Independence is one of the main benefits of owning your own business. But as many small business owners have learned, the day to day business grind and tasks involved in running a business can often make you fall back into that uninspiring routine that you thought you were leaving behind at your 9-to-5.
Luckily, as a business owner you have the ability to change that. Here are some simple things you can do to take back that business independence and freedom that made you want to start a business in the first place.
How to Get Out of the Day-to-Day Business Grind
Use the Archive Button for Emails
A cleaner inbox can help you focus on the most important items. Periodically, it can be beneficial to just archive or delete emails that are no longer relevant. Choose a period of time, say 90 days, and just clear out everything older than that so that you can focus on the newer, more relevant items.
You know all those newsletters you somehow end up subscribed to? Spend 30 minutes unsubscribing to the ones you don’t read anymore. It’s very liberating.
Put Commitments on a Calendar
Putting events and other commitments on a calendar can clear space in your head so you don’t have to constantly spend time reminding yourself of those upcoming to-dos.
Have a problem that’s just simply too much to handle today? Don’t be afraid to put off some larger tasks for the following day or week so that you can really focus on what’s right in front of you now. You can even put those things in your calendar or planner so you’ll be sure to set aside enough time in the future.
Unplug From Your Electronics Once a Day
When you’re on a roll with a project, checking your email or responding to phone calls can really throw you off. So turning off your phone and closing out of your browsers while you work can really help your productivity.
Take a Break Once a Day
But all of that constant work can sometimes lead to burnout. When this happens, don’t be afraid to just step away for a bit. Taking at least one break throughout the day can help you release some stress. And then when you come back, you’re likely to get more done and be more creative, too.
Hire a Freelancer for that Ugly Project
Have one or two projects that you can’t seem to get a handle on? Go to a freelance marketplace, set a budget, and hire freelance help to get that ugly project that is overdue and has been weighing you down. You can often hire out projects for a few hundred dollars, depending on the type and size of the project.
Have Your Voicemails Sent to Email
There are applications like Nextiva where your voice mails can be automatically forwarded as an audio file to your email. This means that at the end of the day you can check all of your communications in one place instead of going back and forth responding to both calls and emails.
Make the Cloud Your Default Save
When you save files to the cloud, you’re able to easily share them with your team and access them on other devices. Once you choose a cloud storage solution like OneDrive or Google Drive, you can set it up so that your files are automatically saved there. Then you won’t have to spend time transferring all of your files over and over again.
De-clutter Your Work Area
Nothing says “I have a lot of things on my plate” like literally having a lot of things on your plate. Clean up your workspace and get it organized. A nice, clean work area is a good way to free one’s mind of mental clutter.
Learn How to Use Zapier
Zapier is a neat way to send information automatically from one app to another. By using Zapier to automate tasks, it frees you from doing repetitive tasks or manually entering data twice into a new app.
Use a Scheduling App for Social Media
Schedule and manage all of your social media profiles from one dashboard using an app such as HootSuite. It saves you from jumping around from social site to social site. You can schedule in advance, so you don’t have to interrupt your day to update your channels.
Chunk Your Work
To work in the most efficient way possible, it helps to work on similar tasks in one block, instead of constantly switching your attention back and forth to different types of tasks. For instance, if you have several different phone calls to make, set aside a block of time specifically for returning phone calls. That way, you won’t have to go back and forth between phone calls and other tasks throughout the day.
Create a Social Media Calendar
If you’re not careful, you can easily spend an entire day checking, posting, and monitoring your company’s social media channels. To avoid wasting away in the dark corners of Twitter and Facebook, consider creating a calendar to map out and track your social media strategy. Knowing what you want to accomplish and what it will take can help free the rest of your time for other things.
Diversify Your Income Streams
One of the main stress factors in any business is money. If profits are slow, you’re likely to have to make cuts or work even harder. But if you have multiple streams of income, such as an online store and partnerships with local retailers, then a slow month here or there isn’t likely to have as big of an impact.
Nowhere is it written that you have to accept every business proposition that comes your way. If something isn’t a good fit or you simply don’t have enough time for it, gracefully declining can be very liberating.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
Whether you work from home or in an office, it’s important to have space set aside for work and space set aside for, well, not work. The ability to work remotely is certainly nice sometimes. But you also don’t want to spend all of your evenings working from your couch when you should be spending time with family or winding down.
Leaving your business behind for a week here and there won’t kill it (or you). If you have a competent team and you’ve prepared for being out of the office, stepping out for a few days to a week can actually be very re-energizing.
Build a Great Team
The benefits of having a great team around you cannot be overstated. When you trust the people who work with you, you can feel more comfortable leaving some tasks with them rather than trying to do everything on your own.
Set Clear Guidelines for Delegation
However, there are limits to passing tasks off to your employees. People tend to do better work when they know exactly what is expected of them. So if you have a clear work stream and chain of command, delegation of tasks is likely to be a pretty smooth operation.
Have Fun with Your Team, Too
Just as you likely experience burnout while running your business, your employees are likely to get weighed down by their daily tasks from time to time. In those instances, a team retreat, office party or even just a venture to your local happy hour establishment can do wonders for morale.
Meet with Other Business Owners
It can sometimes help to get perspective from people who don’t spend every day working for your business, but who still understand some of things you deal with on a daily basis. Having a business mentor or just some peers in your industry who you can bounce ideas off of or meet with over coffee periodically can provide that all important perspective.
Take a Look at Your Goals
No matter what your current situation, it’s always important to keep your main business objectives in mind when making decisions. It can sometimes help to take a look back at those goals to remind yourself what all your hard work is going toward.
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Sometimes it is better to unplug from everything. It clears your mind so that you can focus on the tasks that matters.
I think it’s a good thing to do on a pretty regular basis too. It’s just so tough when we rely on that technology for so many things.
My favorite: say “No”. It might work out but you know it is going to be a hassle with low return.
Absolutely – it’s not about saying no to everything, but when you know it’s just going to be more trouble than it’s worth, you don’t have to say yes just to say yes.