You have the same numbers in your day as every other person. Like everyone else, you may be wishing that you had more. As a small business owner, having just 24 hours in a day may mean that you’ve found yourself longing for an extra one or two every now and again. No amount of wishing is going to add hours to the clock or make it turn more slowly. The good news is that there are habits that you can start trying to break that will make it seem as though you have more time in the day in 2018.
It would be fantastic if you had the money to hire a person for every task in your company. Unfortunately, like most, you don’t have the kind of cash flow. The good news is that you really don’t need it. You can boost productivity for free by breaking a few habits. Keep reading to discover what you can start working on now to make 2018 a more productive year.
Constantly Checking Your Email
When is the last time you checked your email? An hour ago? A minute ago? Over-checking email is a time waster. Not only are you wasting your time, but checking your email too frequently has been linked to anxiety and depression, not to mention lower performance. Just stop.
Decide when you are going to check your email and stick to the schedule. Help yourself break the habit by setting up an autoresponder that says something like “I check my email at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. I will get back to you as soon as possible.” That way, you won’t feel as though you are leaving people hanging. Of course, when an emergency arises, you may need to break that schedule. But that should be the exception, not the rule.
Chances are high that you don’t really need to have weekly meetings. Things in your company don’t change that often. Instead of having a meeting every Wednesday, for example, use a shared project management system that everyone can contribute to. When meetings are scheduled, make sure they’re only as long as they absolutely need to be.
Burning the Midnight Oil
Okay, maybe you aren’t staying at work past midnight, but as a small business owner, you put in more than an 8-hour day. Staying late does nothing but contribute to higher burnout. You really aren’t getting more done. Focus your time at work on completing your tasks. Once you start to break all of your time-sucking habits, you’ll find that 8 hours is almost always a sufficient work day.
Not Eating Your Frogs
What? Please don’t have a frog for lunch. Instead, what we are talking about is the idea that most people put off their big or most troubling tasks (their frogs) until the last minute. Instead of putting those things off, eat your frogs first thing.
Caffeine at Breakfast
Are you relying on your coffee or energy drink to wake you up in the morning? That’s fine, but if you are skipping an actual meal, you are leaving your body wanting more. If you are having coffee for breakfast, you should be having a meal as well. Even something as easy and hearty as a (non-sugary) oatmeal or granola bar can go a long way if you want to boost productivity.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
An interesting study showed that people who get five or less hours of sleep for multiple nights in a row behave the same as a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.10. You wouldn’t go to work if you were intoxicated, so don’t do this to yourself. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. It’s often easier said than done, but here’s a good way to get yourself into new habits: go to bed and get up at the same time every night — even on the weekend. Exercising a couple hours before bed can help even more with maintaining a sleep schedule.
Skipping Your Lunch Hour
Many people believe that if they skip their lunch hour, they have extra time to get some things done. The truth of the matter is that you will be more productive if you get away from your desk for even 30 minutes. If you don’t want to eat, take a walk, get outside for some fresh air or just push yourself away from your computer. Give your brain a break.
Speaking of Breaks…
Do you forget to take breaks during the day? You may not feel as though your body needs it. You may believe you won’t get your work done if you step away for a few minutes. But we are here to tell you: Your brain needs the break. Stopping what you are doing and thinking about something else for even five minutes will help to recharge your brain and make you more creative and more productive when you get back to it.
One of These Things is Not Like the Others
There is an 80/20 rule at work that says this: 20 percent of what we do produces 80 percent of our results. If you are giving every task in your day equal importance, it’s time to stop. Take an hour or even a day and figure out which of the things you are doing during the day are giving you the most bang for your buck. Consider those to be the most important things in your day.
Doing It All At Once
No. No and no. You cannot multitask, no matter what you think. People like to believe that they can juggle dozens of balls at once, getting everything done that you need to. Let’s make this clear: No one can multitask effectively. No one. Are we emphasizing this enough? You are far better scheduling your day by task than you are trying to do multiple things at the same time.
Use Company.com’s Software to Boost Productivity
If you start to break these 10 habits now, you can have more time in the day in 2018, if only in feeling. However, we all know some tasks simply take a good amount of time. Company.com can help with that. From accounting to hiring to tech support, we can help take some of the “frogs” off of your plate so you can keep your business running smoothly and boost productivity. Contact us today to learn more about our services, or to start a free trial of our premium software suite today.