As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you know that time is money, and as such it’s your most valuable commodity. Given most of the workload is still falling on your shoulders, finding ways to organize your workday for success is essential if your business is going to gain traction in an ever-increasing marketplace.
These six tips should get you thinking about how to get the maximum returns on your day without adding long hours that will quickly lead to burnout.
- Start with your emails – If you want to break that email addiction, it might be time to set the alarm earlier and tackle your inbox first thing in the morning. This can also help you prioritize your day.
- Schedule meetings in the morning – this applies to important phone calls as well. You are at peak energy in the morning, with no slump and a big shot of caffeine somewhere in your system. Meetings at the end of the day will have people glancing at the clock wondering if they’ll make it out on time. Morning meetings will be more productive and allow you to follow up on any action points on the same day. Don’t forget to make sure that every meeting has a clear goal and an agenda that will meet that goal so that they use up the minimal amount of time possible.
- Build in organizing breaks – the adage “work smarter, not harder” should be pinned up directly above your work station. None of your customers or clients care if you work 8 or 18-hour days if the product or service is of good quality. The best way to keep these hours under control is to block off chunks of time each day to organize and sort through what’s happened so far. This time can act as “catch all” time, where you can revisit incomplete tasks or simply give yourself a breather.
- Get moving and get some fresh air during lunch – This step requires you to set aside time for lunch every day. Even if you can only afford 15 min, make the most of it by taking your lunch with you for a quick walk. Getting some exercise in the middle of the day is a great way to clear your head, find inspiration and get endorphins working to help you kick the afternoon crash.
- Keep prioritized to-do lists – you’ll quickly find that having one overarching to-do list will become overwhelming by the middle of the week and having separate to-do lists for each compartment of your business can lead to confusion and tasks being missed. A better way to organize is to have a 3 section to-do list – things that need to be done today, things that need to be done in the next week, and big things that aren’t due soon but that you don’t want to forget. You can then move tasks from section to section and prioritize your energies effectively.
- Outsource the menial tasks – Outsourcing should be a part of any businesses strategy. It’s cost effective, which means you don’t get stuck working on low value tasks. You can delegate to a Virtual Office Assistant, so you can focus on what matters most, growing your business.
Finally, to ensure you’ve organized your workday for success, at the end of every day, you should be making time for yourself to reflect on what happened; both achievements and things that didn’t go so well. You may want to think about rating your own efficiency and thinking of ways that you either gained or lost time over the course of the day. The trademark of a truly successful person is the never-ending quest to be better. Before you leave, clear your desk and set yourself a clear goal to start on in the morning. That way, you’ll be raring to go and your brain will already start to tackle the problem before you arrive at your desk.