Five time management tips to boost your productivity

Entrepreneur and business mentor Rebecca Newenham explains how you can make every minute count for your business.

Five time management tips to boost your productivity

When you’re running a business, time is money. Many studies show that business owners work more hours than most, with some putting in over sixty hours a week. But we all know that working so many hours isn’t healthy in the long term.

No matter how determined you are, you cannot be productive for fifty-plus hours of your week. Maintaining a work-life balance is critical to avoid burnout and enjoy working in your franchise. Poor time management creates stress, which leads to overwhelm, feeling unmotivated, poor decision-making and impacts productivity. You need to find ways to work smarter, not harder.

How do I know if I’m not being productive?

Here are some of the signs that you’re not being as productive as you could be:

  • If you’ve been at your computer for more than an hour, you’re probably less productive now than you were at the start. You’re more likely to make mistakes or work more slowly as your concentration suffers.
  • If you get to the end of your working day and you feel like you haven’t finished anything, you may not be using your time effectively.
  • If you started your day well but find yourself getting distracted, maybe by videos, social media, games or the news, that’s a sign that your productivity has slipped.

If you can be honest with yourself about how productive you really are, you’re well on the way to working more efficiently.

The good news is that increasing your productivity is easier than you think.

Try these steps:

1. Do a time audit

Turn detective and discover where you’re spending your time. Is it on tasks you love or hate? Do all the tasks have to be done by you? Could some of them be delegated to someone else? An underlying cause of inefficient working is often taking on too much. You won’t be at your best if you’re overworked and firefighting. By understanding where your time goes, you can find ways to outsource tasks to others and get time back for yourself.

2. Take regular breaks

Use the Pomodoro Effect – do 25 mins of solid work, then take a 5 min break. Get up and stretch, make a cup of tea – just something to change your focus for a few minutes. Looking out of the window is a good idea, too, to rest your eyes after screen time. Repeat this three times, then take a longer 30 min break.

If you’re struggling with something, like finding the right way to word an email or visualising a new concept, step away from the computer and do something else. Your break will refresh you, and you should be able to unravel your problem more quickly afterwards.

3. Break down your to-do list

It’s easy to feel unproductive when every task is massive. Writing ‘finish report’ on your list means it might not get crossed off for a few months. But suppose you break it down into individual stages like ‘analyse February’s data,’ ‘write the introduction’, and any other elements you can do within a few hours. In that case, you can triumphantly complete several steps towards getting that report done and dusted. Above all, you’ll feel motivated to tackle the rest.

4. Create the right work environment

Whether in an office or at home, ensure your work area is tidy, organised and workable. Don’t be afraid to change your space occasionally, like making work calls whilst walking (as long as your signal is good). Switching things up can boost your productivity and creativity. Co-working spaces can be great for networking, and whilst being on the ‘shop floor’ can be distracting, it can also bring you closer to staff and the day-to-day of running your business.

5. Eat the frog!

Tackle your hardest task first. Don’t put it off. You’ll simply waste mental energy thinking about it, distracting you from other tasks. By addressing the challenge head-on, you can be proud of your achievements and move on to the rest of your day, knowing the worst is behind you.

These steps might feel like adding more tasks to an already overwhelming workload. But in the long term, they will make a difference. Think about what getting time back would mean to you. Dream about how you would spend the time you save and use that as a motivator to take position action for you and your franchise. Do get in touch if you would like some help with a time audit. Having been through the process myself, I know they can be incredibly valuable.

Rebecca Newenham
Rebecca Newenham