Calendar and notebook on desk

Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners Who Need to Get Stuff DONE

Alright, folks — let’s talk productivity tips!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Here comes another list of apps I don’t have time to learn.” But hold up! I’m not about to dump more stuff on your to-do list.

I’m here to share a few nuggets of wisdom that have turbocharged my efficiency as a small business owner, and they might just do the same for you. (Yes, even if you’ve got a million things to do and no time to get through it all!)

So, are you ready to transform your work days from exhausting marathons into victory laps? Grab your favorite brew, clear that cluttered desk (or not, no judgment here), and let’s dive into 5 ways you can boost productivity and automate repetitive tasks.

#1 Buddy Up with an Accountability Partner

You’re juggling a million things, and your to-do list is looking more like a novel each day. But what if I told you that one of the best ways to increase productivity has been in your life this whole time?

Enter: the accountability partner.

This isn’t just about finding someone to nudge you to finish tasks; it’s about partnership, about finding that person (colleague, family member, friend, or peer – the choice is yours!) who can rally behind your goals as a small business owner.

Let me explain how this dynamic duo approach can supercharge your time management, helping you prioritize tasks and stay focused on your goals.

The Power of Peer Support

Let’s face it, sometimes no amount of productivity hacks will help us when we’re working solo over here. Many of us need that extra push to get things done, and who better to give it than someone who just gets it?

An accountability partner is someone who understands the struggle of task management, wants to help you build a successful business, and can keep you motivated.

The Ritual of Accountability

Without a day set aside to check in with your partner, you won’t take it as seriously, and it’ll end up a “we’ll get to it when we feel like it or when we remember” situation.

So, lock in those check-ins like they’re sacred. They’re the stepping stones that will pave your road to success, keeping you motivated and accountable.

Setting Strategic Goals

Clear, actionable goals are the name of the game when it comes to small business productivity.

No more wandering through the wilderness of “someday I’ll get to it”. With an accountability partner by your side, it’s time to map out your journey with achievable goals and a focus on your most critical tasks.

Each time you check in (whether via email, Zoom, or in person), set your specific goals and most important task(s) to complete for the upcoming week or month.

For example, a vague goal might be “get all my work done”, whereas a specific goal might be “make significant progress on X marketing task.”

These are called SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

#2 The Monthly Mirror: Create Your Own Review

If you’re like most small business owners, the end of the month often arrives with a big set of question marks.

Did I do enough? Could I have done it better? What did I even achieve this month?

This is where the ‘Monthly Mirror’ shines, reflecting not just your financials but your overall business health.

It’s about getting real with yourself, laying out the good, the bad, and the ‘could-be-better’. 

Let’s explore how this simple yet powerful practice can give you insights that go beyond the balance sheet.

  • An Overview of Operations: A monthly review is like having coffee with your business. It’s a chance to catch up, see what’s been working, and what needs a little nudge.
  • Your Comfort & Growth: Stretching beyond your comfort zone is where growth happens. Your monthly review is the perfect time to reflect on whether you’re pushing boundaries or playing it safe.
  • Timeline Tracking: Deadlines aren’t just about keeping promises to clients; they’re about respecting your own time. See how keeping a keen eye on deadlines can revolutionize your workflow.
  • Financial Snapshot: Think of this as your business’s check-up. Are you thriving, or just surviving? Turn those numbers into actionable insights.
  • Emotional Barometer: Entrepreneurship is as much about passion as it is about profit. Your monthly review should measure your enthusiasm as well as the health of your enterprise.

To keep me on track, I created a simple spreadsheet with the following columns: 

  • Type of project(s) I worked on
  • Was I comfortable with the projects I worked on?
  • Were timelines met (on my end or my clients’ end)?
  • What was my total income for the month?
  • What was my net income for the month?
  • What frustrated me?
  • What made me happy?
  • How many projects did I close?

A spreadsheet like this allows me to see what’s going on in my business at a glance – the good and the bad.

Every month, I set a calendar reminder to pop into this spreadsheet to fill everything in. There’s that calendar hint again – be sure to put this on the calendar, otherwise you won’t be consistent and make it a priority. 

