Everyone wants to save time and money — and some argue that the two are one and the same — which means that increasing productivity has become a top priority for most people in recent years — especially those who run their own business.
Below is a quick guide on simple hacks you can implement today to get more things done and take your digital business to the next level.
Spend the ideal duration on break
According to many experts, the ideal work-break ratio is 52 minutes spent working and 17 minutes on break. Studies show that this ratio is optimal for maximizing your productivity.
When you’re in the working phase, you’ll be working rather fast to try and get the most work done before the timer rings. The fact that you’re being timed will make you work faster instead of zombie-ing through the day until you can go home.
The first thing you need to do is organize your tasks in order of priority and importance. You’ll start by listing all the tasks you need to do in a specific day, week, month, year, etc. This could include minor things like checking your emails to larger ordeals like filing your taxes. You’ll be surprised by how much you actually do on a day-to-day basis.
Once you have everything listed, prioritize the tasks on these lists. Organize them in order of important — from the things your business couldn’t live without to stuff that would be nice to do but aren’t that important overall.
Once you have everything listed and ordered, add a difficulty level to each task. These difficulty annotations will make it easier for you to gauge how much you can accomplish in a given day or week.
Value your time (delegate and outsource)
When there are some tasks on your to-do list that would be better or easier if performed by an expert, but you aren’t ready to hire another employee, you should consider outsourcing the work to your staff, virtual assistant or even a freelancer for when things get busy.
If your biggest worry is the price that it’ll cost to outsource the work, think of it this way: “how much more money would I be making with my business if I was able to devote my undivided attention to work I’m good at and outsourcing the rest to other people?” And with new advancements in online employee tracking and monitoring, you can easily keep track of who has worked when, for how long, and what compensation is rightfully owed.
If you take the path of outsourcing, you’ll be able to grow the revenue of your business instead of spending a day handling a task that experts could handle in under an hour. Don’t sacrifice half of the days in your week just to file taxes yourself, get an accountant to handle that for you.
When you outsource tasks, you give yourself more time, lower your stress levels, and ensure that the task is handled by someone who’s more suited to it than you are.
In the short-term, it may look like outsourcing hinders your profit, but in the long run, it actually gives you more time to focus on the aspects of your business that you can improve on with your skillset which translates to more profit over time.
Chunk it up
Bouncing back and forth between one task to another in your daily schedule can be very time-consuming. You should be focusing on one task at a time to ensure that you finish everything on time. It’s because of this that you should batch your tasks as often as possible.
For instance, let’s say you’re an entrepreneur that needs to respond to emails from your customer while also marketing your company on various social media platforms.
Rather than constantly returning to your social media feeds and email inboxes, put a set time in your day when you respond to customer inquiries to give you a sense of rhythm so you don’t have to interrupt your other tasks to check on your emails again.
The time that you would have otherwise spent jumping from one task to another can now be used to handle other tasks on your agenda.
Automate social media
Social media is like a full-time job. If you want to cut down on the time you spend managing your social media marketing campaigns, you should automate your tweets and posts to ensure that you can post consistently at just the right times without spending most of your day on Facebook.
Automation also lets you test what the best time of day to post is. Don’t limit yourself to times that are right on the hour, try some schedules like 9:15 AM or 1:50 PM and see if they perform better.
People don’t usually go on social media at 9:00 AM or 2:00 PM sharp as they’re usually busy running to a meeting that they’re gonna be late for. Automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can help you reduce the amount of time you spend on social media while still maximizing your results and productivity.
Read some blog posts
Staying up to date on industry trends and new regulations is paramount to running a successful business or marketing campaign. Subscribing to the blogs of your competitors could also help you stay ahead of them and see what they’re up to — whether it’s new products being released or a new marketing campaign being launched.
Don’t forget to read some of the stuff put out by Entrepreneur and The Wall Street Journal. When you learn more about your industry and improve on your craft, it’ll be easier for you get the job done without spending too much time on any given task.
In fact, there are so many good blogs out there that it’s hard to decide which one is the most helpful. Just try to stick to the ones that you relate to most.
Boost your energy
To be productive, you need to be energetic, and what better way to be energetic than taking a daily jog or working out more? Even a short run in the morning can tune you up for the day’s activities.
Block time-sinking websites
If you spend too much time procrastinating on specific websites, you can download the StayFocusd [sic] Chrome extension to block certain sites during specific times of the day. Removing your access to these time sinks will help you get everything important done on time.
Worry about where you end, not where you start
When people start a new project such as an article, they tend to force themselves to start at the beginning, but if you get stuck looking at the cursor flash, try to enter into the topic from the middle or the end instead.
Double the screens, half the time
Having two or more monitors can help you save a lot of time. You’ll be able to research while writing, look at reference images while designing your new logo, or communicate with your team while watching an educational YouTube video.
Conduct weekly assessments to see how you’re holding up and whether or not you’re hitting all the goals you’ve set. Self-care and status checks are great for optimizing your productivity and avoiding burnout.
As a busy digital business owner, time flies by each day and the to-do list never seems to end. By implementing some of the productivity hacks above you can leverage your time more wisely, get more done, and focus in on the things that make the biggest difference in driving your business forward.
Eric Czerwonka is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Buddy Punch, an employee time tracking software company founded in 2013 that provides employee management solutions for any small and large companies alike – anyone with employees from startups right to corporations and anyone with a remote team to manage. In the future, Eric hopes to continue to fit each problem with the correct solution through the use of technology as well as innovation. Eric also holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.