suddenly find yourself distracted by a thousand other tasks. And even though you were busy, at the end of the day, you feel like you've not accomplished anything and like you're going nowhere. To battle this, I've tested lots of productivity techniques to figure out the best ways to help me stay on track and use my time well. Below are the five best ways I’ve found help me be a more productive business owner - I hope they’re helpful for you as well!
1. A Consistent Morning Routine
This is something I struggle with daily, but I know that a consistent morning routine sets you up for success. It allows you to have a clearer, sharper mind and more energy to get things accomplished through the day. It's a proven fact that people with a consistent morning routine are happier, healthier, and have more long term success and well-being than those who hit the snooze button every morning until they go straight to work. Trust me, I know how tempting is it to roll out of bed and immediately check your email, but discipling yourself to spend a few minutes reading, exercising, and being alone before facing the morning’s challenges sets the groundwork for a successful day.
2. Use a Planner & Schedule out the Day
The last thing I do before closing in the evening is create a schedule for the following work day. I list out everything that I want to accomplish and create a loose schedule of events to ensure I have enough hours to complete everything on the list. For me, it helps to have a physical planner sitting on my desk that I can continually refer to and check tasks off as they are completed. There’s a huge sense of satisfaction when I place check marks in boxes, and it’s helpful to have something physical to look and remind me what I should be doing when I inevitably find myself distracted and scrolling through Facebook.
3. Pomodoro Technique
Hands down, my most productive days are ones that I utilize the Pomodoro Technique. Basically, this is a technique that states that you are most productive when you work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. Each 25 minute segment is called a “pomodoro”, and after three pomodoros you may take a 15 minute break. It’s based on the idea that your brain can focus best on a task for 25 minutes at a time without taking a break. Setting a short, distinct period of time helps me to set goals, eliminate distractions, and focus intently until the buzzer goes off and I can take a break. I have a greater sense of structure throughout my day, and I love that I can make it a game to compete with myself to get things done before the pomodoro is up. I use an app called “flat tomato” to time myself, and I love it.
4. Take breaks
I’m really bad at this, but taking consistent breaks is essential to remaining focused throughout the day. Frequent 15 minute breaks paired with a longer lunch break will ensure that I resist burn-out midway through the day and helps maintain a greater sense of mental well being. And bonus points if I'm leave the office and get some fresh air on these breaks. :)
5. Stick with Your Business Hours
If I do not have a time to shut down for the day that’s written in stone, I tend to procrastinate more throughout the day and work later into the evening. Having a set end time is another perimeter that sets boundaries and deadlines that must be met, causing me to work harder throughout the day. For example, if that email hasn’t been sent by 5:00, it’s going to be sent the following day. So, if I want it to be sent today, I better work harder to get to it before then.
Now it’s your turn ! What do you do to help stay productive throughout the day? I’d love to hear from you, so be sure to leave a comment below!