In the world of business “highly efficient” and “super productive” are more like super powers than they are a skill set. If you’ve been in business long, you know that there’s an advantage to increasing your work flows to gain more of either of these descriptive words. They often equate to more clients, more sales, and more money. For small business owners, growing your biz is not only a dream it’s your passion so focusing on efficiency and productivity is pretty important.
You’ve also probably heard the phrase, “too much of a good thing” and when it comes to increasing the business super powers mentioned above, that might just be the case. Here are 3 efficiency tactics that are actually wasting your time.
Working During Vacation
It happens to all of us. We’ve worked hard to grow our business or build our career and that often means that vacation is pushed to the wayside. In a world where technology lets us stay on top of all the things, all the time – it’s easy to let work rule. Just like there’s buzz about efficiency there’s also buzz about “sharpening the saw” so we pencil in those vacation days and tell ourselves that we’re taking the time off so we’ll be better at work. Without fail, that vacation gets shortened or even worse, we take it but still try to tackle some work projects during those days off.
Working during vacation is a no-no. You may feel the quiet of your vacation schedule and think jumping into your emails or checking status on projects won’t hurt, but it does. Vacations are only restful if we actually rest. So when you’re poolside, turn the ringer of your phone off, ditch your laptop before you hit the beach – we’d even recommend leaving it at home! Take your vacation time as a moment not only to rest but to fuel your creativity – do things you wouldn’t normally do, try a new activity, mark something off your bucket list – it won’t only give you a chance to recharge, it will inspire you.
Doing Work-Related Stuff on Days Off
It’s 9AM on a Sunday morning and you hear your cell phone ding. Our hope is that it’s a friend or relative with a last minute brunch invite, but more often than not it’s a co-worker or boss getting in a little extra work on the weekend. Whether you’re the boss or the employee, working on the weekend or other days off hinders productivity rather than helps it. It gives the impression that you’re always available, and although that might seem like a good thing, it actually just shows that you might have problems managing your time.
When you’re at work, work. When you’re at home, be home. If work is your life, even on the weekends and those banking holidays that you’re lucky enough to get off, consider picking up a hobby or planning an outing with family or friends. If you’re worried about what others might think, make it a habit to come in early Monday morning, mention to your boss or co-workers that you’re working to be more thoughtful and focused both at work and home and that you won’t be answering emails until the work week starts again. Believe us, you’ll be more productive and focused and you’ll enjoy both your work week and weekend more.
Doing all the things all the time isn’t efficiency, it’s just crazy. Technology is great and there might be those that tell you that multi-tasking is the way, but they’ve been duped by the promise of doing more in less time. Tasks take the time they take, and there are plenty of studies (not to mention it’s just plain common sense) that focusing on one task at a time will not only get it done faster, but better as well.
Instead of getting caught up doing all the things, make a list, prioritize and even consider setting a time allotment for each task. You’ll be surprised how much faster you get things done when you only have 20 minutes to do it.
What other tactics have you tried to help you be more productive? Did it work? We’d love to hear in the comments.
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.