Being efficient and effective is the ultimate goal, but what can we do to improve business productivity?
Our time is limited but by choosing to use the time we have to be more productive you will be more focussed, you’ll increase business efficiency and you’ll be better at what you do. It will also improve how you can help people in your business and how you live your life.
First we need to work out what we need to do when to make sure our focus is on the things that will move our business forward and increase business profitability. Spending time on lots of busy tasks will fill our days, but probably isn’t the best plan. You must work out what your purpose is and what you want to achieve from your business?
Why Increase Business Productivity?
When you set out on your business journey did your plan look like your business does now? If not, what would you change?
Being more productive about how you spend your time will free time for what’s important to you, whether that’s spending more time with your family, being able to travel, making regular dates for fun with friends, or simply being able to relax more and make more money so you can buy your dream house or book those holidays.
In this article I am going to share with you my 9 ways to increase business productivity.
How to Increase Business Productivity
1. Focus on your business and keep it simple 👀
Consider carefully what your business focus will be. What do you want to specialise in? Having too many things you do spreads your expertise too far and you won’t make as much progress. Once you’ve decided what you are going to specialise or niche in, you may need to make some difficult decisions and ditch things you’ve previously done. Can you recommend another business who does what you don’t want to do anymore?
Avoid comparison and follow your intuition. You don’t need to be doing all the things.
You can add things to a note on your phone, or into your diary as a good idea for the future.
Beware the shiny object syndrome. It’s really easy to be distracted. Just because you see something that is a great idea, or an offer or opportunity, it doesn’t mean that you should do it right now. Some things can wait.
One thing you need to consider is will this move me in the right direction in my business right now. If it’s not in your strategy plan, then park it in your ideas folder to come back to. Say NO now and wait until it’s the right time.
2. Diary time management to improve business productivity ⏰
This is a really important strategy to improve productivity while working at home. It helps you set clear time for work and life balance.
Work out what you need to get done in your year first. Add those to your wall planner. If you have events or launches they should go in first. It’s good to add in any annual events, fixed dates and holidays now. Using post it notes is a great way to do this first, so you can move things around until you have a rough plan.
Add anything you do monthly.
Then add in your weekly tasks. Make sure you add in self maintenance tasks. Your business needs you to be in good form. If you don’t invest time in you, you may fall ill. Remember to add in some contingency time every day. So if you have to take children to school and collect them at certain times those get added to your diary.
Have a plan. Once you have everything on your wall calendar you can add to your GoogleCalendar or other electronic diary to add repeating tasks.
👉 If it’s not in your diary, ask yourself if it needs to be done.
Each afternoon when you finish your working day, then add the next day’s focus to your diary or whiteboard so you know what your daily tasks will be.
3. Focus and don’t get distracted 🤓
Set Priorities: Eat the frog – do the most difficult tasks earlier in the day. Less demanding tasks go later in the day.
Calls and meetings for example I try to do in the afternoon, emails also can be done as a batch later in the day wherever possible.
Use a timer. There’s a technique called Pomodoro where you set the timer for 25 minutes and then take a break for 5 minutes.
Turn your phone onto airplane mode while you’re working to stop the distracting notifications. Avoid being reactive.
Accountability sessions on zoom where you work with other business owners are very effective. You meet up on the zoom call, tell each other what you’re going to achieve in the session, then leave the camera on while you all get on with the task. At the end of the zoom call you say what you got done. Social media is the ultimate distraction for many people and it’s a difficult one to avoid unless you set yourself some sort of rules.
Producing content before you consume is my top tip here and certainly helps improve my productivity. Avoid scrolling through social media feeds until you’ve been productive in your business. It can be useful to allow yourself a time in the day to go on social media, but beware that it can be a huge time sap and a distraction from your business.
Turning off notifications on your phone and computer is another tip here. It’s amazing how reactive we get when we get the ping from social media or email. Choosing when and how long to spend is a good idea. I like to schedule this in my day once I have achieved other productivity tasks.
4. Set clear boundaries 🙋🏻♀️
It’s ok to say no. Being able to say no doesn’t always come easy, but it is important to do. Hard as this may sound, if you are too available and too helpful people will be taking advantage of you. By all means help people with authenticity, but don’t feel that you need to help everybody all of the time.
