As a small business owner, more often than not you may find yourself starting the day with a clear idea of what needs to be done, but by the afternoon, you realise that you have not completed the first item on the list yet. This may be because of distracting emails or unscheduled meetings and you end up spending your valuable time on other people’s needs. At the start of next year, you may have goals to take your business to the next level and for that distractions and unnecessary items in your schedule need to be eliminated. With that in mind here are a few tips to work smarter to perform at your peak every day.
1. Don’t check emails first thing in the morning
Decision making is an energy consuming task, and emails generally overwhelm your brain with ideas in order to make quick decisions. Unless your job is literally checking emails all day, it would be wise to leave this until early afternoon once the daily priorities have been handled.
2. Prioritise the goals for the day first thing in the morning
As you will not be checking emails first thing, the best idea is to prioritise the goals for the day and how you will set about achieving them. You need to be clear about the most important things and to keep things simple, choose the three most important items that have to be completed.
3. Conserve your energy when it comes to decision making
For those tasks that are not part of your priorities, it is an essential skill to learn to say no to these, or better yet delegate them to the right staff. As a result, you are not required to spend energy on tasks that could be done by someone else, or not required at all in the larger scheme of things.
4. Assign an hour or two of the day as your personal thinking time
This is the time where you focus on deeply on your long terms goals and where your business is in terms of achieving these. It is essential that phones and emails are turned off during this time, so make sure you choose an hour that you expect not to be too busy.
5. Schedule meetings later in the day
As mentioned last week, the first thing you should try and do each day is to prioritise your short term goals. Meetings are usually energy intensive and require your full focus. It may be a better idea to get your daily tasks out of the way before going into any meetings so you are going in with a fresh mind and a lesser workload on the way out of the meeting.
6. Plan a clear path for your meetings
Before the start of each meeting with your clients or staff, plan out the most effective way to get to the end, so that time is not wasted on meaningless conversations. Have a clear vision, so that you are not caught up in the minute details of the discussion. Concise meetings also appear more professional and allow for quick resolution of any problems.
7. Reduce multitasking
Unless you are exceptionally talented with multitasking, try and focus on a single task at any given time. Excessive multitasking tends to cause distractions and could cause mistakes, which go unnoticed and also drain your energy. A way to reduce this is to delegate appropriately and as much as possible.
8. Stay Positive!
It is commonly said that the brain classifies everything as a ‘threat’ or a ‘reward’. People are generally more creative thinkers when they are staying positive. Teams tend to collaborate easily when everyone is positive and is working towards the same goal. Interpret threats as rewards or challenges as opportunities and you find yourself achieving more than ever before.
9. Celebrate small victories
You may get find yourself rushing from one thing to the next, or solving a particularly tough problem and moving on to the next one without a break. In this process you may miss seeing the progress you are actually making. A sense of progress in fact is one of the most rewarding things you can have in your business. As with the previous point positive emotions have a contagious effect and can help to improve relations with your staff and clients.
I hope these tips help you in winning every day, as these ideas are useful for all aspect of your small business.
About the author:
This article was written by John Corias, senior accountant at M.A.S Accountants.