Once you’re faced with the task of getting a small business off the ground, the subject of productivity soon transforms from a vaguely interesting topic into an ongoing obsession. With the sheer range of challenges that confront entrepreneurs on a daily basis, being able to make the most of your limited time is an absolutely essential skill to cultivate.
We’ve probably all had that uncomfortable feeling that our overall productivity game could be substantially raised, but it’s not always easy to see where you’re actually letting yourself down when you’re in the thick of it. In this piece, we’ll help you extract some clarity from the chaos by looking at a practical series of steps you can use to quickly discover the number one productivity killer that’s holding you back.
Let’s step through the sequence!
- Track All Your Tasks As You Do Them
Our first step is an incredibly simple one. Regardless of what task tracking system you’re using generally, get yourself a single sheet of blank paper and write down each task as you do it throughout the day, along with the time you started it. Getting into this habit has two immediate benefits: you start getting a greater sense of where your time is actually being spent, and you naturally start to focus more exclusively on one task at a time.
- Trial The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple productivity hack that’s exploded in popularity over the last five years. The basic idea is incredibly straightforward – you set a timer repeatedly for 25 minutes and concentrate on one primary task without interruptions during that time. You then take regular scheduled breaks around those time periods.
Whether you commit to it as a long-term tactic or not, it’s well worth trialing this system for at least a week after you’ve followed our first suggestions and gotten into the habit of writing down tasks as you do them. The big payoff here is that it will quickly make very clear exactly where you’re getting unnecessarily side-tracked and distracted by other people or your own lack of focus.
- Set Aside Time To Review And Refine
Once you’ve taken a couple of weeks to explore our first two steps, you’ll have a much better idea in your own head of where you’re falling down. You’ll also be sitting on a considerable amount of actual data about how you go about your day.
Our final step involves simply setting aside some time to really sit down and analyse the results of your experiment to date, and having a proper think about how you can make practical improvements. Whatever you’re major productivity weakness happens to be should pretty much leap off the page as you do so. Commit to doing this practice on a regular basis and you’ll see a whole series of ongoing productivity improvements emerge organically over time.
As a small business owner, virtually nothing has more of an overall impact on your chances of long-term success than how you actually manage your time. The process we’ve outlined above might cause a bit of teeth-grinding when you first commit to it, but it will bring extraordinary results in a short space of time if you persevere with it. Bite the bullet and get started with it today!