10 Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners

I’m asked all the time about time management and how to make it all fit. On a plane flying down to London (on a particularly busy day) I had a think about all the things I do that I don’t really notice now to ensure I’m as productive as I can be.

1. Get up early

I find starting the day an hour before everyone else means not only do I get to wake up nice and quietly, but I get to answer emails and do any fire fighting I need to before we get into school prep etc.

2. Schedule

I resisted having a schedule for a long time but I couldn’t live without mine now. I schedule in all my work tasks, events and even family time. I use a colour co-ordinated system that helps me see if my time is well balanced, and of course it’s very easy to spot when the schedule is full and to stop taking on more work, or when to start delegating!

3. Eat properly

Ok so I’m always breaking this one, but the important thing is I try. A proper breakfast, healthy snacks and less caffeine have all been witnessed in my household recently – so has the odd Starbucks caramel waffle but we’ll let that slide shall we 😉

4. Have scheduled breaks

When you’re creating your schedule don’t forget to schedule in breaks. I force myself to stop for at least an hour over lunch time.

5. Do something creative

I’ve recently begun learning to play the keyboard and I also play the cornet and enjoy painting. I find doing something creative that is completely different to my work helps me to switch off. When I get back to my afternoon’s work I feel completely refreshed.

6. Schedule smart

Schedule high-value or important tasks for high performance times of the day. My high performance times tend to be between 9am and 1pm, after that my concentration levels dip. I ensure my day’s schedule reflects my performance levels.

7. Don’t procrastinate

If you hit a task in your schedule and you find it’s just not happening, move onto something else. Don’t spend time procrastinating – re-schedule it elsewhere. When I do this I often find when I sit down to do that task again the work just flows. Sometimes your head just isn’t the right place to do certain tasks. The quicker you can identify this and shuffle things around the more productive you will be. I never re-schedule a task more than 3 times, that just means I’m putting it off and I try and identify what the issue is.

8. Stay in the flow

If you’re in the flow with something don’t break off to do something else – this includes taking scheduled breaks. Being in the flow is golden time when you’re producing amazing work and everything is flowing. Stay there until the flow runs out then reward yourself with a bigger chunk of time off.

9. Go to bed at a sensible time

From someone who used to regularly (3-4 times a week!) stay up until 4am playing poker at the casino I realise this sounds kind of boring. You can’t get up early (see no.1) if you don’t go to bed at a sensible time – unless you’re one of those annoying people that can survive on four hours sleep a night!

10. Be in the moment

Regardless of the task you’re carrying out whether it be work, parenting or leisure – be in the moment. The quality of output will be higher meaning the results will be better AND you’ll enjoy it more.

2 replies
  1. Venita Dada-Anthonij
    Venita Dada-Anthonij says:

    Time management is certainly a point to improve on for me. Having read your post, I think I have to make some changes to the life I am leading now. It is so easy to “forget” about things like taking regular breaks and eating well, while trying to “battle” the ever-growing to-do list. Thanks, Erica.

    Reply

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