How to Increase Productivity For Your Business And Take Back Your Time

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Do you feel like you’re constantly working but not getting ahead? Do you wish you had more time to focus on the things that matter most? If so, you’re not alone.

How to increase productivity is something businesses are always trying to figure out.

In today’s world distractions are everywhere, and it can be tough to stay productive. But it doesn’t have to be. There are many things you can do to increase your productivity and take back your time.

Below, you’ll find some of the best-proven ways to improve business productivity. I’ll cover everything from setting clear goals to delegating tasks to using project and task management tools.

By following these tips, you can improve your business’s productivity and get more done in less time.

What is productivity?

businesswoman presenting organizational chart

So, you’ve probably thrown around the term “productivity” at work or even during those self-reflective moments on a Sunday evening. But what does it mean?

Productivity is all about what you’re able to produce or accomplish with the resources you’ve got. Imagine a factory: If it churns out a thousand widgets in an hour with ten machines, its productivity is a hundred widgets per machine in one hour.

To bring it to a more personal level, ever had one of those super satisfying days where you ticked off every single item on your to-do list? That’s you being your productive best. It’s about how efficiently you’ve used your time to get things done.

Looking at the big picture, a whole bunch of factors can either pump up or deflate our productivity balloon. Think about your own experiences. You need proper skills and training, the right tools and resources, and a workspace where you’re not constantly getting interrupted by what feels like everyone. And having clear-cut processes to enhance your workflow is a must.

So, whether you’re running a business or just trying to get through a bustling day, understanding and harnessing productivity is your ticket to doing more with less.

Why is productivity important?

cartoon of business man being productive on a laptop

Productivity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the backbone of successful business operations. If you’re not producing, you’re not making money.

Here are a few reasons why it should be at the top of your priority list:

  • Boosted Profits: At its core, productivity is about doing more with less. The equation is simple: higher productivity equals reduced operational costs, which translates to heftier profit margins.

  • Customers’ Trust: When you consistently produce, you’re consistently reliable. Deliver quality time after time, and you won’t just have customers; you’ll have fans. Loyalty is earned when you walk that productivity talk.

  • Happy employees: Employee productivity is directly linked to employees who are more likely to be happy with their work. It’s because there’s nothing like the feeling of making a dent and being recognized for it. This helps create a workplace where everyone feels they’re part of something big.

  • A competitive edge: Since today’s market is on a global scale businesses need to be able to produce and innovate more than ever. Being productive means you’re not just keeping up but setting the pace, ready to out-innovate the competition.

What can a business do to improve its productivity?

Because of today’s competitive business landscape, productivity is more important than ever. Businesses that can consistently produce high-quality work faster are more likely to succeed.

But how can you improve your business’s productivity?

Let’s dive right into the key aspects:

Setting clear goals

colored mind map

One of the best things you can do for increased productivity is to set clear goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with your business as your business grows? Once you figure that out, you can start to develop a plan to get there.

Your goals should be SMART, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help you to track your progress and make sure that you are on track to achieve your goals.

If you want to increase your sales by 10% in the next quarter, your goal would be specific (increase sales by 10%), measurable (10%), achievable (based on your current sales), relevant (to your overall business goals), and time-bound (next quarter).

Now that you have a goal, with a clear direction, you need to create a plan to achieve success. This plan should include actionable steps, the resources you need, and the timeline for completing your goal.

Here are some additional tips for setting clear goals:

  • Make sure your goals are aligned with your overall business strategy.

  • Involve your team members in setting goals. This will have an immense benefit ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.

  • Review your goals regularly and make adjustments as needed.

  • Celebrate your successes along the way! This will help to keep your team motivated and on track.

Managing time efficiently

man in suit holding VR clock

Time is your most precious resource, and you can’t afford to waste it. To boost productivity, you need to learn how to manage your time efficiently.

There is a lot you can do to save time, listed are some of the most important:

  • Set priorities. Not all tasks are created equal. Some tasks are more important than others, so it’s important to set priorities and focus on the most important tasks first.

  • Automate repetitive tasks. Some work processes are just unavoidable, like organizing your emails. Automation can be something as simple as creating an email filter to sort your emails into folders so you don’t have to constantly move them yourself every day. If you automate processes in your everyday work it’s surprising how much time you can save.

  • Use time management tools. There are many time management tools available for boosting productivity that can help you stay organized and on track. It’s just a matter of finding the right tools that work for you. I like to use a Pomodoro timer when I need to get things done.

Here are some additional tips for managing time efficiently and increasing overall productivity:

  • Plan your day ahead of time. This will help you to make the most of your time and avoid wasting time on tasks that are not important.

  • Set deadlines for yourself. This will help you to stay on track and avoid procrastination in turn increasing productivity.

  • Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. This will make them seem less daunting and help you to get started and stay focused.

  • Reward yourself for your accomplishments. This will help you to stay motivated and on track.

Delegating tasks

delegate written in script

As a business owner, delegating tasks is one of the best ways to improve your business’s productivity. This frees you from time-consuming tasks so you can focus on the most important things, and can also empower your team members to take on more responsibility.

When delegating tasks, it’s important to:

  • Choose the right tasks to delegate. Not all tasks are appropriate for an employee to complete. Certain tasks are better suited for delegation than others, like compiling information or data validation.

  • Delegate to the right people. Not everyone is capable of handling the same level of responsibility. Make sure you delegate tasks to people who are capable of completing them so you can feel confident that the task will be done right.

  • Provide clear instructions. When you delegate a task, effective communication is key. Make sure you provide clear instructions so that the person you’re delegating to knows exactly what you expect.

  • Be available for feedback. Once you’ve delegated a task, be available to provide feedback and answer questions. This is especially important with remote employees.

  • Recognize and reward good work. When someone does a good job of completing a delegated task, be sure to recognize and reward them. This will encourage employees to continue doing good work in the future.

By following these guidelines, you can delegate tasks effectively and boost efficiency for you and your business.

Using virtual coworking/office spaces

cartoon of laptop on a video conference

This one is for solo or remote workers and any company that has remote workers or is looking to cut costs by going virtual. One of the fastest-growing practices is the use of virtual coworking spaces for solo workers and full virtual office spaces for small businesses and teams. These virtual spaces offer businesses a variety of benefits, including:

  • Reduced overhead costs: Virtual coworking and office spaces typically charge a monthly or yearly fee, which can be much lower than the cost of renting traditional office space.

  • Flexibility: Businesses can scale their workspace up or down as needed, which can be helpful for businesses that are growing or shrinking.

  • Access to a community: Virtual coworking spaces often offer members access to a community of like-minded professionals, which can provide support and networking opportunities.

  • Increased productivity through body doubling: Studies have shown that having another person visible while working keeps you more focused, improving productivity. Virtual coworking spaces can essentially be used as video conferences with an accountability buddy who is also working. Alternatively, virtual office spaces recreate physical offices and are built for group collaboration.

If you’re looking for ways to improve productivity and predominantly have remote work, consider using a virtual coworking space. It could be the perfect solution for your needs.

Using project management tools

laptop displaying charts and graphs

Project management tools can increase employee productivity in many ways. They can help to:

  • Track progress: Tracking the progress of projects provides key insights into the status of work at any given point. It can help identify bottlenecks so a team can adjust to improve productivity.

  • Communicate with team members: Project management tools have multiple ways a team member can update the rest of the team on their progress or issues like, assigning tasks, or requesting another person take a look at a particular part of a project.

  • Manage resources: Keeping track of equipment, supplies, and hours spent on a project becomes much easier when all the information is in one place. This allows a business to track costs, and make sure that they are using their resources effectively.

  • Automate coordination: Automate tasks, such as sending out reminders, generating reports, or alerting other team members when certain milestones are hit within the project. This can free up employees’ time so that they can be more productive by knowing exactly what needs to be worked on next.

By using project management tools, you can improve employee productivity and increase business productivity in the process getting more done in less time.

This becomes most important when a business has many employees working remotely on the same project.

home office minimalist setup

Here are a few more pointers for using project management tools:

  • Choose the right tool for your needs. No project management tool is a one-size-fits-all, no matter how hard they try to be. Make sure you choose a tool that is right for your business’s size and needs.

  • Train your team on how to use the tool. Make sure your team knows how to use the project management tool so that they can get the most out of it. If your team doesn’t know how to use the tool efficiently they’ll spend more time managing the tool than actually working on the project.

  • Use the tool regularly. The more you use the tool, the more benefits you will see and the more you’ll boost productivity. You may be able to even see ways to improve efficiency within the tool.

  • Review your processes regularly. As your business grows and changes, you may need to evaluate and adjust your project management processes to see if there are ways to improve performance.

Creating a positive work environment

notebook and phone in a working environment

When employees feel valued, respected, and supported, that’s when employee morale is the highest. This is essential for a productive environment, it reduces stress and increases motivation.

Below are some of the simplest ways to create a positive work environment:

  • Encourage open communication: Employees should feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns with their managers. They shouldn’t be afraid to approach management with concerns.

  • Provide growth opportunities: Employees should have opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. Providing access to additional training opportunities is a great way for a company to increase an employee’s productivity level.

  • Celebrate successes: When employees achieve their goals, be sure to celebrate their success.

