Productivity means a lot more than simply keeping busy. Busy work can lead to wasted time and energy, which inevitably causes frustration. As a business owner and team leader, strive to make the most of your valuable working time.
Your day likely consists of a variety of tasks from finances to operations to customer service. Distractions and issues will occasionally come up and throw you off schedule. But by putting productivity strategies in place, you can stay on track and make the most of your working day.
Top ways to increase productivity
Imagine closing your laptop at the end of a workday with a satisfied sigh, knowing that you accomplished everything on your list. Sound impossible? The good news is that there are simple ways to immediately up your productivity. Consider the following tips and tools to help you work smarter, not harder:
Set a routine
Strive to start and end your workday at the same time and stick to it. When the clock is ticking, keeping a routine can help you move through your to-do list swiftly. Don’t forget to add in time to focus on your mental health each day. Ask yourself, ‘What is the tiniest way I can take care of my mental health today?’” Some mental health boosters might include exercise, meditation, or eating a healthy meal (at a proper table, not over your keyboard).
Protect your mornings
If you’re like most people, it’s likely your most focused, energized time. So, reading e-mails or other similar tasks may not be the best way to spend it. Instead, tackle the tough tasks in the morning, preferably when you first start your day.
What is the most urgent item on your list? Keep those tasks, no matter how tedious, at the top of your to-do list. If you have long-term projects to address, schedule dedicated time to work on those so you don’t get distracted from the more pressing items.
It’s widely confirmed that true multitasking— the ability of completing multiple tasks simultaneously, successfully —is highly unlikely. People who try to split their attention between multiple tasks at once aren't being more productive. Instead, stick with one task until it’s completed, then move onto the next item on your list.
Keep a schedule and stick to it
Don’t drop everything for a meeting, conversation, or phone call. Of course, there will be situations where you must go off schedule. But in general, you should stick to the tasks on your calendar for the day.
Use scheduling tools
Google Calendar® , Calendly® , and VCita® are all great options to start with. You might need to try a few different apps out but if you get the right one, you can save time and up productivity. Capterra® is a review site that has product details, customer testimonials, and pricing information. It’s a good first stop when shopping for scheduling solutions.
As a business owner, you have a load of tasks to keep operations humming along. Trying to handle every detail can suck your time and decrease your productivity. Although it can be hard to let go of certain tasks, you can learn how to delegate and continually improve the process of turning over some control.
Strive to reduce internal emails. For staff communication, check out tools like Slack® that allow group chats and messaging without the hassle of back-and-forth e-mails. Experiment with different applications to see which tool works best for your business.
Ways to measure employee productivity
When your employees are productive, your business will have an easier time meeting goals and improving operations. The best way to ensure productivity of employees while on the clock is to track and measure employee productivity and performance. But how can you do that without imposing on your employee’s workspace and hindering their productivity? You do not want to get the reputation of being a micro-manager. That could drive away employees and impact hiring. A few simple ways to monitor your employee’s productivity include:
Utilize smart card technology
Contactless smart cards can be used to track employees time and attendance records. In addition, contactless smart cards can give employees permission to access specific company files, networks, and PCs, and even rooms within the office building. Later, the data recorded on the smart card is sent to the cloud for storage and processing. Then, the employee record database will be made available allowing you to see the working hours, time spent on the computer, accessed files and more of each employee.
Measure tasks, not hours or days
It’s no secret that not every employee works at the same pace – this is one aspect that can make performance monitoring so difficult for businesses. Make note of the basic productivity formula: productivity = output divided by input. As a business owner, strive to find ways to increase output while keeping the input level constant – aim to make your employees more productive in the time already allotted. By tracking each employee’s tasks completed in comparison to the days and hours they worked, you can begin to recognize a pattern of who is more efficient.
Closely monitor outcomes
Ultimately, your focus is the outcome provided by each employee. Are they getting their project done on time? Are they providing high-quality work? While quantity is important, quality is just as important as quantity. What good does it do your business if one employee can pump out 20 reports in an hour, but they all have significant errors?
Monitor the outcomes of each employee to see who appears to be spending the majority of their time researching and perfecting their final products.
Ask for daily updates
This can be tricky as not all employees will be completely honest, but it does encourage higher productivity when employees know they will be confronted about their success for the day. Consider asking each employee for a daily or weekly report, noting what they completed and identifying why there are still tasks remaining, if applicable.
The bottom line
The SmartBiz Loans® Small Business Blog is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs. In addition to information about small business funding, we cover topics to help owners succeed. Here are a few additional articles to help you become more productive:
- 4 Essential Tips to Avoid Burnout as a Small Business Owner – Stress is a productivity crusher. Review these steps that can help alleviate stress and help you become more productive. Avoiding burnout is the secret to long-term success.
- Project Management Guide for Small Business – Since small business growth requires fine-tuned efficiency and productivity, effective project management is critical for companies of this size. Learn about the role of small business project management and get familiar with the best tools for the job.
- 15 Tips to Improve Time Management – Effective time management isn’t good for just your work – it’s good for your body and mind too. Time management is stress management, so good time management minimizes the negative health benefits associated with stress while satisfying your clients and team.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.