By Aaron Goodin, entrepreneur.com
When you own or run a business, it’s crucial you maximize every second of every day. Unfortunately, most owners and CEOs already work non-stop, so adding time isn’t an option. Instead, leaders have to learn how to make better use of their time spent.
When I plunged into the startup scene four years ago,I brought an extremely strong work ethic and a lot of audacity to the CEO role, but I lacked the necessary experience and discipline to be highly productive. Today, while I’m nowhere near perfect, I have learned a few tricks that can help new entrepreneurs get the most out of their workday:
1.Write down your goals -- both big and small.
It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook the importance of writing down their goals. Using a journal to organize everything makes it easy to look back and see where you’ve been, what milestones have been hit and what’s still ahead. And don’t forget that while the big milestones are important, short-term goals are equally as significant. The small goals not only provide valuable chances to learn and grow, but they are perfect practice for helping to accomplishing the larger ones. Remember that as your business grows so will your goals, so be sure to revise, readjust and rewrite often.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a sucker for any tech tool that claims to simplify my life, whether it’s for personal development or professional expansion. While I wouldn’t recommend using every single app that you come across, there are definitely a few that make sense for entrepreneurs.
Regain precious hours and keep employees on track with tools like Dropbox and Google Docs allowing team members immediate access to shared and organized documents. For teams collaborating on multiple to-do lists Trello makes project management a breeze through real-time boards designed for simultaneous task completion. Even getting in touch with one another is easier through the use of products like HipChat and Skype.
If you’re anything like me you’re going to what to have a finger in everything, from business development to customer service (it is your baby after all). However, doing it all makes it very difficult to accomplish your actual responsibilities. You’ve spent time building the perfect team so make sure you are using them. Delegate responsibilities and trust that your team is going to get things done. Don’t micromanage.
It may seem like working non-stop throughout the day is the best way to grow your business, however it can actually be counterproductive. Research shows that taking short breaks at regular intervals throughout the day not only keeps you healthier, but it also helps you refocus on the job at hand. Take the office dog for a quick walk, do some mindful yoga or go on a lunchtime run. Whatever it is that helps you recharge, fit it into your daily schedule.
5. Acknowledge success.
One of the easiest ways to lose productivity is when you’re feeling like your hard work is going unnoticed –--even as the leader of the team. When a goal is met or someone has put in extra time to close a high-level deal, take the time to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be cupcakes and balloons every time, but finding a special way to acknowledge the milestones will keep everyone motivated and excited to hit the next one.
6.Plan your day the previous evening.
If you plan your day in the morning you’re too late. This is probably the most important thing I’ve learned on my journey. At the end of each day sit down and take a moment to reflect. Did you meet your daily goal? Are you on track for the week? What changes can you make? Reflecting at the end of the day allows you to see what needs to be accomplished tomorrow. When you make those plans in advance you can hit the ground running, instead of spending your morning trying to figure out what needs to be done.