5 Tips for Getting More Done During Your Work Day
Strategies for accomplishing more in less time.
Time is money. A cliché, perhaps, but a true one—particularly for entrepreneurs. When you’re in the trenches building and growing something, there’s never enough time. The superhuman demands of starting a business don’t come with the superpower ability to add more hours to the day.
Instead, make the most of the time you have by working smarter. Here, we outline specific tips to milk more productivity from the work day.
1. Make meetings more efficient.
Before you even schedule a meeting, make sure it’s necessary. All too often, meetings are a waste of time, conducted out of habit and nothing else. Online communication tools allow for the easy flow of information without making everyone stop what they’re doing.
There are still many situations when employees do need to come together, whether it’s to strategize, regroup, or just celebrate a team victory. While this is typically done in-person, audio conference tools such as UberConference can be just as effective, and come with the added bonus of saving employees time by allowing them to dial in from wherever they happen to be working. Features such as screen sharing, call summary emails, and the ability to see who is on the call can make these meetings just as (if not more) efficient than if they were physically taking place in a conference room.
2. Streamline documents.
Paper forms are a recipe for lost hours. Easily damaged, tampered with, and lost, they also make it nearly impossible for employees to collaborate on a document simultaneously.
There’s an easy and inexpensive fix to this: digitize everything. Services like mobile forms allows your team to create digital documents by recording information on the devices they already use, from wherever they happen to be working. Delays caused by bad handwriting, misplaced files, or late paper invoices are all but eliminated, while documents can be accessed and updated by multiple people at once in real-time.
3. Integrate automation.
It’s hard to overstate the time-saving benefits of implementing workflow automation at your company. (Check out these tools that are designed to help entrepreneurs automate communications, sales, marketing, and ecommerce, among other areas of their business.)
Firstly, automation can reduce errors and streamline operations, as computers outperform humans at a wide variety of repetitive, predictable tasks, such as updating email lists or cataloguing invoices. Secondly, by handing off the rote, mindless work to algorithms, you allow your employees to concentrate on the more demanding, creative and often fulfilling elements of their jobs.
Automation also saves them time: In a recent report, 53 percent of workers said they could save up to two hours a day through automation—a truly staggering figure.
4. Break your day into blocks.
Multitasking is one of those things that sounds good in theory, but can be a terrible idea in practice: Constantly toggling between tasks can eat up as much as 40 percent of your productive time.
Our fast-paced, distraction-filled digital world can make mono-tasking difficult. To avoid unintentional task-switching, break your day into blocks and dedicate each one to accomplishing a single item on your to-do list. For example, instead of handling emails as they flood your inbox, designate set periods of time—perhaps once in the morning, afternoon, and evening—to respond. Turning off email notifications can help you stick to this schedule.
It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when your full attention is focused on a single job, rather than five at once.
5. Take a break and get moving.
For most small-business owners, work doesn’t stop with the end of the traditional work day. There’s always another fire to put out or another email to answer. But sitting at a desk for 16 hours a day, seven days a week, isn’t a realistic option. Our brains simply aren’t designed for that level of unwavering focus.
The next time you’re stressed try taking a break. Even better, take a break to do some sort of physical activity, which research indicates can boost cognition and productivity.
While it may not feel like it in the moment, getting up and moving—whether it’s a five-minute lap around the office, an hour-long jog, or a five-day hiking trip—can help you decompress, gain perspective, come up with new solutions, and avoid burnout, all things that will save you time down the line.
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This article is from Entrepreneur.com