Every day, your to-do list seems to grow. And in this business climate of information overload and constant interruptions, it has become increasingly difficult for small business owners to get anything accomplished. Not to mention, instead of technology increasing your productivity, it often seems to weigh you down. How are you supposed be proud of what was accomplished today and not just be frustrated?
Here are 10 steps to getting more done in a single day. (After you get your cup of coffee, of course.)
1. Do not start the day by checking e-mail, voice messsages or social media feeds. This will suck you in a direction you do not want to go, and is the surest way to get your day off to a bad start.
2. Start by completing two things on your list that must get done today. Do the hard or unpleasant stuff first. Make sure whatever the tasks are, they will have a significant impact on your business and are part of the critical path to other business goals and objectives.
3. Make decisions and take action. Procrastination never pays off, so make the tough decisions first. Say "no" more often than you say "yes", and don’t even think about saying “maybe.”
4. Deal with every e-mail once. Read an e-mail and take action on it now. Don't save it for later or leave it in your inbox. File it in the appropriate subfolder if it is needed for later reference.
5. Focus on doing one thing at a time. Believe it or not, multitasking can cause brain damage. The brain actually doesn’t do multiple things at one time, but instead just switches very quickly. This does not improve your overall productivity.
6. Control distractions. Turn off the e-mail and social media notifications, beeps, ringtones and visits to your office. If you need to use a software tool that turns off your access to the Internet, install it. Limit or rotate the information you read.
7. Stay off the Internet, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter unless you have a plan. This is the fastest way to kill your productivity since you can drift on these sites forever. Know why you are using these tools and how it will help your business, and always set a time limit for this activity.
8. Do not enter a meeting without a written agenda and a stop time. And in some meetings, have everyone remain standing. Document action items and assignments, and end early if you can.
9. Delegate to others. Improving your productivity means utilizing the other people in your organization to take full responsibility for their own tasks. Unless you set up an assigned hierarchy, you will always be stuck with all the tasks.
10. Recharge. If technology would have its way, most small business owners would work 24/7. Set a time limit on work and ensure there are place in your life which are an oasis so you can recharge daily.
How do you get the most out of your day?
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