As a small business owner, it’s easy to feel bogged down by responsibilities. The overwhelming feeling that comes with tending to every facet of your business can make it difficult to get anything done at times.
If you’re a busy business owner who regularly struggles with productivity, here are a few tips specifically tailored to help you get things done efficiently and effectively without burning out in the process.
1. Play to Your Strengths
If you’re a business owner, chances are you feel like you’re on the clock 24/7. However, if you want to be productive, it’s important to avoid this “rundown entrepreneur” image like the plague.
The problem is, if you pour all your time into your business, your productivity is eventually going to suffer, even if you’re spending more time working. Instead, try listening to your internal clock and line up your workday accordingly. Are you an early bird? A night owl? Is the afternoon the time of day when you shine?
Try to consider this as you schedule your day. Even if you can’t control everything, you can try to address things like paying bills or making phone calls at a time of day when you’re more productive.
2. Fuel Your Body
If you’re going to burn the candle at both ends, it’s important to fuel your body so that it can keep up with you. Staying energized throughout the workday typically revolves around a few major activities:
If you give your body what it needs to properly function, it will reward you with physical energy, mental clarity, and emotional stability. All three of these are instrumental in staying productive throughout your day.
3. Consider Your Environment
A messy, unstructured environment can be overwhelming to the mind, body, and soul. If you’re struggling to be productive, one way that you can address the stress is by changing your work environment. A few easy ways to quickly increase your productivity include:
- Decluttering the areas where you work.
- Organizing your office.
- Getting a good chair with lumbar support.
- Decorating with aromatherapy, minimalism, plants, and other health-focused decor.
By purposefully setting up your workspace with an eye towards productivity, you equip yourself with the environmental encouragement to remain focused and effective as you work.
4. Take Breaks Regularly
It may sound counterproductive, but taking a break can help you avoid burnout and maintain productivity.
Ideally, it’s wise to take real breaks throughout your day. However, if you can’t fully detach from work, at least ensure that you’re not spending too much time on one activity.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders of Fast Company suggests two hours as the maximum amount of time you should spend focused on a single task. After that, try to shift to something else to keep your mind focused and sharp.
If you find that you have the time to take short breaks regularly, consider trying a productivity method, such as the Pomodoro Technique, to see how taking short breaks consistently affects your productivity.
5. Unplug When You’re Not Working
Along with breaks, it’s important to genuinely unplug when you’re not on the job. If you can’t detach from your business when you’re in your personal life, you will always feel strung out and mentally exhausted.
Work-life balance is a critical aspect of long-term entrepreneurial success, and an inability to find that balance will eventually lead to burnout, one way or another. It doesn’t matter if you find an activity like jogging or doing a puzzle you simply sit and do nothing at all, find ways to unplug from work in order to let your mind rest.
6. Set Clear Goals
Finally, if you want to stay productive over time, it’s also a good idea to regularly set clear goals for yourself. These can be short-term in nature, such as going shopping or getting a specific task done.
They can also be long-term, such as training a new employee, conducting market research, or coming up with a solution to a larger business problem. Try to follow three steps as you create each goal:
- Make sure each goal has actionable steps that you can easily follow.
- Find ways to hold yourself accountable as you pursue the goal.
- Monitor your progress to ensure that you’re being productive — otherwise, adjust your methods to be more efficient.
Setting goals can be an excellent way to keep track of responsibilities, maintain momentum, and ultimately boost your productivity.
Staying Productive as a Small Business Owner
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to fuel your body better, take breaks, set goals, or anything else, there are plenty of ways to boost your productivity.
The important thing is that you assess your current productivity to see if you’re in a slump. Then, refer to the above list of options and take action to refocus and find your groove once again.