  • Be fair and consistent: Employees should be treated fairly and consistently, regardless of their position or title.

  • Provide a comfortable workspace: The workspace should be clean, have natural light, and be comfortable. Employee well-being directly affects productivity.

  • Offer flexible work arrangements: Employees should have the option to work from home or flex their hours. With modern technology, there’s no reason an employee can’t do this. A happy employee is a productive employee.

By creating a company culture that considers employees’ mental and physical health, businesses can benefit from increased productivity and create a more enjoyable workplace for their employees.

cartoon hands pointing together with the word teamwork

Some other things to take into consideration for creating a positive work environment:

  • Listen to employee feedback: Get feedback from employees about what they like and dislike about the work environment.

  • Resolve conflicts quickly: When conflicts arise, they should be resolved quickly and fairly.

  • Encourage employee wellness: Offer wellness programs that promote employee health and well-being, and be aware of having a healthy work-life balance.

Training employees

woman biting pencil while working on laptop

A great way to improve productivity and add value to your company is to properly train your employees. When employees have the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs effectively, they are more likely to be productive.

When evaluating training opportunities decide what kind of training is best for your purposes:

  • On-the-job training

  • Classroom training

  • E-learning

Key factors to consider:

  • Identify the skills and knowledge that employees need. What skills do employees need to be successful in their jobs?

  • Design a training program that meets the needs of the employees. The training program should be relevant to the employees’ jobs and should be delivered in a way that is effective for them.

  • Provide opportunities for employees to practice the skills they have learned. This will help them to retain and reinforce the information they’ve learned and to apply it in their work.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the training program. How well did the training program meet the needs of the employees? Did it fill in the gap of knowledge needed to increase productivity?

By training employees, businesses can create a more skilled workforce and by having a positive work environment your company will retain those skills.

Taking breaks

man sitting in park with a coffee thermos

This one is simple. It’s been proven that working for too long a period actually reduces productivity.

When you take breaks, you give your mind and body a chance to rest and recharge. This can help you to focus better when you return to work, and it can also help to reduce stress and burnout.

Not sure what to do on your breaks? Here are some ideas:

  • Get up and move around. Get your blood circulating again by getting up and walking or stretching your limbs.

  • Take a few minutes to relax. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths, or meditate for a few minutes.

  • Step outside for some fresh air. Getting some fresh air can help to clear your head and improve your focus.

  • Listen to music. Listening to music can help to relax you and improve your mood.

  • Do something you enjoy. Take a few minutes to do something you enjoy, such as reading, playing a quick game, or chatting with friends or family.

How to stay productive

man taking notes in front of a laptop

Productivity is a skill that can be learned and improved over time. If you’re looking to reinforce your productive habits, here are a few tips:

  • Start small. Don’t try to change everything at once. Start by making small changes that you can stick to. You could start by setting a goal to complete one task before checking your email in the morning.

  • Reward yourself. When you complete a task, take a few minutes to celebrate your accomplishment. Celebrating small victories will help you stay motivated and on track.

  • Join a productivity community. There are many online communities where you can connect with other people who are trying to improve their productivity. Joining a community can provide you with support, motivation, and new ideas. A good place to start is virtual coworking communities.

  • Experiment with different productivity tools. There are so many productivity tools available for you to pick and choose from. Experiment with different tools to find what works best for you. For me, one of the simplest is using a Pomodoro clock.

Common productivity killers

man overwhelmed holding head in front of laptop

There are plenty of things that hurt productivity, both for individuals and businesses. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Distractions: Distractions are one of the biggest productivity killers. When you’re trying to focus on a task, it’s important to eliminate as many distractions as possible. This means turning off your phone, staying off of social media, closing your email, and finding a quiet place to work.

  • Procrastination: Procrastination is another major productivity killer. When you put off tasks, they only get harder and harder to complete. You can combat this by breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.

  • Unclear goals: If you don’t have clear goals, it’s difficult to know what you’re working towards. With a lack of direction, you’ll have a lack of focus and motivation.

  • Poor time management: If you’re not managing your time effectively, you’re likely to waste time on tasks that are not important. Prioritize tasks, create a schedule, and stick to it.

  • Lack of motivation: Without motivation, and some discipline, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose focus. To stay motivated, find ways to make your work more interesting and rewarding.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can improve your productivity and achieve your goals.

Closing Thoughts

little lightbulb robot plugging itself in

Productivity is a process, you won’t be productive all the time and some days will be better than others. It’s important to keep moving forward and continue to improve your process. Experiment and adapt.

With what you’ve just learned you’re much more equipped to tackle those tasks that are holding your personal time hostage. Now go and get something done! And if you’re looking for an extra push of productivity there are great online digital planner apps to help get you started.

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