Ditch your to-do list and boost productivity

Published: 23 Sep 2016

There’s one thing for certain, life won’t be boring when setting up or running a small business! With social media, accounts, advertising, communication, meetings, admin, not to mention the actual day job your to do list may well be trailing into the next room.

With a few simple tips we want to help you combat this overload headache:

1. Batching
Email, Twitter, spreadsheets, diary, research, do you find yourself flicking between them all but never seeming to finish a job? Believe it or not this is not actually making you more productive. In fact psychologists estimate multi-tasking may make you 40% less productive.

A great way of working on this is batch tasking, the process of grouping all the jobs you have to do into batches, eg. social media, email, accounts, calls etc. This way you can decide on a time allocation for each batch and then the key is sticking to it! Batching can really boost productivity as well as helping you to feel calmer and more in control of your workload.

2. Complete an 80/20 analysis
This is a technique favoured by many highly successful entrepreneurs, the principle is that only 20% of what you actually do produces 80% of the desired results.

Making a definitive decision on what you need to prioritise and focus on can be difficult but can also make a huge difference to your productivity. With the 80/20 model you can analyse how and where you spend your time to identify which activities are producing the key results. It then makes it simple to focus your time on these tasks and outsource or dismiss the rest.

3. Spend your time wisely
Batching and using the 80/20 analysis gives you a great opportunity to identify which jobs you might want to outsource to others. It isn’t feasible to think that you have the skills to carry out all the jobs that need doing. It’s just a fact that there will be someone who can do the task you hate or struggle with, better and faster.  

Once you’ve gone through your workload it’s easy to see which tasks are just not getting the attention they deserve and how much time you are really spending on social media. Hiring a social media expert could mean that the 8 hours you used to spend a week on it is being done more effectively by a freelancer in 4 hours.

Sites like Jobstoday Freelance connect businesses with UK freelancers who will look after your social media, bookkeeping, content, design and those other jobs that are causing you grief. The great thing is that as well as giving you more hours in the day it also means you can rest easy knowing that this work is being done by a professional.

4. Decisions, decisions
Even if you are the most decisive person, when you are managing a business and people there will be hundreds of small decision that you need to make and this will take up a lot of your mental energy. Having overall responsibility for your business is great but it can get tiring. 

You can’t get away from decision making completely but the trick is to automate as many decisions as possible so that when it comes to the big, important decisions you are able to really focus.

You can start small like always leaving your keys in the same place, having the same morning routine or taking your lunch break at the same time each day. There’s a reason why some people love wearing a suit, there is one less thing to think about in the morning. 

5. Capitalise on your most productive times
Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl you will really benefit from knowing when you are at your peak and using that to your advantage. If you work best in the morning, get an early start and tackle the hardest jobs first thing. Working your way through your inbox can be done later in the day when you aren’t feeling quite as fresh.

If the end of your day is your best time save your most difficult tasks for the evening giving yourself a head start on the next day. The trick is to understand yourself and how you work best. 

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