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20 Must-Read Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs

We’ve curated a list of must-read productivity tips for small business owners that can help you work more effectively than ever.

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Stuck in a productivity rut? No worries. We’ve curated a list of must-read productivity tips for small business owners that can help you work more effectively than ever:

1. Don’t Multitask

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not beneficial to productivity. “Time management experts estimate that focusing on one thing at a time will double productivity, work output, and performance. And when you’re running a small business, that can mean the difference between success and failure. Force yourself to do one thing at a time by setting a clock or timer for a certain amount of time, and then focus on that one task until it’s complete,” according to Money Crashers.

2. Take a Breather

When feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to take a break: “Be sure that through all the hassle of increasing productivity that you don’t forget to be refreshed every now and then. Make sure that you allow time for yourself to recollect. Overworking yourself will only cause you to be less productive. Take some time off every now and then.”

3. Capture Creative Ideas

The retention of creative ideas are often lost in a busy schedule, according to American Express OPEN Forum: “The world renowned scientist Dr. Linus Pauling once said, ‘The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.’ Most leaders and entrepreneurs are visionaries who generally don’t lack good ideas; however, capturing all these ideas is often a challenge for busy people. Evernote is a popular, free program for collecting ideas. (Here’s a list of other tools to consider.)”

4. Give Immediate (and Private) Feedback to Employees

According to Gaebler.com, “None of us wants to work all day on a project only to find that we have wasted our time. When you assign work, ask the employee to check in at the beginning of the project so you can give immediate feedback. Also, don’t criticize your employees in public. It’s humiliating and un-motivating. The old management mantra is true: ‘Praise in public and criticize in private.’”

5. Communicate with your Team

Business News Daily encourages small business owners to “have conversations with your team on a regular basis that outline your goals and ensure that you have buy-in and dialogue to ensure your ideas are refined and can be executed efficiently without micro-management.”

6. Organize your Time and Space

Money Crashers asserts that small business owners should “eliminate everything that isn’t necessary, then create a system for the things that are. For example, use a color-coded file folder for the items that are urgent, to be done that day, and another for things that can wait until tomorrow. Or if you’re a techie, make use of your scanner and create files on your PC or Blackberry using the same type of system. It will be necessary to organize not only your space, but also your time. Many people use a time-increment system, where they allow themselves a certain amount of time to do the things on their to-do list… There’s nothing like racing against the clock to meet a goal for those of us more competitive types.”

7. Say “No” to Potential Clients

According to LearnAboutUs.com, small business owners should “say ‘no’ if you can’t handle any more work. There may come a time when you have to turn customers away. Don’t take more than you can handle or hire more help if you need to.”

8. Have a Single Purpose Focus

American Express OPEN Forum suggests that successful entrepreneurs all have “the ability to focus on matters most… Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab.com, has this piece of advice: ‘Pick one thing and do that one thing—and only that one thing—better than anyone else ever could.’ We can derive a great deal of power from developing a laser focus on our top business priorities. It’s one of the attributes that sets apart the average businessperson from the more successful one.”

9. Review Emails Only 3 Times a Day

Business News Daily advises not to “make email redirect your day unless it is a crisis in progress. Check your email when you arrive at 9:00 a.m., at noon and at 3 p.m. and try to respond immediately to those things that are easy, while saving those items requiring more thought. Delete ads and spam immediately so it is not clogging up your mailbox and request to be removed from emails that are not important.”

10. Turn Your Car Into an Office

With the advancement of technology, just about anything is possible just about anywhere. Money Crashers contributor Suzanne Kearns suggests taking advantage of this, saying: “Instead of wasting this precious time, hook up a fax and copy machine to your car and use the time to do the things that are necessary, but often very inconvenient when you’re on the road. Check out the Possio Greta portable GSM fax, printer, and scanner, and never let your drive-time be wasted time again. You can also invest in a smartphone or a laptop computer with a mobile Internet card so you’re connected at all times.”

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