In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “lost time is never found again”. So here we look at seven ways to maximise your working day so that you are not left lamenting wasted hours at the end of an unproductive week.
Guest post by Sam Musk
Head of Digital – Receipt Bank
One of the best ways to increase productivity is to establish a strict timetable and stick to it. The Pomodoro Technique is a well-established time management method where you maximise your focus and productivity by taking a short break every 25 minutes.
2. Avoid digital distractions
While email and social media have revolutionised communication, some of us have becomes such slaves to our digital overlords that we are constantly checking for updates. Designate set times of the day for checking email, perhaps once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Set up an automatic response so that colleagues and clients are aware of this policy and can contact you by other means on time-sensitive issues.
3. Use automation salvation
Digital marketing has become a very important tool for SMEs, so it shouldn’t be ignored. Several platforms, such as Hootsuite, exist to enable you to time when your Facebook posts, insightful tweets and engaging blogs will appear. Increase your productivity by pre-planning your digital engagement for the day or week ahead.
4. Take time to meet
Schedule meetings either on set days or at the beginning or end of your day. This allows you to focus on tasks for longer periods without interruption. Scheduling consecutive meetings means that they can’t overrun and software such as Meeting Booster can help you to get the most out of each session.
5. App-ly yourself
There are a number of apps and software platforms that can massively speed up mundane, time-consuming tasks, such as submitting expenses. For example, at Receipt Bank, we are able to extract key information from receipts, which is immediately uploaded (via email or from a scanned copy). Not only does this reduce the time that you spend manually inputting data, it also saves you the hassle of scrabbling around in your car for that elusive restaurant receipt.
6. Go for a walk
Sometimes taking 10 minutes away from the computer for some fresh air can be more productive than half an hour spent staring blankly at a screen. According to Dr John Ratey, author of Spark! The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain exercise improves your focus for two to three hours afterwards.
7. Be realistic
Despite your best efforts, interruptions will happen. David Heinemeier-Hansson, co-author of Rework, suggests planning for a five-hour day to allow for the unknown. Try not to over-fill your day. It will greatly affect your motivation if you consistently feel that you’ve failed to complete the day’s tasks.
Sam Musk is the Head of Digital at Receipt Bank, a productivity tool that automates the management of receipts and invoices, allowing small business owners to concentrate more on their customers and company growth. Sam is experienced and passionate about digital and his aim at Receipt Bank is to help small businesses realise the benefits of streamlining their finance processes. To find out more please visit Receipt Bank.