No matter how driven and hard-working you are, it’s very easy to get carried away and lose track of the time. This especially applies to small business owners who try to do as much as possible during their working day or week. With a hectic schedule and stress, you’ll be all over the place in no time, which is why it’s essential to introduce some tweaks that will help you organize your tasks better and get more done in less time. Here are a couple of useful tips to start the ball rolling and crush your deadlines.
Set realistic goals
Naturally, the first thing to do is set your agenda and follow it as closely as you can. However, we’re all chirpy and bright-eyed in the morning, which usually leads to biting off more than we can chew workwise. The practice of setting too many goals to achieve during your day, will not only tire you but also result in your being late for some appointments or even falling behind schedule.
This is why being realistic when it comes to making your plans for the day is essential. It’s better to go at a seemingly slower pace but finish everything you planned, than rushing through things. In addition to that, you won’t have to reschedule or cancel your meetings, and, psychologically speaking, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment because you achieved everything that was on your agenda and that’s a powerful motivator.
Automate your tasks
One of the best ways to boost your productivity is by implementing automation. There are many various tools that can help you automate simple, repetitive tasks that have to be done, thus allowing you to focus on more important and creative things. Needless to say, automation will save your time and money, and make sure that your business runs like clockwork.
Start by automating your email marketing efforts as well as payments, because that way you won’t have to worry about forgetting to follow up with your customers or being late with your payments. Since reporting to your clients can be a complex and daunting task, it’s a good idea to build a shareable KPI dashboard so that your clients can see the results of your marketing campaigns for themselves.
Organize your files
Keeping everything organized can save you a lot of time that you would otherwise lose while looking for scattered files, documents, and folders. By employing a filing system, you’ll both optimize your office space and have everything at your fingertips. Don’t forget to do the same with your electronic files, because it will spare you from having to frantically search through your PC in order to locate an important contract.
Back up your files
93% of companies which lose their data center for more than 10 days during a disaster go under within a year. Another similarly shocking stat says that 43% companies which suffer catastrophic data loss never reopen, while another 51% close within two years. There are numerous reasons why such a Datageddon might occur, but human errors are the main culprit, while natural disasters are to blame in only 10% of all cases.
All this clearly indicates that backing up your files on a regular basis is crucial for your small business. You can either use a remote server or an external hard disk to save a backup of your document. There are various reliable cloud services that you can use, and apart from safely storing your data, they’re very practical because you can access important files even when you’re not in the office.
Track your time
Understanding how much time you need for certain tasks will help you plan them better. That’s why you should start tracking your time and writing down every task that you perform as well as how long it takes to perform it. Don’t forget to include coffee and lunch breaks, phone calls, and other seemingly short activities which tend to extend and accumulate thus accounting for a great deal of the time you waste.
Limit your social media time
Social media platforms can be extremely useful for the promotion of your business and improving its recognition. However, there’s the other, darker, side of the same coin. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great time wasters, and you don’t even notice that you spent more than the initially intended 15 minutes browsing through your news feed.
Many people leave their social media tabs open in their browser and get distracted whenever they receive a notification. In order to prevent this from happening, allocate time for social media and stick to the schedule.
According to MIT neuroscientists, multitasking negatively affects your productivity and even makes you more prone to making errors. Still, while this practice might work when it comes to performing some easy, short tasks, it’s less than effective for larger tasks.
Namely, interrupting an elaborate project that requires all your attention and effort in order to complete something completely unrelated will take its toll on your focus, and it will be harder for you to pick up where you left off. If you have a larger and more challenging task to complete, it’s a good idea to set milestones and work on completing them in stages.
Learn to prioritize
Meeting deadlines and completing tasks that are the most important should be your top priority. Sometimes you’ll even have to delay or cancel some tasks in favor of others that need to be done immediately. Maybe this doesn’t sound professional or nice, but you need to assess which tasks will bring you more benefits and focus on them first.
Also, be aware that sometimes a shift in priorities will occur which means that you’ll have to play along and rearrange your to-do list as you go. If you’re a perfectionist, you most probably fine-tune your projects and this can take up too much of your time, which is why you need to learn how to draw the line and wrap things up.
These 8 quick tips can help you organize your time and get your tasks completed in a timely manner.
Author: Nate M. Vickery is a business consultant and Editor-in-chief at bizzmarkblog.com. His fields of expertise are company management and efficient work environment through latest technology trends. Follow him @natemvickery.