Achieving success in a business is about becoming more productive and efficient with time management strategies. If you are not utilizing productivity hacks, it will be challenging to compete with your competitors in the remaining half of 2022.
Many productivity and efficiency strategies can make your business more successful. One of the most essential productivity tips is to reduce time wasted on unimportant tasks. Suppose you have a task that takes 10 minutes, but it's not worth much in terms of productivity or efficiency - do you really need to spend those 10 minutes? Probably not!
As a business owner, you want to increase your productivity and efficiency. Poor time management skills will lead to challenges in running your business and potentially disaster through not recognizing the problem early enough.
More than likely, we're all stretched thin at times, given everything we have going on in our lives. And while many of us may feel productive each day, it's probably safe to say that most of us can improve upon some aspect(s) of how we manage our time. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of tips out there designed to help boost productivity levels so you can get more done in less time.
The good news is that boosts in productivity don't always involve sacrificing much-needed downtime or other things that bring us joy (like sleeping in on the weekend). They simply entail being more aware of how you use your time and taking small steps to improve certain aspects of it.
Of course, what works best for one person may not work as well for another, but that's precisely why we highlight 60 different time management strategies designed to be effective most of the time. Take a look at them below, then decide which ones could help you the most right now.
1. Create a "to-do" list with deadlines.
Creating a to-do list can make staying organized and prioritizing tasks easier without forgetting anything important. It's easy enough to do on your own, but there are also plenty of daily task managers out there (like Wunderlist) that can help you stay on top of items without needing to write them down.
When creating your list, include specific start and end times for tasks whenever possible. You can even set reminders so you don't forget important deadlines or meetings.
2. Recognize the power of "no."
Saying yes to too many things is one of the easiest ways to kill productivity quickly. If you're constantly over-extended, it's easy to get overwhelmed and begin procrastinating. Recognizing this pitfall is key -- just be sure not to avoid saying no when appropriate by thinking only about the consequences of doing so (e.g., someone might get upset with you). Instead, focus on what you want to accomplish in life.
3. Leave some "me" time in your schedule.
Most of us are in the habit of filling up our calendars in advance, but it's important to leave some space for things that pop up unexpectedly -- including when you need a breather from work. If you're feeling antsy or anxious, plan on going for a quick walk or doing something else relaxing for 10-15 minutes before getting back to your tasks.
4. Don't let perfectionism hold you back from finishing projects.
It can be all too easy for entrepreneurs and business owners to put off completing certain tasks because they don't feel polished enough yet. But pushing yourself through this self-imposed barrier can make it easier to get things done quickly.
After you've completed a task, highlight what went well during the process and identify one thing that you would like to improve next time around. This way, you can avoid making the same mistakes in future projects.
5. Divide larger tasks into small pieces.
When trying to complete bigger jobs on your own, it's easy to become overwhelmed -- especially if they are vague. So whenever possible, always break down large tasks into smaller subtasks, so it's easier to wrap your head around everything involved with completing the project.
6. Keep track of how much time you spend on each project or task.
Tracking your time for different projects is an effective way to stay more productive throughout your day. Knowing how much time you're spending on various tasks helps ensure that you don't overwork yourself and also ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.
7. Get started now instead of delaying.
Whenever possible, avoid procrastinating by getting right to work as soon as a new task pops up in your schedule. This is especially important for those larger projects that tend to leave us feeling overwhelmed whenever we think about starting them.
8. Prioritize communication with clients or customers over other things.
It can be easy to get off track with communication when running a business because there are so many moving parts involved with keeping a company afloat. But always remember: communication is key when it comes to maintaining strong relationships with clients or customers, so always prioritize that over other tasks on your to-do list.
9. Learn how to say "no" when needed.
Although it might seem counterintuitive for business owners, learning how to say no can actually be one of the most helpful productivity hacks. Not only does saying no help you avoid wasting time on things that are not a priority or essential, but it also helps reduce stress levels to focus on the important things in life.
10. Get plenty of sleep.
Sleep deprivation can make us feel tired and groggy during the day, making staying productive even harder than usual. So whenever possible, make sure to get optimal amounts of sleep (at least seven hours), so you can stay energized and keep up with your to-do list.
