How to work smarter, not harder - Top 5 productivity hacks for small business owners

Have you ever found yourself working for hours on end and not actually achieving a huge amount? Well, it probably means you’re not working as smart as you can be. These easy steps allow you to work more efficiently and get more done, without burning yourself out in the process. 

  1. Start scheduling your social media

Social media is one of the most powerful tools for gaining traction and success as a small business. It is integral in both establishing and growing your audience, and consequently, your consumer base. However, queuing up content for social media can seem overwhelming, especially if your strategy involves posting multiple times a week. To tackle this problem, I suggest setting some time aside at the beginning of each month to plan out your social media strategy and create your content. This way, your diary is clear for the rest of the month and you won’t be stressing about socials last-minute. A brilliant tool for social media planning is, which gives you an overview of your posting schedule for each social media platform and provides you with a preview of what your feed will look like for those of you who are aesthetically-driven (like me!). Social media is key to your business’s success, so give it the time it deserves to be treated as such.

  1. Set dedicated times to check your email each day

Your email is essential for important client communication, and your inbox can easily flood with unread messages within the span of a few hours. While it is a tedious task to read through and address every email, don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to sort through it all at once. In fact, this is one of the worst strategies when it comes to client communication and business organisation. Checking your email once a day will make your response times significantly slower. On the other hand, checking your email all day every day will take time away from other important tasks at hand. So what is the right strategy for managing your inbox?

Like scheduling social media, you want to set aside some time each day to check and organise your emails. Gmail lets you create your own labels, helping you organise your inbox into an easy and manageable system. When you check your email in the morning, label your messages and resolve as many as you can in your allotted time frame. Check back in on your inbox in the afternoon to follow up on any previous messages, as well as tackle any outstanding unread messages from the morning. Checking your email twice a day allows you to be responsive to your clients while allotting you some extra time to tackle other tasks and work toward your goals. It’s a win-win situation if you ask me.

  1. Automate things as much as possible

This is one of my favourite pieces of advice for small business owners managing most operations on their own. Have a think about your business’s functions and make note of what tasks you can “hack” to avoid spending hours of your time on. Here’s a pro tip: Any task that is repetitive can most likely be automated. For instance, you can automate your email newsletters, planning out your messages in advance to be sent to your client base throughout the month. You can even automate your invoices and watch the money tick in without any last-minute stress. There are countless processes you can automate to take some stress off your plate and prevent you from burning out.

  1. Turn off app notifications

We’re all guilty of getting distracted. One minute you’re checking your email, and the next you find yourself scrolling through your Instagram feed. These distractions often start with one notification, and it’s all downhill from there. Think about it: do you really need these distractions? The answer is probably not. One of the easiest ways to eliminate the chances of you getting distracted is by turning on Do Not Disturb mode on your phone. This is a really useful tool to block any irrelevant notifications from coming in and leading you down a distraction-filled spiral. You can customise your settings to allow certain notifications to come through, so don’t worry, you won’t miss any important calls. Have a look at your screentime and trust me, you’re going to want to turn off your notifications.

  1. Reflect on the day you had

At the end of each day, take a moment to think about what worked well and what didn’t. Take into consideration the amount of time you took to complete each task, and whether or not you’re comfortable with these outcomes. With this information, you’ll have a good idea of what you should progress in your daily business functions, and what you can change to be more efficient. Start to get rid of bad habits and things that don’t work well by exploring alternative

options. Through trial and error, you’ll have a better idea of what works well while opening up some more time to devote to achieving your goals. Say goodbye to lost time and hello to a new, productive you.

With these five tips for productivity, you’ll streamline your success and become more disciplined. Before you know it, you'll be working smarter, not harder!

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