Productivity Hacks for Small Businesses

Jul 3, 2015 by Nick Bergin, Ecwid Team
Posted Jul 3, 2015 by Nick Bergin, Ecwid Team

There are numerous lists of how to make the most of your days. I was going to write one until I remembered I don’t particularly like lists unless they’re the kind I get to make checks by for a dopamine hit every time I complete a task. In lieu of another top ten, let’s talk about how taking care of yourself and improving your general well-being leads to increase productivity.

Walk

Getting away from a gargantuan may the best way to tackle it. Learn to unplug. Anything that gets you away from your workspace can give your mind a break and allow you to approach the issue with a fresher mind. I recently read a blog on Inc. (it’s super short — How the super creative come up with breakthrough ideas) that takes unconscious thought into consideration when tasked with a problem that requires creativity. The article suggests your mind is much better positioned to stumble upon solutions while it’s occupied with mundane tasks (eg, taking a shower, going for a run, etc). A few of us here at Ecwid like to surf, but whatever.

Outsource wherever necessary

It’s okay not to be great at everything. In fact, you’ll probably be better off if you’re not constantly pulled in every direction with your small business. If you need better content on your site, outsource. If you need someone who understands social media marketing, outsource. Pretty much everything from accounting to design can be outsourced when you’re a small business.

How about your ecommerce platform (shameless plug)? Do you know there are dozens of apps to help you run a cleaner, tighter online shop? Check out Ecwid’s App Market and try leveraging our partners’ core competencies to improve your store productivity. Schedule social media using Around.io and setup automated email campaigns with MailChimp. Using such tools can help you accomplish more in a shorter period of time and create time to enjoy yourself.

Cut your commute

Few people like commuting. And even those who claim to like “the drive home” or justify a forty minute commute with time to “decompress after work” cannot possibly enjoy Southern California traffic. I used to walk to work and now I have an eight minute drive although I could bike in twenty. If you have the ability to cut your commute time (doesn’t everyone telecommute a few days a week now?), do it. You’ll save time, money, and a probably a few headaches.

Eat better

I read somewhere that sugar is poison. Not sure if I’m completely on board with this, but there is compelling evidence above common sense that leads me to believe eating healthier foods leads to a more productive, happy life.

Learn to like tomatoes

The Pomodoro Technique is basically tracking your activities with a kitchen timer designed in the likeness of a tomato. Yes, this is a real thing — it’s on Wikipedia. People say this works. I tried it out and was distracted by the persistent clicking noise. Having said that, I used a fitness tracker for a while and realized even when I wasn’t tracking anything specifically, having something attached to my arm reminded me of my “fitness”. Being aware of time and your use of said time will surely produce an increase in efficiency.

Elevate your meetings

If you have to talk to someone for ten minutes, don’t put thirty on your calendar. And while you’re at it, take five minutes before your meeting to create an agenda to ensure you stay on topic. Setting the appropriate expectations translates across all aspects of life. The person who you’re scheduled to meet with will likely thank you for respecting and valuing their time.

Cut your to do list

Instead of giving yourself a set of tasks that would make Superman/Superwoman blush, identify the top two or three most important things that you want/need to accomplish. It’s also effective in cutting the noise out of your life if you have too much to do on a consistent basis. By completing these priorities and keeping your focus on the big picture, all other tasks you manage to tick off your list will be icing on the cake.

Other tips I crowdsourced

  • Take notes by writing them down instead of using an electronic device. I agree, and this doesn’t make me a Luddite since I heard about it on NPR.
  • Learn shortcuts wherever possible.
  • Disable push notifications when you need to focus.
  • Remove apps from your phone that distract you. I’ve installed Facebook at least ten times for this exact reason.
  • Limit checking your email to a few set period per day (eg, from 9-10 AM, 3-4 PM, and maybe once before bed). I have not yet reached this level of enlightenment.

All in, many productivity hacks just come down to taking care of yourself. To be clear, increased productivity is just the fringe benefit here. Going for productivity hacks while ignoring underlying issues is akin to taking the juice without the fiber. Be kind to your body and mind and you will surprise yourself with what you can accomplish in a day.

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