Ask any small business owner their biggest wish, and it’s likely to be “I wish there were more hours in a day.” How can you get more done in your business with the time that you have? Here are five productivity secrets from the most productive people I know: busy moms.
- Learn to multitask. Whether it’s sleeping with one ear open for a baby’s cries to holding a conference call from home while overseeing a child’s homework, moms are experts at doing more than one thing at a time. While this shouldn’t be your default mode of operation as a business owner, sometimes it has to be. If you’re one of those people who needs intense focus, try practicing working with some minor distractions until you get better at it.
- Make the most of mobile technology. If you’ve ever seen packs of moms waiting in their cars at school pickup or with their kids at the park, you know that most moms today wouldn’t last a minute without their smartphones. Put the power of mobile to work for your business by downloading apps to help you do what needs to get done in your business, no matter where you are. There are apps for everything from scanning receipts and generating invoices to hosting conference calls from your phone or signing contracts. Ask your business colleagues which ones they use most, and check them out.
- Keep a unified calendar. Having dozens of different calendars, such as one at your desk and one at home, is asking for trouble. Centralizing information is one of most moms’ productivity secrets. Many moms swear by a paper calendar in the kitchen’s “command station” with every family member’s activities on it. For business, get all of your calendar info in one digital location, rather than having different calendars at home, at work and in your briefcase or bag. With a digital calendar, you can access it wherever you are, and your assistant or employees can access it, too—helpful when they’re trying to schedule meetings or calls.
- Get help. Whether it’s nannies, housecleaners or older siblings enlisted to care for or entertain younger ones, moms are pros at finding the help they need to get the job done. Just like mom, you’re the boss, so act like it and delegate smaller tasks to employees, virtual workers or a part-time assistant instead of keeping everything to yourself. If you cringe at the thought of paying someone to do what you could do yourself, think about how valuable your time is. If a $15 an hour assistant can help you get more $200-an-hour business, isn’t that small expense worthwhile?
- Eliminate nonessentials. When you’re running a business—or a growing family—you sometimes have to scale down your aspirations and get rid of anything that’s not essential. Create your own priority list and eliminate anything that doesn’t make the list. For instance, if your priorities are family, business and staying healthy and fit, you might have to give up or cut back on any activities or hobbies that don’t enhance one of these priorities. Keep in mind, this won’t be forever—just until you get your business where you want it to be. By focusing on what really matters to you, you’ll feel more fulfilled and less scattered despite the demands of your business.
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