It’s so crucial to your business, but it’s also so elusive. There are time thieves everywhere, just waiting to distract you from the task at hand. You might even be so busy just trying to stay afloat that you have no time to look into productivity tools!
You’re not alone. Many business owners struggle with this, but fortunately, there are some great tips from smart business owners out there.
1. Don’t Rely On One Productivity Tool
@getstuffdonenow who is a “productivity guru,” advises business owners (and busy people in general) to use multiple productivity methods. This helps to ensure you stay on task even when one method fails!
You can use to-do lists, your Google or Outlook calendar, whiteboards, diaries and productivity apps like Trello and Asana to keep yourself on track.
2. Clear Out the Mental Clutter
@travbell, otherwise known as The Bucket List Guy, recommends that people who are feeling overwhelmed by the demands on their time take the time to go through their phones and remove any contacts that are not useful or necessary. Many of us hold onto old business cards or documents too. If it’s old and no longer valid, it might be time to purge!
3. Train Yourself to Set Goals
@JulieMorgenstrn, who is a time management expert and best-selling author, recommends that you set challenging but realistic goals and then reward yourself when you meet them.
Research has shown that people who write down their goals are much more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. So even if you’re not used to setting goals, make it part of your routine, and make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T. goals!
4. Learn Shortcuts
@johnsonlesleya is an instructional technology specialist who recommends using the Omnibox search on Google Chrome to find your Google Docs, Sheets and other Google cloud-based files.
There are many other technology-based hacks and tricks that you can use to get things done faster. Even simple keyboard commands can cut time off every task!
For example, if you are using Mac, just hit Command+Shift+A (Ctrl+Shift+A for Windows)and you will see all of your open and recent tabs in one block instead of going through them one by one! So spend some time learning the tricks.
5. The Two Minute Rule
@DanielPink, another New York Times bestselling author of books about business and productivity, swears by the “two-minute rule.” Which is simply that if something comes up that you can do in less than two minutes, you should do it immediately, rather than adding it to your to-do list for later.
There are many things that arrive on our desks every day that could be handled in under two minutes. You’ll be surprised how much shorter your to-do list becomes when you use this rule!
6. Outsource Things You’re Not Great At
@Namrita_Pspag, also known as Pink Spaghetti PA, advises small businesses to “master your strengths, outsource your weaknesses.”
Many small business owners spend a lot of time trying to do things they’re not great at just because they don’t want to spend money hiring someone to do them. However, time really is money, and the time you’re taking trying to do everything yourself is keeping you from business activities that bring in profits.
7. Plan As Much As You Can
@JenVondenbrink, who is a corporate trainer, advises businesses to plan what they can control, so they can take care of what they can’t.
This is a great tip. Many small business owners don’t do a lot of planning, so they spend a lot of time dealing with crises that might not have happened if they did. Taking care of things before they become critical helps to free up more time to deal with things that are really unpredictable.
8. Never Stop Learning
@MAC5WebDesign is the CEO of a web design company. He recommends taking free courses to build your skills.
This is an excellent idea because you can do online courses after hours, so they don’t cut into your productivity in the office. There are so many great online learning resources too! Try edX to find courses from Harvard, MIT and more!
9. Embrace Technology
@DaminiKSharma, who is a construction industry entrepreneur, says her company increased productivity by 200% by embracing technology.
We’ve all had a “technology baptism by fire” for the past few years. No one asked for it, but we all learned what we could actually do with the technology out there, and it makes a massive difference to productivity.
10. Use Clever Add Ons To Get More Out of Your Software
@SchaperEnergy recommends that businesses use QuickBooks Online with LiveFlow to connect QuickBooks to Google Sheets to streamline accounting and reporting in no time.
There’s a lot of technology out there, and tips like this that take advantage of new tools to improve the functionality of QuickBooks accounting is a great way to free your time and focus on growing your business
Want to learn more about the best financial reporting apps for QuickBooks and Google Sheets? Check out our article here.
There’s Always Room to Improve
If there is one thing we’ve learned from building one of the best apps for QuickBooks Online and reporting in Google Sheets, there’s always room for improvement.
The real trick to productivity is never to stop innovating. There’s always a better, faster, simpler or more secure way to do things, whether it’s our Google Sheets Integration or a new way to plan and manage projects.
Always look for the most efficient ways to do your job, and if that includes hiring a specialist for your team or outsourcing to a freelancer or another company, do it. There are no prizes for spending all your time doing something that could be done in half the time by someone else!
Productivity is often elusive because we’re so busy being busy that we don’t focus on better ways to get things done. So take a breath and consider if any of these tools will help you to get more done in less time and with less effort.