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How can I improve my productivity?

Here we look at some of the common issues small business owners face when it comes to being productive. These practical tips will help you to make the most of your time.

I find it hard to say no to extra work requests

We’ve all been in the situation where we already have a list as long as our arm to get on with then somebody asks us to do something else which will ‘only take a minute’.

When you are up against it in terms of time and deadlines, by asking ‘How long will it take?’ and ‘When do you need it by?’ will help you establish whether it is possible to shuffle your other work around.

It is also good to offer alternatives – if you aren’t able to complete it by their deadline, suggest a time when you you can realistically have it done by – for example ‘I can do it this afternoon if that helps?’

I waste time on the unimportant things

Analyse your task list in terms of urgency (how quickly the task needs completing) and importance (how importance this task is to help meet your aims).

The urgent and important tasks should be completed first. Non urgent and important tasks can be scheduled for a later date and urgent, less Important tasks can be passed on to somebody else or processes may be created to remove or minimise these.

There are never enough hours in the day

Days get busier but there are still only 24 hours in a day. In addition to planning your day, allocate time to each of the items and keep track during the day as to how you are doing. Be realistic from the outset in terms of time allocations and if you regularly have ad hoc tasks that arise unexpectedly, allow time for these.

I often miss out on important, personal events because I am so busy with work

There will always be times where we have to make compromises in terms of work and personal life. However, if you feel that you are constantly missing out on personal events and this is affecting you, then it is important to make changes.

Be realistic in terms of what you can get done in a day and be honest with yourself with regards to what is most important to you. Life should be a mix of work and personal accomplishments. Schedule personal events into your diary (frequency is up to you) and ensure that you stick to them.

My ‘to do lists’ never goes down

A long ‘to do list’ can be daunting.

Split the actions between days so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Try and keep your ‘to do list’ up to date at the end of each day so you can hit the ground running the following morning (and so that you’re not worrying about what you need to do every evening).

Plan your time around your energy levels. If you are a morning person, plan some of your most difficult and through provoking work first thing.

I put off tasks that I don’t enjoy doing

It is inevitable that the work will need completing at some point so why not get the uncomfortable tasks out of the way first so you can ‘enjoy’ the good tasks? Once again, plan your tasks around your personal energy and interest levels. Read more on starting and finishing large or difficult tasks here

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