Like what you’re reading? I think you’ll also love “How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure: A Guide for Entrepreneurs”.

#3 Master Your Calendar Like a Pro

Oh, the chaos of a cluttered Google calendar — missed appointments, double bookings, and that uneasy feeling you’ve forgotten something crucial. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Using your calendar truly means you can set-it-and-forget-it!

Your calendar should be your trusty steed, not a wild stallion you’re constantly trying to tame. It’s time to become the master of your time, turning your calendar from a source of stress into a streamlined tool for success.

Scheduling as a Strategy

Let’s start treating your calendar like the strategic asset it is — think of it as the command center for your daily missions. Make sure it includes info about your daily priorities, your strategic objectives, and your personal milestones.

Never Miss a Beat

Reminders are your silent guardians, your watchful protectors, your…you get the picture. They’re important. So, set those reminders, and then set some more. They’re the gentle nudges you need to keep working towards your goals.

Integrating Work & Life

It’s important to add both personal and professional events, goals, etc. into your calendar to balance your professional and personal life. For example, make sure you schedule some “me time” into your week or phone calls with friends and family. 

Syncing Across Your World

Create calendar continuity across all your tech devices (laptop, cellphone, iPad, Alexa, etc.) to ensure that no matter where you are, you’re in sync with your schedule.

#4 The Great Browser Tab Exodus

This could totally be a personal preference, so take it for what it’s worth. Sometimes having tons of tabs open in your browser can add a lot of stress and anxiety to your plate. All those tabs are likely open because they’re important, and you don’t want to forget to tend to them.  

When I need to focus on one thing and not keep staring at all those other open tabs, I’ll open up a Google document, create a bulleted list, and grab each of the links I have open.

Then, I’ll keep that one Google document tab open instead of the 15 that are driving me crazy!

Within that document, I can organize the links by importance and cross them off or delete them as soon as they’re done.  Ahhhh! 

Here’s why I love it:

  • One-Tab, One-Focus: Imagine each tab as a commitment — by reducing them, you’re committing to focus, and that’s more than half the battle.
  • Organize to Prioritize: It’s not just about having a to-do list; it’s about having a to-do list that does right by you, aligning tasks with priorities.
  • Clean Workspace, Clear Mind: Think of your single-tab document as the Zen garden of your work life. Tend to it, and peace (and productivity) will follow.
  • The Satisfaction of Completion: Checking off tasks is like scoring goals — the more you score, the better you play the game of business.

#5 Delegate Tasks Like You Mean It

Listen up, lone wolves! Trying to do everything yourself is like trying to juggle flaming swords. Sooner or later, you’re going to get burned.

Delegation is the cool rain that douses the flames. It’s not about giving up control; it’s about gaining progress.

Whether you hire a coach, an assistant, or a bookkeeper – and whether these folks are contractors or employees – attempting to do 100% of everything in your business by yourself isn’t the most efficient, productive, or successful way to reach your goals.  

Think of delegation as the trust fall of business — it’s about believing in the people you’ve chosen and letting them shine, so you not only boost your productivity but also bring fresh energy and ideas into your business.

Your Roadmap to Productivity is Set!

Remember, it’s not just about working harder, but smarter — and sometimes, that means letting others lift some of the weight off your shoulders.

As you step forward, take these insights and mold them into your daily grind. Watch as the chaos turns to calm, the stress to strategy, and the overwhelming to the totally doable!

At Exhale Design Co, we’re all about breathing new life into your business strategies, helping you find the time and space to focus on what truly matters. Together, we’ll turn your to-do list into a “done” list and your business dreams into reality.

Reach out, and let’s make those productivity gains together.

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Stefani Harris

Hey there! I'm Stefani, your website strategist, designer, developer, caretaker, and proud Google nerd. I believe in taking a mindful, holistic, and collaborative approach to accomplish your website and tech-related goals. Click here to learn more about me and Exhale Design Co. I look forward to meeting you and working with you!

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