Have a more productive day

I often see people online asking, ‘how do you stay focused when you’re a business owner?’. Well for starters don’t post that on Facebook and wait for the replies! Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies, putting barriers in our own way – often without realising, because we’re doing it habitually.

Did you know we probably only earn money around 3-4 hours a day, even if we’re sat in the office for 8 hours. There are so many distractions.

I get distracted too and have to have a quiet word with myself and refocus. Here are some things I do to help me be more productive during my working day, you might find some of these will help you too?

Start the day…

Don’t worry I’m not going to suggest you start your day with a 5 mile run and an hour of yoga, it’s much simpler than that.

Often having too much on your to-do list can create a sense of panic – that panic wastes time and distracts your full attention from the task in hand, so if we remove the panic we are more productive and focused.

Start every day with a daily to-do list. Not an open ended one or a weekly one, a daily list.

That way you can focus on just a few tasks that need doing before the day is out, it removes overwhelm or having to spend time prioritising. Plus, the shorter the list the more likely it’ll be you can get away earlier!

Focus on bringing the money in

Make your initial tasks of the day those that will bring the money in, so you don’t end the day thinking ‘today was unproductive’.

For example:

  • ✍🏼 Respond to potential new client enquiries
  • ✍🏼 Provide quotes for work
  • ✍🏼 Throw some social media posts out for the day, so it can work for you while you’re working
  • ✍🏼 Respond to old or existing clients (good customer service leads to long-term relationships)
  • ✍🏼 Complete outstanding work so you can send final invoices

Have a notepad

Do you ever start a task and think ‘ooh, I must remember to do this’ or ‘ah, I better just quickly do this other thing before I forget’? I do, especially as I am reaching menopause!

But when you stop a task to do something else it takes on average 23 minutes to refocus and get on with the original task! Not good for time management and productivity.

To avoid me going off track and trying to multi-task I have a notebook next to me all day and jot down those little things that come into my head, so I don’t have to try and remember. Instead I can do them later or add them to my to-do list for another time.

Social media distractions

Is there a way to avoid the distractions of social media other than locking yourself in a cellar with a packet of biscuits?

Yes, there is! And even better you can still have the biscuits.

It is simply about limiting your time, but I know that’s easier typed than done, so here are a few other things you can do to stop Facebook taking over your life:

  1. ✓ Log out of the platform on your laptop / pc and remove the automatic password fill. This creates an extra barrier to you getting on to Facebook in just one click.
  2. ✓ Remove the app from your phone – making your only way of getting online via the laptop / pc and now that isn’t so easy if you’ve done number 1!
  3. ✓ Set a timer. Before you go online, set a timer and, as I said initially, limit your time. Perhaps 10 minute bursts?

Networking (face to face)

Possibly a controversial one for some, but are those networking events really benefitting you and your business, or is it like cake – nice but that’s about it?

Consider how much it’s costing you by travelling to a venue, the time spent there and travelling back.

The world is your oyster, spend a little time looking at your online networking instead – LinkedIn and Twitter for example.

There’s no science to it. Connect, engage, show interest, join debates and enjoy it. In six months online networking will be working for you.

Eat

Bit of an eye roll here from some of you perhaps, but take time away from everything to eat. I know you’re busy, but do it just once or twice a week if you can’t promise me you’ll do every day.

Close the laptop and leave the phone on your desk so your brain:

  1. ✓ Relaxes
  2. ✓ Knows its eating
  3. ✓ Collects its thoughts

It really does make a difference. I read, but for the life of me can’t find it now, that we tend to get hungrier if we do something else while eating as our brain doesn’t focus solely on the food going in.

And, a lunch break doesn’t have to be an hour. If you’re too busy just take the time it takes you to eat your lunch, that might only be 20 minutes, but at least you’re recharging yourself.

Before you finish for the day…

Write tomorrow’s to-do list. That way you know what’s expected of you when you get into the office, you can start with a focus and hopefully, switch off in the evening.

It also stops that ‘oh I must remember to do that’ when you wake at 4am for that trip to the bathroom!

I hope some, or maybe all of these help make your day even more productive.

This article was exclusively published in the Wilts Business Magazine June July 2018

Catherine Gladwyn

As a Virtual Assistant I am here to take care of the jobs that need doing, but you just don't have the time for. catherine@delegatevirtualassistant.co.uk

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