Did you know that 77% of small business owners feel the effect of burnout at some point? It’s no wonder, for many small business owners are the CEO, the CFO, the information technology department, the admin assistant and the janitor. We are often desperately looking for ways to make more productive use of time but it seems like much of the productivity tips don’t really work for the real life of the small business owner. If you are finding yourself working to0 many hours and not seeing results, please (speed) read these tips geared for the small business with a limited budget!
What do you say often? Automate those repetitive messages to save work and ensure consistent messaging.. Think of 1 or 2 emails or texts that you send frequently to customers or employees. (Or kids) Write those responses and save as email or text templates. At the beginning of 2019, I created three IPhone text replacements for commonly sent texts allowing me to text one word and have an entire text message automatically fill in. Thes text templates only took a few minutes to set up, cost me nothing and have saved me a ton of time this past year.
Get a bigger trash can
Seriously. I’ve worked with clients that have office waste baskets the size of a hotel ice bucket. Tiny trash cans fill up almost immediately, giving trash nowhere to go but on your desk or the floor or somewhere in the general area of the tiny trash bin. If we expend the effort to make the DECISION to toss paper, it’s important to complete the ACTION of tossing the paper. Don’t forget to provide a home for paper that should be recycled or shredded. Having an adequately sized trash, recycling, and shred bin allows us to put unwanted paper in its place and will keep the whole office looking tidy.
Checklists for repetitive tasks
What are the repetitive tasks of our work? Consistency and routine give us consistently good results. Document the steps of key business processes in a checklist format so no step is left undone. One missed step can snowball into major lost productivity later! For example, I documented all the steps of my customer on-boarding process and saved it in a checklist format as an Evernote template. Making sure I check the boxes on that list means that each small but critical task is complete and all systems are go before the first customer session. More importantly, it frees my mind so I can focus on the customer’s needs rather than frantically completing tasks at the last minute.
Cross stuff off the list
It’s common advice to delegate or outsource some of the tasks of a business because no business owner can do it all without risking burnout. However, for small businesses, there may simply not be the budget or the people available to delegate key business tasks during the start-up years. Consider delegating personal tasks, instead. Hire a maid, a dog walker, or someone to cut your grass. Those hours are now available to spend in your business on revenue producing activities.
Take a Break
There will always be more work but it’s critical for small business owners to unplug and unwind. Eat lunch with a friend, get more sleep, take the time to pack a healthy snack or go for a walk with your family. Time away from the business almost always gives us increased focus and clarity. And the time we spend on our connections with others and our health is never wasted.