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5 ways to improve productivity

For business owners, it can often seem as though there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. We all know that burning the midnight oil isn't good for our mental well-being. Finding ways to improve productivity can allow you to get more done in the same amount of time. With these five tips, you’ll get everything done and still have time left to spend with family.

1. Identify your peak productivity time.

Many articles suggest you start your day early, but that’s not helpful for everyone. Some people are at their most creative late at night. The ideal time for one person could be the worst for another. By identifying your most productive, creative time of day and using this time to do the most complex, high-level tasks you will get through more. Leave the mundane and routine tasks for the time when you are not at your peak of efficiency.

2. Avoid Distractions

Whether you can’t stop checking your Twitter feed, or you just HAVE to check out that website that you got an email about this morning, distractions are a key source of poor productivity. It takes several minutes to get your focus back to the task you are supposed to be doing, so that two minute break on Twitter (come on, it’s never two minutes is it) really adds up. Blocking problematic websites, turning off notifications on your phone or setting a timer to keep yourself on track are all options if you find this is your biggest productivity issue.

3. Learn to Delegate

You don’t need to employ someone full time in order to delegate tasks. There are freelancers that can help you on an ad hoc, or regular, basis and a wide range of automation tools that can help reduce the amount of busy work you need to get involved with. Also, if you delegate the things you really aren’t great at doing, or you hate, you will find you feel happier about your workload because you aren’t worrying about the fact that you are procrastinating about doing the thing you don’t enjoy. Plus, that expert you delegated the task to will complete the work in a shorter time because it’s something they enjoy, understand fully and are good at.

4. Take time to de-stress

Although it may seem counter-intuitive to take breaks when you are super-busy, you will actually be more productive. If you push yourself too hard then stress and burnout will follow. When that happens your tasks will take you longer to complete and you will be more likely to make an error. Even a five-minute break each hour will help you to return to the task recharged.

5. Make a To Do List

Making a To Do List the night before will set a positive tone for the following day. If you make a quick note of what you need to do the next day just before you close up for the evening, then you will be able to start the next day with a plan. You can prioritise tasks and decide on what order to tackle things. Numbering the items can be a great way to keep yourself on track and doing the things that matter, rather than the things that are easy, quick or enjoyable. Keeping your list manageable and organised, reviewing it regularly and being realistic about what you can achieve in a day, will also help you to keep your work under control and get more done each day. If you cross things off as you do them, this is very satisfying and a quick glance at the list, and the number of items crossed off it, will keep you motivated to continue.