How To Make The Most Of Your Time
Do twice the work in half the time
If there’s one thing almost every small business owner is short of, it’s time. There’s so much you could be doing to grow your business, so many amazing ideas you’d love to implement, if you only had more hours in the day.
So what can you do? You can’t magically conjure up extra hours to work in, but you CAN learn to work smarter and more productively so you can get more done in less time. And we’re going to show you how with three tips that work for us.
1) Stop procrastinating
How much time do you spend getting your head around a new project or task? It’s amazing how interesting Facebook or even the washing up can be when faced with knuckling down. Imagine instead that you were able to hit the ground running from the very first minute – how much time you’d save!
If you’re a seasoned procrastinator, use these tips to beat it:
- Remove distractions by turning off your phone/email etc.
- Give yourself a goal – work out what you want to get done and by when.
- Remind yourself of the benefits completing the job will bring.
- Break the job up into small tasks and cross them off as you finish them.
- Set a timer to introduce a sense of urgency to the task.
- Group similar tasks together, to help you get in ‘flow’.
2) Work out your best work times
Are you an early bird or a night owl? We all have times of the day when our energy is high, and others when we struggle to get enthusiastic about anything.
So take the time to observe your working rhythms. Do you start the day with a burst of energy? Or notice a regular slump after lunch? Once you’ve got an idea of your normal energy pattern, start planning your work around it.
For example, plan to tackle more difficult tasks in times you’re usually feeling energetic and are working at full steam. And reserve more mundane, easier tasks, such as admin, for the times of the day your energy and enthusiasm is lower.
This technique allows you to harness your natural work rhythm and achieve more in your working day without squeezing in more work hours.
3) Take a break
This may seem rather odd advice in an article about working smarter, but if you want to maximise your output, you need to make time in your day for regular breaks.
You’re not a machine, and it’s very hard to maintain high levels of energy and concentration without breaks. It’s also much tougher to think creatively or objectively if you spend every minute of the day fully immersed in your tasks.
To get perspective you need distance, and that means walking away from your desk and letting your mind rest. So don’t skip lunch, and make sure you take a break from work at least every 90 minutes.
You could tie the break in with a task – for example, walking around the corner to post. Just make sure you get both physical and mental space from your work.
You’ll find that when you do return to your desk, you’ll find it easier to think strategically and solve problems, will work more quickly and make fewer mistakes.