Maximise efficiency by working smarter, not harder

Posted on by Katie Hook

Estimated read time: 5 mins

Setting up and running your own business is hard, really hard, but surely the benefits make it worthwhile?

Three top reasons for starting your own business according to are: flexibility, more spare time and calling the shots – easy to see the appeal, but are you getting these benefits?

Research has found that a majority of UK micro-business owners’ average working week is 52 hours, a ludicrous 63% longer than the average ‘9-to-5’ worker at 37 hours.The research also showed that construction industry workers are hardest hit with an even longer average week of 62 hours.1

It’s clear to see that flexible working and spending more time with the family isn’t necessarily the reality of owning your own business – but it should be, so what can you do to maximise efficiency and productivity to reduce the hours of your working week?

The answer is to work smarter, not harder (or for longer) and follow these simple but effective tips to boost productivity in the workplace:2

1. Set your schedule for the next day, the night before you leave the office

This way you can come straight in to work the next morning and begin working on priority one. Of course, things will change throughout the day, but having your schedule will help keep you on track and ticking things off your ‘to do list’ will help you see your progress.

2. Take a five-to-10 minute break whenever you feel mentally fatigued

Working straight through an 8hr day may mean you get things done, but will they be done to a good standard? Taking a small break, such as going to make a coffee, will help you feel refreshed and more productive.

3. Reduce your multi-tasking

Multi-tasking seems the obvious way to get things done fast, but trying to do too many things at once will cause distractions and ultimately lead to mistakes.

4. Eliminate potential distractions

Put your personal phone on silent, turn off social media notifications and if you’re really busy close down your emails (some people swear by only checking emails at allocated times throughout the day!). Some distractions will surface, but help yourself be more focused by minimising the risk of others.

5. Impose deadlines on yourself, and stick to them

Some people work to the best of their ability when they have deadlines to meet. Set yourself deadlines, put them in your schedule and strive to meet them.

6. Avoid large, heavy lunches that will leave you feeling fatigued

Eating big, heavy meals at lunch can often make people feel tired and sluggish for the rest of the day. Instead snack on foods that are high in protein, fibre and antioxidants to keep you full but focused.

7. Keep your workspace clean and clear of clutter

“A cluttered desk is a symptom of a cluttered mind” as they say, keep your desk tidy and spend less time searching for things. This doesn’t only have to apply to your desk though…apps are available to assist with email inbox maintenance and if you don’t have a PA or secretary, utilise your email diary to schedule meetings and reminders of those meetings so you’re not late!

As well as the above, another way to be productive is to know when to outsource.

Initially you may think that it’s more cost efficient to do everything yourself, however you need to know where your strengths lay and when to draft in a professional or a paid-for service.

For example, you decide to add a blog section to your construction services website to assist with online presence. Ask yourself, do you have the skill set required to write engaging content as well as having the time to do so on a regular basis? Or are you better using that time on the day-to-day running of your business? If it’s the latter, there are plenty of options available for assistance with blog writing – employ someone part time, offer work to a freelance agency or even let professionals bid for your work on freelancer jobsites.

Certain online paid-for tools or services also have numerous benefits, such as when needing a marketing list to target prospect customers. It is possible to build a good marketing list manually, but do you have the resource and time available to build one to the level of detail and quality needed? If not, specialist tools are available online to allow you to search for the type of customers you want, in the sector and geography you want them. And although there is a charge for these tools, you may end up with better quality information in a fraction of the time.

Let Experian B2B Prospector save you time by enabling you to quickly and easily target the customers you want via a wide range of search criteria, including sector, geography, number of employees, turnover plus many more.

Source: Entrepreneur, 1 Real Business, 2 Entrepreneur

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