No matter who you are, everyone from small business owners to Beyonce only gets 24 hours a day to get sh*t done. So how is it that some people are so productive, while others are always left feeling like they didn’t accomplish anything?

We might all get the same amount of time in the day, but not everyone has the same amount of responsibilities. Small business owners are expected to do both menial tasks AND worry about developing their business strategy to grow their companies. 

On average, small business owners only spend 32% of their time on strategic and developmental aspects of their business, while the rest of their time is spent on operational activity. 

Now more than ever, small business owners need to focus on strategy. In 2021, 41% of business owners said they saw negative or no growth over the fiscal year. 

Imagine if there were a way to structure your day more productively so that you could focus on not only surviving but thriving.

Check out our productivity tips to help small business owners better plan their days so you have time to dedicate to activities that matter the most.

How to plan your work day productively

Start your workday at the same time each day

Consistency is king when it comes to having a productive daily routine. By starting your workday at the same time each day you are keeping your mental, and biological clocks in check.

Having a set routine helps motivation and mental clarity by creating an automated schedule in your mind. If you start work at the same time every day, you will subconsciously become more mentally focused when it is time to get to work.

Half the battle of maintaining a productive schedule is taking the time to get mentally focused. Having a routine helps cut out this time while improving concentration and even energy levels.

Start with your most brain-consuming tasks first

Another productivity hack that many business owners use is to categorize and prioritize their tasks, then tackle them one by one.

Don’t be fooled, multi-tasking does not a productive schedule make. In fact, Stanford University conducted research that supports the fact that multitasking is less productive than handling one single thing at a time.

By getting the most difficult tasks out of the way first, you won’t be worrying about them as you complete other things throughout the day. Face these responsibilities head-on instead of procrastinating the inevitable.  

It might be tempting to check your emails first, but this might lead you down a rabbit hole of less important things to take care of. Once you finish your most pressing tasks, you can then get into a flow of completing simple tasks like answering emails. 

The main operative is to fully focus on each category of things you have to do before moving to the next. Mentally jumping around will likely have a negative effect on your productive daily routine. 

Manage your calendar

The next productivity tip is managing your calendar. You probably already do this in some capacity, but the question is whether or not you are doing so successfully.

Efficient calendar management helps you best utilize your time and ensures that unwarranted scheduling surprises don’t sneak up on you. 

You want to make sure your calendar is organized, otherwise, it might end up causing more harm than good.

Dedicate some time to organizing your calendar at the beginning of every month, so you have a clear idea of what is on the docket.

Another productivity tip for small business owners is to automate whenever possible. If you don’t need to spend time manually scheduling, then don’t! Most online calendars allow you to automate appointments, reminders, and tasks.

Use a scheduling tool

Speaking of automation, small business productivity can be majorly boosted by using a scheduling tool. 

Don’t waste precious time with back-and-forth emails about scheduling and availability when there are tools that can take care of that for you. 

Scheduling tools, like vcita’s scheduler, allow small business owners to open collaborative calendars with their employees, and better understand their business’ schedule. 

Online scheduling is not only great for internal productivity but can be used to grow businesses. When it is easy for customers to schedule an appointment at their convenience, they are less likely to cancel or no show.

Set a time for follow-ups

Follow-ups are a crucial part of the sales process. If you are not doing them, you are missing out on a sea of potential business.

Follow-ups by nature must be done on a consistent basis. As with any good relationship, potential client relationships should be built over time, lack of contact kind of ruins the point.

Setting aside a designated time for follow-ups will ensure that they are done as part of your productive daily (or weekly) routine. 

Another productivity tip for follow-ups is to keep an organized database of prospective customers and the status of your contact with them. This way no man will be left behind. Using an online CRM system makes it easy to track clients’ and potential clients’ information, so you can keep updated notes about every interaction you have with them.

Delegate tasks

As a small business owner, your business is your baby. For that reason, it might be second nature to want to take on every responsibility.And as tempting as it is to micromanage, being a control freak is the antithesis of small business productivity. 

As the big boss, you have a ton of important things to worry about, there is no need to make your life harder by trying to handle every little thing on your own. As your business grows, this is going to be impossible anyway.

Hopefully, you are hiring people that you can trust to handle certain aspects of the business, especially when it comes to more administrative tasks. 

You are hiring people for a reason. Learn what your employees’ strengths are and delegate tasks to them accordingly. 

Take breaks

Believe it or not, not working is just as important as working when it comes to having a productive schedule. 

Forbes reports that 60% of people feel guilty about taking any breaks, including meals. Everyone is so worried about lost productivity that they don’t even consider the pitfalls that come with being overworked. 

Burnout is real and when we don’t give our brains a break, we end up spending more time producing lower-quality work. 

Factoring breaks into your schedule will give you a chance to reset and refocus so you can make the most of the time you actually spend working. 

Taking breaks is also important for your physical health. Sitting and staring at a computer for hours on end can take a serious toll. 

Make moving a priority, and part of your productive daily routine.

Being productive doesn’t mean being overworked

Creating a more productive schedule doesn’t mean having a rise and grind attitude of 12-hour days and zero breaks. 

Taking time to plan your day in advance can be all you need to do to get organized.

Use our tips to help you be the most productive version of yourself, so you can feel confident that you are making the most out of your time at work.