There are never enough hours in the day for small business owners, so we’ve created a guide on how to be more productive, less stressed and happier at work.
Like most people, there’s probably a million things you need to get done every day but just can’t find the time. For business owners, this can be an even bigger problem, which is why we’ve created this guide to help you make the most of your time.
Good morning habits
Studies have shown that when you stop having to think what to do next and start planned activities, you’ll be less stressed and happier.
Master the science of scheduling
A to-do list isn’t enough. By scheduling your day first thing in the morning you’ll have to think about essential daily tasks and crucially how long it will take.
Try using a time tracker like toggl. It’ll boost your productivity and ensure you know how long tasks actually take to complete. If it takes 45 minutes to clear your inbox instead of the scheduled 20 then it’s time to change your plan.
Tidy desk, tidy mind
Does a messy desk inspire you or terrify you? Studies have shown you’re either one or the other and if you’re the latter it’s time for a desk top detox.
Stacks of paper will make you feel overburdened and stressed, as well as being a potential distraction. There’s an easy way to preserve your scheduling zen: strip down to the bare essentials.
• A PC, laptop, or tablet
• Notepad + pen
You can also consider a paperless office. Digital documents are better for the environment and can be accessed anywhere via the cloud, which means you aren’t tied to an office..
Let’s fight back against the biggest time sucks in the office:
The first rule of meetings is never go in unprepared. If there’s no agenda then there’s no meeting. Don’t be afraid of keeping people on track.
Collaboration tools like Skype for Business are great for video conferences but without a business broadband line you’ll likely suffer connection issues. The same applies with phone meetings; unless you want a crackly line, make sure you get a dedicated business landline or mobile connection – choose the UK’s leading network, with extensive 4G coverage.
Businesses benefit from being on social media but there’s a smart way of doing it. Instead of repeatedly interrupting your day to post updates, create and schedule a batch of content to post automatically. It creates an always on social media presence without the same investment of time. Check out our Small Business Owner’s Guide to Social Media for more tips.
Firstly, reduce the amount of emails you receive with a service like Sanebox. It learns what matters to you, so you can focus on important emails, across multiple providers and devices.
Secondly, turn off email notifications on all of your devices. Your concentration will be broken every time you see a notification or your smartphone buzzes. Stay strong and check in at scheduled intervals.
There’s more to life than endless emails, so here’s how to communicate effectively at work.
Tools like Slack and Trello are great for businesses who want one tool for all their comms. From the business-wide to individual or project teams, you can easily send and organise messages. These collaboration tools work across all of your devices.
Similar to scheduling your social updates, automation can streamline other areas of your business. For example, pre-templated emails from providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact save a lot of time. These emails can then be scheduled to go out at regular intervals (monthly newsletters, pre-planned sales etc.) which takes the immediate pressure off.
Simplify customer payment interactions
You can also automate your cashflow, with automated payment systems that send comms to customers at various points in the buying cycle (i.e. sign-up, order confirmation, delivery). Don’t forget to explore ways to speed up transactions – check out our guide to cashless payments.
Cloud storage helps your business by providing secure, instant access to your data wherever you are, from any device. Most small businesses would struggle to afford the server space necessary to store their business data, or the systems securing it. It’ll also help make your business General Data Protection Compliant (GDPR). Consider this when selecting a provider:
• Ensure your provider has no caps on upload/download bandwidth speed or file sizes
• Ensure your provider offers a full back-up and restore – crucial in the event of a cyber attack
• Ensure you have a stable connection to your cloud data, with a dedicated business broadband line and remote access from the largest mobile network in the UK
Welcome to your new and improved day
By following these tips and tricks you’ll not only have a more productive day, you’ll be less stressed and able to focus on the bigger things, like how to grow your business. To check out more ways to make your business ready for anything, check out some more great content on Your Ready Business.