11. Make it a priority to find some downtime.
Although entrepreneurs and business owners tend to deem work as their top priority, carving out some time for yourself is just as important. So whenever possible, make sure to schedule some time for hobbies or interests that help you relax and unwind, even if they're just small breaks during the day.
12. Create a place where you can always go when you need a moment of peace and quiet.
Whether at home or in the office, having a space where you know that no one will disrupt you allows you to take some necessary time away from whatever is going on around you so that you can recharge and be productive again.
13. Utilize your commute to get work done.
When you're not able to finish something before leaving the office, utilize your commute by listening to recordings of important meetings or podcasts that can teach you something new. This way, once you arrive home, you'll have all the information that you need to complete any remaining tasks for the day.
14. Plan out what needs to happen each day to accomplish everything.
Having a daily planner allows you to quickly see which items on your list are more important than others, so it's easier to plan out your schedule accordingly. Plus, having everything laid out before you gives you an overall sense of satisfaction because there is less room for miscommunication.
15. Consider hiring a personal assistant to help you run your business.
If your business is growing, consider hiring a virtual assistant or personal assistant to help ease some of the pressure off of you while still allowing you to stay productive. This way, there are two sets of hands taking care of everything, making it better for everyone involved.
16. Create procedures.
Team members can easily pick up tasks that fall through the cracks with the proper procedures. When working with other people on a project, create clear written procedures about how each task needs to be completed, so there's no miscommunication down the line. This will allow others to take over when certain steps are complete, so it frees up time for you to focus on more important things.
17. Don't take on too much.
One of the biggest productivity hacks that entrepreneurs and business owners need to know about is avoiding overworking yourself when you're just starting out or scaling up. If you try to do everything by yourself, expect things to become more complex than they should be. Instead, find a good team and delegate responsibilities so everyone gets work done rather than just one person trying to do everything at once.
18. Learn how to prioritize and plan well.
When working with others in a group setting, it's important to learn how to prioritize tasks as soon as possible so everyone knows what needs to be completed first or if there are any other projects that might need your immediate attention before continuing with the current project.
19. Make sure you're utilizing the latest technology.
To create efficiency in your business, utilizing tools like e-mail, cloud storage, and other software will help keep track of everything significantly more manageable. For example, when it comes to e-mail, using programs that allow you to manage messages online, like Gmail or Outlook, can keep you from having to print out hundreds of pages for reference down the line.
20. Get an assistant.
If things are getting too hectic When running a business, there is often no way around it - things can get hectic at times. If this sounds like your situation, consider hiring someone full-time or part-time in-person or virtual assistant who can relieve you of some o all of the administrative tasks behind the senses. This allows you to have someone to assist or take care of any unexpected tasks that pop up.
21. Treat your work like a business and not a hobby.
When you're getting started, it's important to treat your passion as if it were already successful. This means picking a niche where there is demand for what you plan to offer, delegating responsibilities, and keeping track of finances, so your business doesn't end up going under because of how it was treated.
22. Don't wait to pursue life goals.
If there's something that you've been wanting to do but keep putting off because of work, don't wait - go out and get it done! For example, if you have always wanted to learn how to surf, leave the office early one day, so you have time to get out to the beach and actually learn.
23. Delegate responsibilities to others on your team.
When you've hit capacity, When it's crunch time (i.e., things are super busy), it might be necessary to give some of your responsibilities over to someone else who can help you take care of everything. This makes an already challenging situation easier for everyone involved while still getting things accomplished.
24. Don't forget about work/life balance.
It's important not to lose sight of everything that matters in life while running a business - like spending time with family, and friends and doing other things you enjoy.
25. Create checklists, so nothing slips through the cracks.
We mentioned above how creating procedures is a great way to avoid miscommunication, but it's also a good idea to create checklists, so nothing slips through the cracks.
26. Get a planner and schedule everything out.
If you're having a difficult time keeping track of things, consider getting a planner so you can document all your tasks along with when they need to get done. You can even use an app on your phone for this purpose.
27. Stop multitasking.
Multitasking is actually counterproductive - if you're sitting in front of a bunch of different projects at once, you're not going to be able to complete any of them very well. Focus on doing one task at a time before moving on to the next step.
