Entrepreneurs know they must put in long hours to make a success of their enterprise. With small businesses, the owner must simultaneously fill several roles. It can be overwhelming, but with some planning, and a little insight into human psychology, the business owner can keep things running smoothly.
Each morning, select the three things that absolutely must be accomplished that day; do these first. Lesser chores will get done. Responding to email is important, and social networking is essential, but these tasks can eat away at the minutes of a day. Select one time of day to handle these chores in bulk, rather than continually checking mail and social networking feeds throughout the day.
Focus on one task at a time
It is tempting to try to complete several chores at once, but the brain works most efficiently when totally immersed in the job at hand. Business owners who allow themselves to work in the flow of a single project will complete the task quicker, and better, than those who attempt to juggle several projects at once.
The human mind seeks closure. The business owner that keeps several projects open at one time will quickly become exhausted, and less productive, as the list of unfinished tasks drains away thinking power. It is better to break large projects into small tasks that may be quickly completed and then move on.
Outsource administrative tasks
Business owners that try to save money by completing routine administrative tasks themselves may actually be hurting their company’s bottom line. A cost-benefit analysis may reveal that hiring someone else to file the quarterly tax reports, or do the weekly payroll, may prove to be a financially smart move when the business owner enters the value of his or her own time into the calculation.
While many business owners are uncomfortable relinquishing control, micro-managing shackles employees’ ability to reach their highest levels of productivity. In addition, time spent unnecessarily overseeing workers is time taken away from a business owner’s own work.
Bad attitudes among employees spread and are counterproductive. Business owners need to keep an eye out for disgruntled employees. Unhappy workers will not have their personal goals aligned with those of the business. These are not the kind of employees to which a business owner can delegate responsibilities.
Olympic figure skater Sara Lipinski took home a gold medal in the 1998 winter Olympics. She attributed her flawless performance to the approach she took to life in the Olympic Village. Rather than spending all her time with practice, she embraced life in the community, taking in the sights and visiting with other athletes. This break from the demands of training enabled her to return to the skating rink with a clear mind and fresh outlook.
Business owners can take a tip from this young athlete. Those that fail to take a break become boxed in by day-to-day, repetitive tasks, accomplishing no more than a hamster on a wheel. Market changes will go unnoticed, ineffective practices will go unobserved, by the business owner that fails to lift his or her nose from the grindstone to look around and see the larger picture. Schedule a vacation or an afternoon away from the business. In the long-run it will boost productivity.