March 24, 2016 By Suzanne Robertson

Time is money – especially for the busy entrepreneur.

Wasting it takes away from important time you could spend growing your small business. Here are some organizational hacks that can help you cut down on the mundane and be more efficient.

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Reduce Clutter

  • Get rid of as much paper as possible. One study found that the average person wastes over 4 hours per week searching for papers. Have a shredding party! Go through your filing cabinets and shred anything out of date or no longer relevant. If you do need something on paper, scan the originals and save on your computer or in the cloud.
  • Clean your desk. It may sound obvious but clutter on your desk can distract and slow you down. Consider adding a green plant if you don’t already have one. Plants in the office have been shown to increase productivity.

Stay Focused

  • Check your email at set times only. This makes sure that important emails don’t distract you until you have time to give them full attention.
  • Use your browser in full screen so only one open tab is visible. You’ll be able to concentrate better on what’s in front of you.
  • Save personal texts, emails and phone calls for the end of the day or a specific time during your work day.

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Master Your Inbox

  • Do you have every email you’ve ever received? It’s time to clean it out! Use email tools to only see the messages you need to address and categorize the others. File away important emails in folders so you can start with an inbox that’s clear.
  • Just say no! Unsubscribe to newsletters or other emails that regularly hit your inbox. Keep only the subscriptions that you find valuable for running your small business. Other subscriptions should be sent to a personal email address. You don’t want to get distracted by a sale at your favorite store! You can create email folders that sort into a specific place so you won’t get distracted.

Schedule Non-activities

  • Productivity is more than just numbers. How many emails you send, phone calls you make, meetings you attend or other “scheduled” activities are important. However, make time for activities that you don’t put on the calendar.
  • Non-activities are things like brainstorming or catching up on the latest industry news. These types of non-activities help with idea flow and also give you a mental break.

Understand Real Time vs. Clock Time

  • In an article from Entrepreneur, there was a clear distinction between Clock time (60 seconds in a minute, etc.) and Real Time (when you actually get stuff done). The clock will tell you that you have 8 hours in a work day – however, the actual time you work is probably a few hours less (breaks, distractions, lunch)
  • Be realistic about how much actual time you have to complete important daily tasks. You’ll have an understanding of the actual time you have in a day to pursue other growth building strategies like brainstorming, research or meetings.

Empower Your Team

  • When the team that helps you run your small business feels empowered, company morale and productivity increase.
  • Delegating responsibility and authority shows team members that you trust them to help you grow your business.

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