28. Save time by utilizing the cloud.
Cloud storage allows you to keep track of your files without having to print out hundreds of pages or save them on your hard drive, where it'll take up space. By saving everything in the cloud, you can always access it when you need it with no problem.
29. Be efficient instead of busy.
Being busy does not equate to being productive - if you're constantly rushing around trying to get things done but not creating any real value, then that defeats the purpose. Instead, focus on efficiency by figuring out how long something will realistically take and work backward from there, so you know exactly what needs to be done and how much time is needed for each task.
30. Set alarms to get reminded of your tasks.
Are you the type of person that always forgets to do something? If you are, don't worry, you're not alone. In fact, according to a study done by Microsoft, people forget about 50% of the tasks they plan to do in a day. However, there is a solution! You can set alarms on your phone or computer to remind yourself of your tasks. Not only will this help you stay organized and on track, but it will also help ensure that you don't forget anything important. So, the next time you have a task that you need to be reminded of, be sure to set an alarm!
31. Do the most important things first
Nobody ever got anywhere by doing the easiest things first, so instead of getting stuck on easy tasks, it's time to get started on whatever matters most. The sooner you get it done, the better.
32. Don't be afraid to ask for help
If there are other members in your team that are more skilled or knowledgeable about certain topics, then take advantage of that! Ask them questions or let them handle specific projects while you take care of something else. This is effective because everyone has different strengths - utilizing those will ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
33. Get enough sleep
Sleeping well means waking up refreshed and ready to tackle any challenges that come your way. Not getting enough sleep, on the other hand, will likely result in you struggling to finish everything.
34. Wake up earlier
Believe it or not, waking up 1 hour earlier than usual can actually double your productive output! That means if you typically get up at 9:00 a.m., try getting out of bed at 7:00 a.m. instead and see how much more work you get done. If that doesn't work for you, just use whatever time works best for your schedule - every minute counts.
35. Skip social media
It isn't necessarily bad, but too much of it is known to make people feel less happy and satisfied with their lives. By giving yourself a little break, you'll work more efficiently instead of getting distracted every time you see a notification on your phone or computer.
36. Take Breaks
Taking breaks is important for improving efficiency because they're essentially mental vacations. If you're not taking any breaks, it's likely that your attention span will decrease over time and your focus won't be as strong. Additionally, by taking some time off to clear your mind, you can come back feeling refreshed so you can accomplish all of your tasks in less time [II].
37. Keep track of what you have left to do
We mentioned above how creating checklists is great for keeping track of everything that needs to get done, but another way to do this is by using an app that tracks what's left to be done. Tracking your tasks will also help you see how much time is needed for each step, so everything gets completed more quickly.
38. Optimizing your timing
It is important - since every business has various peaks and lows throughout the day, it's best to figure out when it's most convenient for you. If certain tasks are better suited for the morning, wait until then; if they're better later on in the afternoon or evening, that should be when you get started.
39. Tame your inbox
The world of business relies heavily on email but having an unorganized inbox can make things more difficult than they need to be. When emails come in, try to reply immediately or start drafting up a response you can send later. This will make it easier for your inbox to stay organized, which can help your productivity.
40. Utilize cloud storage
Cloud storage, such as Box and Google Drive, is extremely helpful because you'll have everything stored in one place - all of your files, photos, videos, music, etc. In turn, this makes backing up your computer simple and takes less time too.
41. Turn off notifications
Closely related to using cloud storage is turning off distracting notifications on your phone or computer. If you're constantly getting notifications that pop up on your screen or make a sound, then it's a good idea to do a detox every once in a while, so you don't see or hear them.
42. Automate task planning
This tip is basically taking the previous one a step further - automate everything so you don't have to think about it. For example, if your business sends out weekly newsletters, use an app that will do all of the necessary steps, so you don't have to personally remember each detail.
43. Utilize shortcuts
If you are saving time on certain tasks over and over again, then you need to find ways to save even more time. The best way to do this is by utilizing shortcuts that are already available for different computer programs - look them up online! You'll be surprised by how much more efficient your work becomes when using general shortcuts instead of doing everything manually.
