As a busy small business owner, you juggle many tasks at once, so productivity is essential. Still, you might not realize how dramatically minor changes can improve the efficiency of your workflow.
We’ve gathered several suggestions you can start using almost immediately to help get things done faster.
Try These 8 Productivity Hacks for Busy Small Business Owners:
1. Set SMART, Process-Based Goals
The last self-help book you read might have discussed setting goals with the SMART system. It’s a widely-accepted practice of setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timeframe-based. By making sure your aspirations have those characteristics, you’ll be more likely to achieve the goals you set.
However, it’s not enough if the goals only exist in your head. It’s ideal to write them down and talk about them with a friend. 76 percent of people who did this achieved their goals, while only 43 percent succeeded with unwritten aspirations.
When coming up with new goals, keep in mind that process-based goals can be more fruitful than outcome-based ones. They encourage people to take small steps towards achievement every day. Outcome-driven goals could make you feel overwhelmed because they seem so far away and unattainable.
2. Get a Virtual Receptionist
Answering calls and talking to customers over the phone can take up a big chunk of your workday. Automating this task through a virtual receptionist can not only save you tons of time, but can also make a small business seem more significant and impressive to clients.
Data from one case study indicated using a virtual receptionist boosted staff efficiency by 21 percent. This could free up your employees to use their most valuable skills and not waste time figuring out phone systems or doubling as receptionists.
Even better, virtual receptionists are more affordable than hiring an in-house receptionist, so you can keep saving money even as you scale your operations.
3. Work in 90-Minute Blocks
You might be in the habit of working until you’ve reached the realization that continuing is counterproductive. That’s a common strategy, but it contradicts scientific findings.
Studies have shown that working in 90-minute segments is best for maximum productivity. This amount of time limits fatigue and allows recovery during the rest time. As a result, people keep their minds sharp and stress levels lower. Consider using a timer app or a feature on your watch to provide an audible cue once you’ve worked for an hour-and-a-half.
4. Have Standing Meetings and Group Work
Researchers have found that people who remain standing while in meetings and collaborate in a standing position instead of sitting down are more engaged than individuals who sit. The simple switch from seated sessions to ones where people stand up could lead to more productive gatherings. Plus, it should discourage people from getting long-winded when they realize colleagues are standing up and waiting for them to conclude a meeting.
When trying this practice, give employees notice about the new method of conducting meetings. Also, back up your announcement with the reasons why you’re using the technique; doing so gives validity to the action.
5. Stock the Break-room With Healthy Snacks
Research from international health organizations shows the things employees eat could impact their productivity. Whole grains, raw carrots, blueberries and nuts are some of the readily-available snacks you could offer in the break room for employees to graze on throughout the day.
If the break room area has a whiteboard or bulletin board, consider using the board to highlight a statistic that enforces how certain healthy foods could help people get more done. Don’t forget to keep some of those foods in your personal workspace, too! Portion them into snack-sized plastic bags to make them easier to eat and discourage overindulgence.