What does your regular day of work look like? Full of tasks from yesterday and more tasks piling up? Do you feel swamped with too many things to do and too little time? This is a vicious cycle which can undermine your enthusiasm and drive to continue working for your business. However, do not despair. Almost every business owner, including famous entrepreneurs, had to battle this problem. It is called a lack of productivity.
So, what can you do to improve your productivity? We decided to look around and find inspiration from top-level business owners and share their advice on productivity with you. These are not complicated or expensive pieces of advice. They represented the base of a daily work philosophy from the moment when these entrepreneurs started out in business – no richer or wiser than you at this point.
Let us get started then, and share these helpful recommendations with you:
1. Request Answer Deadlines on Emails
Birchbox founder Katia Beauchamp found a simple and effective way to prioritise her emails. She requests every employee to set a deadline for the answer they expect from her. That is how she can separate urgent and critical emails from low priority ones and create a schedule for replying to them.
This sounds too simplistic and in no way contributing to increased productivity. After all, how much does it take to answer an email? More than you imagine. For one, it disrupts you from whatever you are doing when the email arrives. Then you have to spend a few minutes understanding what you are requested in the email. And then you have to think what to answer. Now add up these minutes and multiply them by the average number of emails you receive each day. That’s a lot of time, isn’t it?
2. Have a Meeting-Free Day
Facebook co-founder and Asana CEO Dustin Moskowitz has one simple rule which everyone in his company knows: no meetings on Wednesday. This helps him focus on core business activities, thinking about ways to grow the company and developing new products.
What does a meeting-free day mean for you? It means you do not have to spend time analysing the agenda, thinking of what you can contribute to the meeting and how to solve issues which require your attention. Or, it means that whoever in your company has an issue to discuss will not step into your office, disrupting your activity and completely throwing your daily schedule off balance.
3. Use a Kanban Board for Your Tasks
Paul Klipp, founder of Kanbanery, has a board with several columns, such as: To Do, In Progress, and Done. Each task on his daily and weekly schedule is pinned on this board and goes through all phases.
Why is this helpful to improve your productivity? First of all, it gives you a sense of accomplishment, when you have a visual representation of all the tasks you’ve completed. Secondly, you have a clear view of the tasks to do and can prioritise them accordingly.
4. Today’s To Do List = Yesterday’s Inbox
As the founder and CEO of Zappos, one of the most successful online store brands, Tony Hsieh receives over 500 emails every day. Going through them, writing appropriate replies and taking action took so much time, that at a point he was way behind with his inbox. That is, until he thought of a concept: The Yesterbox. This simple concept states that each morning he deals with yesterday’s emails and does not move to any of today’s emails until he went through at least 100 emails.
Remember that any email can wait at least 24 hours until it receives an answer. Thus, you can set aside a specific time to answer your emails and spend the rest of your day with more productive and important tasks.
5. Outsource Non-Critical Tasks
Matt DeCelles is the co-founder and partner of William Painter, a highly popular sunglasses brand. His days are filled with critical business decisions, and brand growth strategies. What about those annoying but unavoidable small chores? DeCelles outsources them to independent contractors and agencies so that he can focus on his core competencies.
There is nothing wrong about outsourcing the small tasks which do not impact the core activities of your business. By doing so, you will have more time to focus on what matters – the core strategies for growing your business, attracting more clients and creating a memorable brand.