44. Improve your typing
When you're working on a computer, how fast can you type? Is it as quick as you want? If not, then consider taking some lessons to improve and/or increase your speed and efficiency. Typing is the main way we communicate online and learning how to do so more quickly, even just a bit, it'll be worth it in the long run.
45. Keep track of projects
This is important for most businesses because they allow teams to work together with similar goals in mind - but if they aren't organized properly, things won't get done efficiently or effectively. A good idea is to keep track of each project with virtual sticky notes, so nothing gets forgotten and everyone is aware of what needs to be done.
46. Improve your memory
This is something you can train yourself to improve, especially by using it more often. Take some time during the week to play brain games or use our tips above to remember everything better - in turn, this will make your work (and life) easier.
47. Slow down
We understand how easy it is for things like social media and texting to become major distractions, but we need to slow down and focus on what's really important. If there's a time when you're working and feel yourself getting distracted too easily, stop and re-focus on why you're doing what you're doing.
48. Practice better time management
Time management is essential. It involves being able to complete tasks on time while also attending to your personal responsibilities too. If you have trouble doing this, try making a system where you can get everything finished on schedule.
49. Cut the clutter
One of the most common reasons why people are always running behind or not getting things done is because their workspace - be it an office, house, etc. - is cluttered. A messy environment won't lead to higher productivity, so consider cleaning up all of your belongings and work on keeping it clean from now on.
50. Print things out
This tip is related to our previous one but focuses more on prioritizing what's actually important when it comes to your work. If you're someone who loves having everything on digital platforms, compare how much time it takes to do things that way and then print out the necessary documents.
51. Get rid of distractions
When we think about getting things done, we tend to not want distractions in our lives because they take away from our productivity; but sometimes we can also be distracting ourselves without even realizing it (and this includes scrolling through social media or watching something on TV). If you find yourself wasting a lot of time this way, consider removing the source so you can accomplish all tasks more effectively.
52. Limit multitasking
This is actually one of the worst things you can do when looking for ways to become more productive. This is because when you switch from one thing to the next, your brain needs time to re-focus and pay attention in order to get things accomplished.
53. Have a strong support system
One of the most important things that anyone can have is a good support system consisting of family members, friends, etc. who are always there for you when you need advice or just some encouragement. Having these kinds of people in your life will help motivate you towards success so never neglect this aspect if it's already there! You'll be surprised how much it helps.
54. Stay positive
Did you know that being negative has actually been proven to make us less productive? Why is this? Because having an outlook on life that's constantly pessimistic doesn't make you feel like doing anything. If this is ever something that's stopped you from trying before, stay positive and recognize all of the things you've accomplished even if they are small.
55. Prioritize your to-do list
Another reason why people aren't as productive as they could be is that they write too many tasks down on their to-do list without specifying what needs to get done first. For example, if you have three big errands to run but one requires more time than the other two, then definitely prioritize it so it will be finished faster instead of putting them all together at random.
56. Stop thinking about perfectionism
One thing that prevents people from finishing a task is because they expect it to be perfect the first time around. The reality, though, is that you can't expect perfection from yourself all the time- especially when you're learning something new. Don't worry about how things will turn out early on and save your ideas for later.
57. Know what each task takes
If there's one thing people should do before starting to work, it's make an estimate of how long certain tasks are going to take. Knowing this ensures that everything will get done faster since you'll know exactly how much time you have left so prioritize them accordingly.
58. Take breaks
Taking breaks throughout the day isn't just good for your brain - it also helps you become more productive as well. If you have a lot of tasks to complete, take a walk for around 15 minutes and then get back to work; your brain will be recharged and ready to tackle the next thing.
59. Track your progress
When we're working on something, it's hard to see where we're going if we don't know how much we've done or what we should do next. That's why it's important to track all of your progress by writing everything down (even if it is just in a notebook) so that you can keep yourself accountable and realize how far along you are with everything.
60. Avoid distractions
The last tip I'll leave you with is another obvious but very impactful one: avoid distracting people and situations as much as you can. Doing whatever it takes to focus allows you to accomplish more in a day so never underestimate this!
Have you tried any of these tips to Maximize Your Productivity and Efficiency? If so, tell us about it in the comments below and contact us for help in Maximize Your Productivity and Efficiency!