Summertime is known for relaxing, taking vacations and spending quality time with family and friends. But as a business owner, it can be hard to take a break from your day-to-day operations to truly enjoy the season.
For me, seeking flexibility in my work schedule was a reason I left the traditional world of 9-5 careers. I wanted to be able to take a Friday afternoon off in the summer if I so desired – without having to get approval from a boss. Even so, the only way I can truly enjoy time off during the summer guilt-free is knowing that I’m up to date on my business tasks.
Curious how to improve business efficiency so that you can better enjoy the summer? Check out the following four tips I’m using in my business.
Say No to Interruptions
Whether it’s an email notification popping up in your desktop computer’s corner or noisy social media news on your cellphone, distractions kill focus. According to a UC Irvine study, each time we are distracted, almost 30 minutes is needed to refocus.
Some tips that I’ve implemented to minimize the distractions throughout the day? Most importantly, I put my phone on Do Not Disturb during particularly strenuous projects. I’ve turned off notifications for emails on my cell phone and desktop and have started checking my emails only three times per day. When working at my desk, I turn my cell phone over so that I can’t see any notifications that pop up.
Unless there’s an extremely pressing matter, I also no longer respond to client inquiries on weekends.
Stick to Your To-Do Lists
I’ve discussed before how much lists help me organize my workflow. They help me clearly outline my daily, weekly and monthly goals and provide me with the satisfaction of completing tasks. At the end of busy days, I can always review my lists to admire how much I was able to accomplish. And it’s not just me – studies have actually shown that lists are an effective productivity tool.
It’s inevitable, though: sometimes, no matter how great my intentions are to abide by my to-do tasks, an unplanned project comes up. When that happens, I’m sure to add the new task to my list so that I can accurately track the amount of work I complete.
Even though I may not accomplish the tasks I set out to do on that particular day, I can still feel accomplished by knowing what I did finish.
Block Off Your Day
I only recently heard about time blocking after listening to a podcast. The practice, which entails planning out all of your daily tasks and responsibilities in blocks of time in advance, takes list making to a whole new level.
I’ll admit: I don’t use the time blocking technique often. Typically, I only use it when I have a lot of projects with similar deadlines. But time blocking can be useful in all aspects of life – from taking time to exercise and meal prep to scheduling rest and sleep.
Outsource What You Don’t Do Well
Sure, it’s always great to expand your mind by learning new tasks and duties. But when certain tasks lead to frustration, stress or even mistakes, it’s time to see if hiring someone else would be a better solution.
Trust me, I get it. As a small business owner with a small budget, you don’t think you can afford to outsource any of your business tasks. However, oftentimes, the money you end up spending on hiring an expert is worth it. It’s worth it in your time (because you’re able to spend more time on doing what you actually excel at and can profit at) and it’s worth it in your sanity. For me, hiring an accountant was one of the best decisions I ever made business-wise.
This advice extends outside of your business, too. When you can save time and frustration on household-related tasks, then just think of how much more energy you will have for your business. Consider getting groceries delivered to your home, using a drycleaning service or even a landscaper. Sometimes, the costs are surprinsingly affordable for the amount of time it saves you.
The Bottom Line
Your business never stops – but if you don’t, you could eventually suffer from burnout.
By getting a little bit more efficient with your day-to-day schedule, it’s surprising how much more time you could enjoy throughout the day. Try it out this summer!