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6 Ways for Small Businesses to be More Productive
Americans are working longer hours than ever, with four out of 10 people reportedly logging more than 50 hours of work each week. But there’s a catch: According to a recent study by Stanford University, productivity actually declines when these hours are sustained for extended periods of time.
With this statistic in mind, it’s essential that small businesses work smarter in order to be more productive in less time. These six tips will help you add results, not hours, to your workday.
01. Stay Synced For many small business owners, spending all day tethered to a desk isn’t realistic. Make sure all of the information and tools you need, such as your calendar and the programs you use, remain synced across all of your devices. This way your workday doesn’t have to come to a halt if you’re on the go.
02. Follow the 20/80 Rule There’s no shortage of tasks to complete each day, but some are more important to the success of your business than others. Use an app like RescueTime to track how you spend your time and then determine which 20 percent of your time generates 80 percent of your business results. Zero in on those actions and outsource more task-driven items to a network of freelancers like those found on Fiverr or UpWork.
03. De-stress Delegation Utilize a simple project management system such as Asana or Trello to track and assign tasks in one shared space. For each task, create a timeline that includes regular checkpoints to ensure the assigned work is being completed properly and on schedule.
04. Ban Interruptions Running a small business means wearing many hats — and even the smallest distractions can eat up your productivity. With apps such as SelfControl or Freedom you can block access to websites and apps that might pull you away from your work (you know the culprits!) and unwittingly add hours to your day.
05. Take Tasks 52 Minutes At a Time According to data collected by DeskTime, the most productive workers focus on a task for roughly 52 minutes, followed by a 17-minute break. This strategy, not unlike the Pomodoro technique, emphasizes completing one thing at a time with breaks at strict intervals. This is ideal for helping any small business maximize productivity and eliminate multitasking, which studies reveal can reduce productivity by up to 40 percent.
06. Don’t Discount Downtime Sustaining maximum productivity requires some outside stimulus and downtime. Punctuate your day with walks, work outside of the ofﬁce at least once a week or commit to attending conferences or classes that interest and inspire you. These things will motivate you to get more done on a daily basis.
Quick Wins Advice Action Inspiration Maximizing productivity won’t happen overnight, and it may require you to change some habits. Stick with it, and you’ll be working smarter, not harder, in no time. Block off time on your calendar each day to tackle one important task. Choose a time of day when you know you’ll be able to focus solely on that task, such as first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. “You may delay, but time will not.” — Benjamin Franklin, inventor, politician and author
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