When you run your own business, there are a lot of distractions that pop up. Your schedule can get hectic and chaotic fast!
In fact, the success of a small business depends on your ability to wade through the distractions and focus on more critical business tasks.
In an effort to successfully manage everything, here are four little things you can easily implement today.
1. Automate Your Financial Tasks
I would probably lose my mind — and cripple the efficiency of my business — if I didn’t employ simple ideas like automating financial tasks. This is something I’ve started implementing even more since I decided to quit my job and focus on freelancing full-time.
I’ll also be out of the state to help a family member going through some medical stuff (hence my urgency in quitting).
And in order to keep receiving payments from clients while making sure my bills are paid while I’m gone, the best use of my time is to set up direct deposit, sign up for paperless billing and set up recurring payments.
As a newbie full-time freelancer, and someone who relies on payments from clients to stay in business, this is an essential part of being location independent and running your business from anywhere. A tool like Visa’s Prepaid card is both simple and highly effective.
It will save you time, while enabling your business to run better too — which means you can spend more of your energy increasing revenue, instead of focusing on keeping the business afloat.
2. Set Up Systems to Limit Distractions
The most common distractions your business will face on a daily basis are email, social media and phone calls. While each of these tasks are important to handle, it’s also essential you limit the amount of time you spend attending to them.
A simple way to limit these distractions is to, only check your email and social media accounts at certain times of the day or turn off your phone so you can wrap up important projects.
But what if you’re in a business that needs to be on call and provide stellar customer service? You can really step up your productivity by putting systems in place that head off these distractions. For instance, establish weekly “office hours” where customers can call in with feedback, questions, complaints, etc., so they aren’t always flooding your phone lines or inbox.
Another cool thing you can do is to direct people to a Google Form, where they can answer a simple questionnaire, leave comments and put in requests for a work order. The responses are then imported into a Google spreadsheet where you can organize them by order of importance (and essentially ignore the not-so-important ones).
Again, this helps keep your inbox and phone lines clear — and keeps you sane!
3. Write Everything Down
From past posts you already know I’m a big fan of digital tools and apps, so when it comes to using checklists, I pretty much live and die by them. And recently I had a “freak out” moment because all of the changes I’m going through in my life.
Quitting my job, ramping up my freelance business, moving for 3 months and dealing with family medical issues takes its toll on my mind. Naturally when you’re stressed you’ll start forgetting things and doing tasks poorly or rushed, which then translates into more stress, and keeps the vicious cycle going.
A simple tip my business coach told me was to carry around a notebook (or note taking app) and write down things as they pop into my head.
Once you clear out all the stress and other clutter, your mind is free to create and focus on what’s really important — like sleeping and eating properly.
4. Use a Calendar to Manage Tasks and Alerts
If it’s not on my calendar it doesn’t get done. I can’t remember every commitment, every task, and everything on the to-do list.
For the most part, if you don’t set aside a specific time for something to get done, it tends to get pushed to the back burner while you’re “putting out other fires”. While you’re setting up your tasks on a calendar (I like using the Google calendar, but you can use whatever works for you), don’t forget to set up email or pop-up alerts.
It’s great if you start putting stuff on the calendar but if you don’t set up an alert, you’ll most likely get busy and forget about it anyway.
What’s one thing you do to manage your hectic schedule?
I am blogging on behalf of Visa Prepaid and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Discover more at http://www.VisaPrepaid.com or view more Visa Prepaid videos athttp://www.youtube.com/