small business hacks

8 Business Hacks to Increase Productivity for a Small Business Owner

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Own a small business and find yourself struggling with productivity?

Between social media, a heavy workload and a world where you make the rules as an owner, it can be challenging to accomplish as much in a day as you’d like.

Here are some business hacks to help you stay focused, efficient and get the most out of your workday.

Decide Between “Have to” and “Want To”

If your to-do list is longer than a CVS receipt, you’re in trouble. You’ll never be able to tackle it all and as soon as you scratch one item off the list, another will pop up in its place.

This is where prioritizing comes into play as an essential business hack. Separate items into categories.

There will be certain things you have to do on a regular basis; expense reimbursements, weekly emails to the team, and more. Put those items into a recurring category. You can then input them into your schedule so they pop up as recurring items, thereby removing them from your to-do list and integrating them into your regular schedule.

Now that the rest of the items on your list are one-offs, you can categorize those as either “things I have to do” or “things I want to do”. Focus on the things that have to be done. These should be important, pending items that are essential to the existence or future growth of your company.

Move the “things I want t do” list either out of the picture completely or put it on your goals list, which we’ll discuss later. These items do not need to exist on your current to-do list.

If they’re not truly important, you either simply won’t get to them because you already have an awareness of their insignificance, or if they’re important but not essential, you’ll find yourself focusing your attention in the wrong place.


You can’t do it all. This is the sometimes the hardest thing for a small business owner to learn. Anyone who finds themselves micromanaging every aspect of how their company is run likely feels as though they’re not accomplishing enough in a day because they are spread too thin.

The best way to defuse this problem is to delegate.

First, you have to hire people you trust; ones who you know understand the company and how you want things done. If you don’t trust them to take care of certain items on their end without your management, you’ll never be able to delegate and focus on what needs to be done on your end.

Once you’ve hired a team of trusted employees, you’ll have to learn where each of them shines. What are their strengths? Discovering what your employees are good at will help you figure out what kind of tasks they can accomplish quickly and efficiently so that you don’t have to go back over their work or correct their mistakes frequently.

Do One Thing at a Time

Sure, the idea of multitasking leads us all to believe that we are accomplishing more. In fact, we are accomplishing less at a faster pace and making mistakes along the way.

When your brain is focused on multiple items at once, you are never giving your full attention to the task at hand. This leaves plenty of room for error since you’re distracted and you’ll likely find yourself having to go back and correct your work or even start it over altogether.

In order to avoid multitasking, let your employees know what you are working on and when. Tell them the time allotted for a certain task needs to respected and can’t be interrupted for another task until the one on the schedule is complete.

Mute the Alerts

This may sound obvious but when you’re in your office, between the phone, tablet, and computer, your electronics are probably making noise every few minutes.

The sound is distracting and makes it hard not to check what the alert was, even if we know it’s nothing important and can wait. First, start by muting non-urgent alerts like news or weather information that pop up on your devices.

Try going into your most used (and sometimes most distracting apps) and switching off the notification button or even setting it to vibrate. You can take a break every twenty or thirty minutes to check emails, respond to texts or scroll through social media.

Try setting a time limit for when you’re in the middle of an important project. A simple scroll through Instagram can quickly turn into an hour-long rabbit hole. Avoid this trap by giving yourself a specific amount of time designated to the search.

Take Breaks

Our brains can’t focus at maximum capacity for long periods of time without a break. Set a reminder to take one every hour or so. Get up and stretch for a minute, walk around your office, take a step outside for fresh air or grab a glass of water.

Giving your brain time to reset and refocus will actually enable you to get more work done faster. Many times when we’re working for long stretches, we think we’re being productive when in fact we’re distracted, tired and unfocused. That is one of the reasons sleep is so important to your productivity as well.

Set Goals

There are two types of goals that are most popular in the business world; process-based and outcome related.

A process-based goal is something that is achievable within a general time frame and can be realistically accomplished with some planning. Outcome related goals are broader and long-term, meaning their timeframe can’t be determined and whether or not they’re achievable remains to be seen.

Focus on process-based goals and write them down. These are tangible goals that you can work toward during the day and see come to fruition. A study found that people who wrote down their goals on a regular basis were 42% more likely to achieve them.

Writing down your goals is a daily reminder of what you’re working toward and helps you to remain on track and prioritize when things get chaotic. If you’re inundated with tasks you can always reference the goal list and ask if the task at hand will help achieve these goals or if it’s an off track item that can be done later or not at all.

You can also share the goal list with the rest of the company so all employees are on the same page and working on the same result. This will help built comradery between staff and push the group forward in a cohesive way.

Give These Business Hacks a Try!

The business hacks above will help you stay focused and generate more productivity for your company. Share these tools with your employees and watch your business evolve into a streamlined machine.

Check out our blog for more business tips and tricks for running a successful company.

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