Rachel Weeks couldn’t get through the workday without constant interruptions. Realizing that routine tasks were taking over her day, she started signing checks once a week, sending out packages at a set time each day, and addressing staff questions at weekly meetings. Those changes have helped Weeks grow the business by developing a new e-commerce site and partnering with a big-box retailer. Here are five daily tasks you probably can eliminate from your workday to help you stay focused and be more productive.
1. Stop overloading your to-do list.
You might feel the need to write down everything you need to accomplish each day, but resist making an impossible list of daily tasks, says Peter Turla, a time-management consultant in Dallas. Compiling a lengthy list of things you need to accomplish might seem productive, but you could be doing more harm than good. “It results in too many items at the end of the day that are not completed,” says Turla. “That will make you feel stressed out, inadequate and unfocused.” Instead, create a manageable list of essential tasks that should be finished on a given day–and save the rest for later.
2. Stop having open-ended meetings.
Figure out your priorities before you call a meeting and make them clear to all the attendees, says Doug Sundheim, a New York consultant and executive coach. Too many small-business owners waste half the meeting just getting to what they really want to talk about. Sundheim suggests putting three priority topics at the top of your agenda to avoid getting sidetracked by other issues.
3. Stop answering repetitive questions.
If you find yourself answering the same question from clients or employees frequently, you’re wasting time, says Peggy Duncan, a personal productivity trainer in Atlanta. Instead, put together an FAQ on your website or create instructional videos that people can access via links at the bottom of your emails. “Figure out better ways to answer [questions] without your having to be involved,” she says.
4. Stop taking the same follow-up approach if people ignore you.
If you’ve sent someone an email and the recipient hasn’t responded, don’t keep firing off more emails. Try communicating in another way–calling, sending a text or visiting in person if it’s appropriate, says Jan Yager, author of Work Less, Do More (Sterling, 2008). Too many business owners get bogged down communicating with people inefficiently, she says.
5. Stop eating lunch at your desk.
Tempting as it might be to scarf down a sandwich between emails at your computer, don’t make it a daily routine. A short break will help you make clearer decisions, Sundheim says. “You get your best ideas when you get up and walk away from your desk.”
What other routine tasks have you eliminated for better productivity? Share your work-at-home strategies with us!
Source: Yahoo News