Running a small business can be difficult, especially if you feel like you’re constantly working. Entrepreneurs are CEO’s – the Chief Everything Officer. You wear so many hats you could start a second operation just selling hats! The biggest problem is that you’re making some common mistakes that are killing your productivity.
If you’re feeling overworked or like you’re not making enough progress towards growth and success, you may be making one of these five productivity mistakes.
The world of technology is changing fast, and businesses have to change with it if they want to maintain a competitive edge. Not every innovation has improved productivity (looking at you, Zuckerburg), but nobody can deny the wealth of tools that exist now to manage customer information, automate marketing process, manage print and data systems, and reduce downtime in the business. Sure, upgrading your computers and rebuilding your web presence can be an annoyance taking up space on your to-do list, but it beats getting shellacked by your competitor down the street.
This might sound like it doesn’t apply to you, but even the busiest entrepreneurs can become stuck in a rut. Not only are you in charge of your day-to-day operations, but you have to manage your employees as well.
It can be easy to stop looking for ways to improve once your business is up and running. You may feel like you can relax a bit when things are going smoothly, but resting on your laurels will hurt you in the long run.
Holding Too Many Meetings
If there’s one thing that is nearly unanimously hated about corporate culture, it’s meetings. They are almost always inefficient and rarely accomplish anything valuable enough to justify the opportunity cost. Periodic meetings to touch base or go over important topics are fine, but to maximize productivity, consider streamlining communications via a messaging app.
Group messaging apps allow everyone to stay in touch and informed at all times without having to pause their work for another meeting.
It has been scientifically proven repeatedly that the human brain simply isn’t good at multitasking. In spite of this, we tend to live in a culture that praises those of us who sound the busiest and juggle too many tasks at once.
Don’t fall into the multitasking trap. When you try to focus on more than one thing at a time, it only splits your focus and tires your brain more quickly. This means that nothing gets your full attention, so tasks aren’t done as well. It also means that you become mentally fatigued more quickly, which kills your productivity.
Instead, divide your day into blocks of time that are each focused on a single task. Use a timer if necessary. Your focus will be sharper, and you’ll see an immediate boost in productivity.
Not Valuing Your Time
It’s common for small business owners to feel like they have to do everything, even if they have employees that could take over certain tasks. While this might sound like dedication, it’s actually a control issue that will lead to burnout.
Your time is valuable, and that means you should delegate and outsource whenever possible. Make a list of every little thing you do, and decide which tasks you can delegate.
Operating Without Definitive Goals
It’s easy to create sweeping, nebulous goals. However, it’s also difficult to make concrete progress towards that type of goal because you never know where exactly the goalposts are. This can lead to a lot of unnecessary work being done or an overall drop in morale, which translates to a drop in productivity.
Instead, take those overarching goals and break them down into smaller, definitive ones that have concrete steps and measurable progress markers. When everyone has something solid to work towards, it’s easier to feel motivated to work hard.
Don’t Waste Time Spinning Your Wheels
If you want to decrease stress and increase productivity, ask yourself if you’re making any of the five productivity mistakes listed above.