For example it’s important that people know when you are available to help them. You should let them know when you are available. It isn’t reasonable to be available 24/7. Weekdays between 12 and 5 is perfectly acceptable as long as that is what people are expecting, so communicate clearly so you manage their expectations.
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5. Outsource tasks not in your zone of genius 👉
This is one of my favourite techniques to improve productivity.
Priorities for you should be things you love doing and are good at. Anything you don’t love or you know others could do better then find out who the business experts are and get them to help you.
Once you have worked out what you can get other people to do you will free up more time to be more productive doing the things you love and bringing in more money to pay for more outsourcing.
6. Batching similar tasks together to make you more productive 🔗
Begin to group similar tasks together to be done together. Take half a day to make video, batch produce, make your graphics on Canva or writing your emails. When you’re in the zone it’s easier to achieve the state of flow. Switching tasks isn’t productive and you’ll waste time getting back on track. This can then be added to your calendar as a regular event and you’ll be much more efficient.
7. Make the most of Tech 👩🏻💻
Automated calendar bookings like Calendly or Book Like a Boss make it so much easier for your clients to book calls with you without the to and fro of checking you’re both free, sending reminders, rescheduling if they cancel etc. This is a really great way to improve sales productivity!
Graphics can be easily created using Canva. The free version is great, but the paid version is even better with being able to add custom fonts, remember your branding colours, add folders, remove backgrounds, schedule your social media posting and much more.
Use tools like Convertbox to create pop ups and online forms to easily collect email address.
Create easy, high converting checkouts with ThriveCart.
8. Community 👥
Surrounding yourself with supportive people who lift you up is one of the productivity hacks I’ve recently discovered. Working as a solopreneur can be lonely and isolating. I find joining an online community really supportive and full of like minded people.
Finding people who are on a similar journey as you is invaluable. You can check in with them whether your brilliant idea is quite as brilliant as you think, or whether they have a better idea. Often people have tried similar things and can offer you their valuable experience.
Having trusted people around you is simply priceless and can save you loads of time and money, preventing you from going down random rabbit holes.
9. Balance and Rest
It’s really important to find balance when you work for yourself. It’s easy to work all the hours on your business, but in reality that doesn’t make you more productive.
You need to refill your cup and make sure you are in the best place physically and emotionally. If you are worn out and working yourself all the hours and you are frazzled, you’ll be more prone to physical and mental illness.
Do take regular breaks from your work. A simple change of scenery can be helpful to stimulate ideas in your business.
Getting outside in the fresh air can give you more in return than the few minutes it costs you in time. Many great ideas can be stimulated when you step away from your computer and your phone.
Plants help keep your air clean in your workspace.
Make sure you are getting good nutrition. Batch cooking larger quantities of healthy food and freezing it also frees up time on other days. Drinking plenty of water is essential to stay hydrated.
Most importantly think about why you wanted to have your own business, remind yourself what you’re doing this for. Balance and fun are what I’m wanting. Ask yourself what you want from your business and life?
Meditation is a great way to get clearer and free up time. Our minds need quiet to process our thoughts.
Journaling is a way to release negative thoughts and then to focus on what we do want to achieve. It’s a good way of letting go of things that might otherwise take up brainspace and will be holding you back if you don’t release them. We all suffer from pain and emotions, journaling is a way of working through these things, which otherwise will limit us. We do get more abundance if that’s what we focus on.
Gratitude is a really good way of bringing more of what you want into your life.
How to Improve Business Productivity Summary
Hopefully after reading this you now have a toolbox of methods to improve productivity that you can apply to your business.
Be confident that you are enough and that you have the ability to succeed. You are unique and are travelling on your own journey. Whatever difficulties you encounter remind yourself you do not need to do everything. Just try doing a few things really well.
One of my favourite quotes is
If you allow yourself to breathe into the depth, wonder, beauty, craziness, and strife–everything that represents the fullness of your life–you can live fearlessly. Because you come to realize that if you just keep breathing, you cannot be conquered.
About the Author
Sally How is a sustainable jewellery designer maker. She makes ethical jewellery in leafy Harrogate, UK and has sold jewellery around the world including John Lewis and will soon feature in Fenwicks.
Sally is also a Pinterest for creatives specialist. Her Pinterest for Creatives group on Facebook is popular with fellow creatives for achieving balance while promoting their business.