4 Productivity Hacks for Business Owners
Yaniv Masjedi, Chief Marketing Officer, Nextiva
There is a lot of talk in corporate circles about how business leaders can inspire employees to be more productive, to accomplish more in less time, and to feel an increased sense of focus on a regular basis.
But what if the tables were turned and the conversation instead was aimed at the productivity of business owners?
People who run businesses, especially founders, are thought to be inherently productive. They came up with a concept for a product or service, built a team to help sell that concept and work hard to continually innovate.
If you look deeper, though--between the board meetings, business trips, and product innovation ideation sessions--there are always areas to improve productivity. Making a few small tweaks every few years (or, better yet, months) can significantly impact a company’s success moving forward.
Are you a business owner in need of some productivity modifications? If so, check out these tips and watch your output skyrocket to Beyoncé-levels:
Try working from home...one day per week
You’ve been running your business for years now and haven’t missed a day of work. Your employees rely on you for questions, your vendors stop in at all hours, and you enjoy interacting with your clients face-to-face.
By the end of the week, your to-do list is still a mile long. Fear not, this is completely normal (and workable). Next week, identify one day when you can check out of your shop and instead hide away at your house for an entire day. Don’t just wing it; plan ahead. Tell your employees what you plan to do and delegate client/vendor questions to a staffer you trust. Then, create a space in your home where you can feel comfortable working for multi-hour stretches.
When at home, chunk your time into so-called ‘power hours’ and give yourself a manageable to-do list. Protect your time and space and watch your list fall away. Moving forward, you might want to try this more than one day per week.
Track your time
It sounds tedious, but tracking your time can inspire a massive wake-up call in the productivity department. If you’ve never done this, try doing it for a week. Track what you do every working hour of the day--from getting coffee to commuting to going to meetings to checking email to online shopping (let’s be honest, it happens) to posting on social media about your company. Don’t judge yourself; just treat it as an information-gathering exercise.
At the end of the week, dedicate time to studying where you spent your time. If you are anything like most entrepreneurs, it will be a little shocking. From there, try to cut out the things you don’t need in your schedule.
Take a vacation
Author Anne Lamott famously said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes...including you.” This advice, while seemingly counterintuitive to a business owner (i.e. shouldn’t I be working 24/7?!), is something that can help every person--leader or staffer.
Experiencing a dip in your productivity? Think back to your last vacation--your last real vacation, where you weren’t checking your email every three hours (or at all) and you were having fun with people you care about. If those memories are foggy because you haven’t taken a real break since The Golden Girls were on TV (last episode was in 1992, for those who want to win at Jeopardy!), then it’s time to start planning.
What’s more, the act of taking a vacation will inspire those who work with you to do the same. Everyone needs a break every once in a while (ideally several times per year) to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. And the healthier you are, the more productive you will be.
Leverage the power of automation
Automation can be a business owner’s best friend when trying to track how and when you last interacted with your customers, if you’ve followed up from your survey and so on. What’s more, using automation tools (like Nextiva’s NextOS - a great tool for businesses large and small) can help business owners track goals and stay on top of tasks that can often get forgotten in the normal course of business. Give it a try, and watch your time get freed up!
Arizona business owners: What productivity tips would you add to this list? We’d love to hear from you!