If you’re self-employed or run a business it can be difficult to stay motivated, especially if you’re working from home, have other commitments or you’ve got a particularly heavy day planned out.
One of the main issues that business owners face is the lack of accountability. There’s no manager there to give direction or hold you to task, deadlines are self-imposed and often there’s no one to check your work. It’s all on you to keep motivated, remain productive and keep your work to its usual high standard.
We’ve put together some of our ultimate productivity tips to help small business owners motivated and on track.
Get The Help That You Need
Free project management tools are a fantastic way to help curb procrastination and ramp up productivity. Tools such as Trello, Monday.com or Slack are designed to help business owners and teams stay on track and remain productive.
Trello enables users to track time, organise daily tasks and create to-do lists. Features that are essential to the productivity conscious small business owner.
Digitise your Accounts
As much as we love what we do, we understand that bookkeeping and accounting aren’t the sexiest of topics for everyone (who would believe it!). Many people leave it to the last minute or even avoid them all together!
Accounting software such as Quickbooks takes the pain out of accounting, and enables your accountant to view and manage your finances remotely, without the need for visits or paperwork.
Using digital accounting software increases efficiency, allowing you to quickly view expense calculations and makes tax preparation a breeze.
With Making Tax Digital in full swing, it just makes sense to have all of your accounts managed digitally and be easily accessible. Spend less time doing accounts, and more time doing the parts of your business that you love!
Keep Everything Organised
Most people work better when they are in an organised environment, so get ready to declutter your desk. Simple things like keeping a tidy desk will help improve your productivity by eliminating distractions.
Knowing where all of your paperwork, tools and resources are stored enables fast access and more efficient use of your time.
Don’t forget… a tidy desk, tidy mind.
Keep a List
This may seem obvious, but writing a to-list really sets you up for the day ahead.
By doing this, you’re giving yourself a goal (or lots of mini-goals) to work towards and will help to keep you on task throughout the day.
Try and write your to-do list the night before, then when you’re ready to start the day you can get stuck right in. If you aren’t a morning person, try and ease yourself in with a few easy to do, smaller tasks. This will get you in the flow and means you aren’t going too heavy, too soon.
Beware though! Don’t leave your biggest or most undesirable jobs to later in the day. It’s better to get them done as soon as possible and to leave something you’re looking forward to doing for the afternoon.
Prioritise your list and work through it methodically.
There’s nothing more satisfying than ticking off jobs on a to-do list! This in itself will motivate you to do more.
Make Sure You Plan Ahead
Plan ahead and don’t just focus on the day at hand. View each task as a step to achieving a goal that day, and each day as a step to achieving a goal that week or month.
Have a longer-term vision and think about what you’ve got to do in the coming days and weeks. Try to factor in the bigger picture, chip away at the bigger tasks and make sure you plan your time effectively. You don’t want to be squeezing something in at the end of the month if you can help it.
Work In Increments
Procrastination is the biggest problem that most people face when it comes to productivity. The best thing that you can do if you want to avoid this is to work in increments.
Work for around 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a short break. This will get rid of the urge to procrastinate and maintain optimum focus.
If you want to give it a try, time yourself or set an alarm. When it goes off, force yourself to take a short break or go for a quick walk before sitting back down in a more productive mindset.
Think of your work like you think of your body when you go for a run. You know you’ve only got a limited amount you can put into each session before you need to either stop or go into a recovery period. You can’t sprint at full pace for 3 hours.
Fartlek or interval training is where you conduct a shorter burst of high effort, before going into a period of recovery, walking or slowly jogging to allow your body to recover, before you give it maximum effort again.
Give your brain (and productivity) a fartlek workout and operate at higher levels for shorter periods before giving it a rest and going again. Don’t try and sprint the marathon!
We all have unproductive periods or days where we feel like we’ve not achieved enough. Don’t get worked up about it or you’ll find it will roll over into the next day and perpetuate a vicious cycle.
As entrepreneurs, we’re self-critical and in addition to the pressures of running a business, we’ve got a heap of personal commitments too.
Try and view each new day as a new opportunity to achieve success, but don’t pile on the pressure or try and force it. Ease yourself in, find your flow and set yourself up for success.