Being your own boss and launching a company is a liberating experience, but it can certainly be overwhelming at times. When you are inundated with work, and you are the only one that can complete it, you may wonder if going it alone and starting a solo business venture was really such a great idea. But, it is essential to focus on the positives of the situation and congratulate yourself on your hard work. Without all your time and effort, you would not have reached this stage, and your services would not be in such high demand. While the feeling of satisfaction that people love your work is a great thing, it is still easy to get caught up feeling daunted by the number of jobs you have lined up. Realizing how much work you need to do and how little time you have to do it can create a mental block. When a mental block sets in, it can really impact your productivity levels which slows down your work rate and adds to the backlog of work. Finding ways to be proactive and overcome the problem of too much work and not enough time is the best way to solve this issue and feel more in control of your business.
When you have jobs building up and are short on time, many people may suggest that you recruit a staff member to assist you. But, for many entrepreneurs, taking on an employee is just not feasible. Taking the time out to go through the recruitment process to find the right candidate is time-consuming, and then training them will take up even more of your working time. As well as being unable to give up enough time to recruit and train an employee, it also adds a significant expense to your business. Aside from the costs of recruitment and training, there is the added expense of wages and employee benefits to consider. When your business is firmly established, and you have a consistent customer base and income each month, you may want to reconsider your plans for an employee. But, for the time being, it may be best to focus on different solutions to increase your productivity and get your workload under control. Why not try some of these ideas to see if they boost your productivity levels and make your working day much easier:
Don’t Mix Up Busyness and Productivity
So, you are working 12, 13, and sometimes even 14 hour days, but you still don’t seem to be making a difference to your workload. If this is the case, then chances are you are mistaking being busy for being productive. Being busy and being productive sound like the same thing, but there is a massive difference between the two. Being busy simply means your time is occupied, whereas being productive means you are making progress on a task. You may be busy answering the phone or checking your emails, or maybe just panicking about how much you need to do, but none of this is helping you to tackle your tasks.
Becoming aware of the times that you are busy but not actually getting anything done is the first step towards solving this problem. Instead of putting in crazy long hours each day, you may find you are more productive when you stick with set work hours and schedule in some breaks. Limiting the time you spend at work may sound crazy when you are busy, but it can actually help you focus more clearly on your tasks and manage your time more effectively.
Choose Technology to Help You
Choosing the right technology to assist you at work can make your life so much easier. Customers are, of course, essential to your business, and without them, there would be no business. But, dealing with constant customer queries can negatively impact your productivity and send your stress levels soaring.
Adding tools such as live chat for websites and contact forms can help to take a lot of pressure off of you and remove any distractions from your day. It is often the stopping work to answer the phone or deal with emails that eat up your workday and leaves you unable to get your tasks completed. But, with the help of live chat and contact forms, your customers and potential customers will have an alternative way of asking questions and making inquiries, which doesn’t involve you getting stuck on the phone for hours. Adding a live chat function to your business site is especially useful, as it enables customers and potential customers to ask questions at any time of the day or night. This makes live chat a valuable way to boost your conversion rates and prevent those abandoned baskets if you sell goods on your site.
Make a Plan
When the number of outstanding jobs you have to complete is at risk of overwhelming you, it is time to make some strategic decisions. Firstly, you may find it helpful to begin by making a list of everything you need to do. This may sound a little scary in itself, but at least when you have it written down in front of you, you won’t need to keep retaining this information in your head. Once you have listed your tasks, the next step is to prioritize them. If you have too many jobs to put them in order, you may want to pick out a few of the most urgent ones and list these first.
With your list ready, you will be able to plan your work for the day ahead and begin by getting the most urgent tasks out of the way first. Allowing yourself the breathing space to make a list and see your tasks written down can make it so much easier to get started and feel like you are making some progress. Plus, it is a great feeling when you can begin to tick items off of your list! When you know precisely what you are going to work on, it is much simpler to keep your mind focused, as you will feel like you are actually starting to get somewhere and taking a step closer to clearing the backlog of work.
Making a to-do list and prioritizing work is a helpful habit to get into. If you enjoy feeling organized, you may also want to divide your day up further by allocating specific time slots for each task. This can be really useful if there is a job you have been dreading and trying to delay. Allocating just 30 minutes or an hour to work on a task is an excellent way to stop procrastinating and take the most challenging step, which is getting started.
Outsource Where Needed
While taking on an employee is a significant cost for a fledgling company, this does not mean that you need to sacrifice getting help with your business. Rather than committing to the cost of an employee receiving set, regular wages, and benefits, you could choose to outsource instead. Outsourcing laborious aspects of your business that you dislike is a helpful way to reduce your workload. There are many time-consuming tasks associated with running a business that need to be completed. Unfortunately, these tasks often make it difficult for you to focus on completing your work. Choosing to outsource these jobs enables you to focus on your workload without the additional stress of routine tasks.
Many small business owners choose to outsource tasks such as data entry, updating databases, sending out invoices, and maintaining the company website. These vital tasks often eat into your productivity. But, with expert help from a virtual assistant or specialist company, you can get these jobs completed without them taking up your work time. Unlike employees, when you outsource work to a virtual assistant, you can simply pay them by the hour for the work they complete. This means there is no need to worry about paid leave and sick pay; instead, you just pay an agreed amount for the time spent working on your tasks. Outsourcing is essential for many business owners that need to free up their time. Running a business requires you to balance a wide array of tasks, so getting professional assistance on some of them can be highly beneficial.
Final Thoughts on Being Productive Without Recruiting Staff
In the future, you may decide the time is right to take on an extra team member. But, in the meantime, the ideas above should help get you back in control of your workload and clear your backlog of jobs. Once your outstanding jobs are complete, you will be able to plan your workday effectively and get into a routine that suits you. Don’t forget; you do not necessarily need to be rushing around and constantly busy to be productive. Working your way through your tasks at a steady pace and with focus is a much better way to regain control over your work life and to get more done.