- Block out periods of the week specifically for admin tasks – if you want uninterrupted time to clear your business admin, why not put a daily or weekly block in the calendar to do this? Why not spend 20 mins in the morning and afternoon sending, clearing, and responding to emails (and not looking at them outside of these times), or block out a couple of hours on a Monday morning to build your task list for the week? Perhaps you want a regular afternoon at the end of the month set aside for uninterrupted invoicing and other business finance work (collating expense receipts, etc.)? Whatever would help you to create a short, uninterrupted window for your business essentials – without an infinite number of potential distractions from customer calls/emails, etc. – will really help to improve your productivity and help to ensure that important tasks are completed with your full attention.
- Set up regular ‘out of office’ emails with information about when you will get back to the individual emailing you – if you want to reduce the amount of time you spend responding to emails out of hours, why not set up a regular ‘out of office’, politely advising contacts of when they can expect a response from you? This provides an instant response and gives them realistic expectations of when you will contact them. You can always set up an emergency number, if required, for customers to contact you on outside of traditional work hours, but the reality is that 99% of emails you receive can easily wait a day or two for a response.
- Set specific windows for appointments and calls – if you regularly take customer calls and book in appointments with customers, why not try to fit these all into one or two days per week? That way, you’ll have time to focus on other business tasks without having to take a break every few minutes to speak to a customer or supplier? You’ll also be able to give your customers your full, undivided attention, which can help to improve the overall customer experience.
- Take a break – trust me, although it seems like this idea would interfere with productivity (how could you work efficiently away from your desk?!), the truth is that taking a break to get some fresh air or have a snack gives you a chance to refocus your attention and get the blood flowing again! You don’t need to be chained to your desk to be productive and looking after your health and wellbeing with nutritious food, regular hydration and exercise undoubtedly has a positive impact on your overall productivity and efficiency.
- Be kind to yourself – if you’ve not had a particularly successful day at work, whether you’ve been distracted or had a technological disaster, don’t worry too much! Take a step back, enjoy your downtime and come back with renewed enthusiasm tomorrow. Everyone has peaks and troughs when it comes to productivity (you aren’t the only one!) so try to think about all of the amazing things you have achieved in business and look forward to more productive days on the horizon.
Managing your time more effectively doesn’t require massive changes to your routine, just a few simple changes can help you to work more productively, and a simple change is more likely to become a long-lasting habit than a dramatic schedule shift!