Guest Post by Trippeo.
Merchants bear a huge workload in the name of driving success for their company. But of course, with great responsibility comes long hours, stress, and endless to-do lists. While you wouldn’t necessarily give up your business for a calmer schedule, it’d be nice to have some better balance in your daily life. At Trippeo and Payfirma, we’re always looking for ways to capitalize on time. Whether your business is a global conglomerate, a national entity, or a small local business, these 10 tips will help optimize your workflow.
1. Empower your team
Sometimes, it’s hard handing over the reins. Whether it’s a tiny twinge in your belly or a full dystopian war waged in your mind, it can be difficult to share your business baby. Let this tip reassure you that you hired your team for a reason. Giving them the opportunity to help run your business will not only work, it’ll free up your brain to do what it does best: make your business better.
2. Attack your worst tasks first
This means something different to everyone. For some, it means going through a list of dreaded emails. For others, it means buckling down and finally writing that quarterly business review. The point is, whatever you’re least looking forward to – do it first. You’ll thank yourself on Friday when you can make it out by 5 pm.
3. Automate your time-consuming tasks
Many of your essential tasks may be exhausting and boring. Expense management, for example, costs hours and hours of employee time, involves complicated policy and procedure, and are generally mind-boggling. That’s where products like Trippeo can help; you just need to select the relevant expenses and then send that report to your manager. The best news? You can do all that from on the road because your business doesn’t always happen behind a desk.
4. Turn off your tech
This sounds a little counterintuitive, but it will help you zone in on what you actually need to finish. Turning off your tech means no phone ringing, no Facebook waving sultry red notification flags, no Slack alerts — just some tech-free peace. Well, that sounds like 1980, and we’re into it. Try spending the last few hours of your day completely offline. By then, you’ll know what you need to do, and you can actually focus on doing it. And who knows, maybe that terrible thing you are supposed to do first thing tomorrow won’t actually be so terrible.
5. Move your body
Don’t skip this one just because it’s not directly related to your email. Humans need to move their bodies. There’s truth in the adage, sitting is the new smoking. Those stats? They aren’t made up and neither are the benefits of getting your butt in gear, which include improved mood and energy, better sleep, and greater mental alertness. 30 minutes a day of moderate activity is cheaper (and healthier for you) than indulging your raging coffee addiction.
6. Invest in some plants
The benefits of adding plants to your working space are staggering. Plants help create a feeling of serenity and calmness, which prompts you to spend more time in a space. It’s the reason malls are full of foliage. Scientists at the University of Exeter found plants improve creativity by up to 45% and give your ability to focus a boost, spurring greater productivity. A final bonus: many plants actually improve air quality. Check out the Snake Plant for its air-cleaning properties and for being extremely hard to kill.
7. Limit your email use
With the advent of intra-office tools like Slack and the very lucrative business of selling email addresses, email is no longer a productive tool in your online arsenal. While you can’t ignore it altogether, you can unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters. Endeavor to keep your emails brief and to the point (check out the Three Sentences rule). Lastly, check your email twice a day; most email checking is actually just hand-wringing nervosa that you can do without.
8. Keep a checklist of your priorities
Make a list of what you need to do, starting with that thing you don’t want to do and ending with something light as your reward for getting through your list. This will take a little testing to get just right (not too short and not too long), but it’s a great way to prioritize your tasks for the day and week. It will also reveal the tasks that you either can’t or don’t want to get around to. Self-improvement is a beautiful thing.
9. Take lunch
It’s important to take a mid-day break but not just any lunch (although taking a regular lunch hour is said to improve productivity greatly), take a lunch where you chat with an old client who isn’t using your services anymore. Consider it R&D (research and development) with a side of steak. Keep it free of sales pitches and sneaky suggestions; just have a conversation about some honest feedback on what your team could be doing better. Once you gain that valuable information, apply their feedback.
10. Get involved in your community
While we love how tech has freed us, it’s turned us into hermits in a lot of ways. We no longer have much need to leave the office. But there’s no better way to build work culture and improve productivity than getting out and into your community. Whether it’s getting involved with a local charity or participating at local events, your team will feel proud to represent your company, and your community will remember your support.
Productivity is as much about making the right choices as it is doing the right work. Buying a plant for the office is a great interim solution, but nothing beats the fresh air that comes with actually being outside. When you can escape outside for a walk or have dinner with friends and family, you’re likely to feel more prepared, mentally and emotionally, to do work. Consider these tips accelerators, but don’t skip out on the real thing.
About the author
Trippeo is a travel and expense tracking app designed for today’s mobile workforce. Trippeo tracks, submits, and reimburses your expenses quickly and painlessly. Katie Fritz manages their marketing and brand efforts. She likes writing, making stuff, and flowers. Follow for the latest in expense management and curated content from around the web.