Top 4 Tips To Staying Productive When You Work At a Small Business

If you work for a small business, you probably wear many hats. Here at M&P, every day looks different. Though my own title is Business Development, you’ll likely find me peppering in a bit of writing, social media planning, art direction, managing vendor relationships and more. Though I believe this kind of diversity is beneficial as it forces our entire team to be well-rounded and equipped to help on a myriad of tasks, it can also be a bit stressful and challenging to finish our own work every day.

To help find balance and stay productive, I’ve outlined my top 4 tips to accomplishing it all below.

1) Set specific, clear Goals at the beginning of your day / week

At the beginning of each day, I set goals for what I want to accomplish. Over the years, I’ve realized what’s realistic and what’s not - i.e., don’t be too ambitious that you get discouraged by what you don’t finish. For example, here at M&P, we start our all-hands company meeting by setting 3 big goals. We then decide what smaller tasks fall out of the big goals and delegate who will complete what. By creating a clear picture of what we want to finish at the beginning of our day / week, we’re more likely to accomplish those goals and - bonus! - feel good about it.

M&P Pro Tip: If you feel your plate is too full yet a team member or manager keeps piling on tasks, don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s for the better of the business that you have the appropriate amount of time to finish to a project so you can produce the best work for the biz.

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2) Plan Your Schedule With Allotted Time Blocks

Maybe this is an obvious one, but I find the days I’m most productive is when I designate chunks of time to finish tasks instead of starting the day with no specific plan. This also prevents me from spending too much time on one item and ensuring I get to everything each day. Here’s an example day:

7-8:00 - Catch Up on Emails / Set Daily Goals

9-11am - Company Meeting / Weekly Plan / Social Media and Content

11-12pm - Online Orders

12pm - Lunch

1pm - 4pm - Custom / Corporate Orders and Planning

4-5pm - Inventory

By structuring your day ahead of time, you’ll know from the start that you have time for xyz so nothing will slip through the cracks or fall behind.

3) When In Doubt, Clean It Out

There are two scenarios where a desk cleaning rules above all else. 1) A creative rut or 2) I am so completely overwhelmed by the amount of to-dos I have on my list, I simply don’t know where to start and I’d rather abandon them all and make my desk look nice. Can anyone else relate? And while #2 may be a bit of an excuse to avoid actually working, I do believe it helps to clear my mind and by the time I sit back down, I’m ready to dig in.

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4) Leave Room to Turn Off and Unplug

One way to be most productive is to turn off and unplug. This may seem counter-intuitive, but we feel most invigorated and ready to tackle our work after a good nights rest, a yoga class or and a few hours away from our computers and phones. While we understand that sometimes in a small business this a lot easier said than done, we know that we produce some of our best work when we prioritize a balanced schedule.

If you don’t already, challenge yourself to put your phone and laptop away by 8pm every night. Notice how the rest improves your productivity the next day.

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