Haven’t you heard?
Time is money.
Or…so the saying goes. But before we go apologising for wasting yours, we suggest you set aside a few minutes and keep reading. Think of this as a ‘timely’ investment that’s guaranteed to bring you a better return than checking social media again.
We know, we’ve been there.
So, back to the ‘time is money’ thing. The saying is as old as…well, time. The core conceit is simple: if you aren’t maximising your time, you’re losing money. That’s a lot of stress for entrepreneurs and start-ups whose reputation for being agile, adaptable entities precedes them.
The reality is a little different. Whether you’re a Silicon Valley superstar or an entrepreneur attempting to get a cool idea off the ground, the day-to-day tasks remain the same. There are still documents to be printed. Coffees to be made. Watercooler talk to be had.
You can only fit so much into the day… right? Well, if you’re determined to boost your productivity, keep reading for our collection of productivity hacks that every startup swears by. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it short so as to not waste your time!
It starts with…
1. Embrace Task Management Software.
It all makes for a great promo shot. Sticky notes as far as the eye can see. Instructions scribbled on a whiteboard in the background. Team members huddled around, pointing at something important on a screen.
When the cameras leave and it’s time to get work done, you need a more practical solution. Thankfully, software suites and packages such as Asana, Jira, and Trello – among others – provide suitable, affordable options. Choose wisely, and you’ll spend less time chasing up tasks and more time getting them done.
2. Automate, Automate, Automate.
Pull the name of a start-up out of a hat at random and chances are you’ll find one working in automation, AI, or Machine Learning in some form. And yet many of you still rely on outdated, manual processes. How many times do you manually share a post to LinkedIn or Twitter, for example?
It’s about time you followed your own lead, and more effectively spent your time by automating the tasks that no longer require your attention. In the case of sharing posts to social media, grab Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Oh, and do the same for your budgets, payroll, and taxes while you’re at it.
3. Tackle Your To-Do List Debt.
Despite your plans, things get in your way. That’s life. But the more this happens – and it will – the more you’ll have to catch up on. Slip too far, and you’ll end up in a to-do list debt cycle that’s almost impossible to break.
This growing mountain of tasks is affectionately known as ‘To-Do List Debt’. Just like regular debt, there are some great strategies out there that can help you burn through this growing list while keeping on track. TL;DR? Tick off today’s tasks, and then work in one or two from your to-do list.
4. Learn To Delegate.
Whoever said ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself’ obviously wasn’t trying to run a business. It can be tempting, especially if – like most start-ups – you started out with an idea of your own or a small team. What if someone else messes it up?
But there’s only so much you can do. It may be difficult, but learning to loosen your grip and trade that protective parenting management style for one that effectively delegates tasks if a recipe for success. Assign work so that it maximises the strengths of your team, and watch your productivity soar.
5. Ditch The Paper Documents & Go Digital.
So much of today’s work is done digitally, it’s easy to forget that paper is even a thing…until you’re stuck there, standing in front of a printer, waiting for it to spool up and decide to start doing something. For all of technology’s advances, the printer sure is stuck in the 80’s, huh?
And so is your business if it still relies on paper. It’s easy to misplace, takes forever to prepare and send, and can be lost in just seconds in the event of a fire or flood.
Thankfully, transitioning to a wholly digital working environment is easier now than it’s ever been. Services like Smooth Solutions make digitising documents, easy. And when the paper’s gone? Switching to a business platform that allows you to securely manage, store, and share these documents is a great way to boost productivity in the boardroom or on the go.
6. Learn From Their Mistakes.
You’ve probably heard there’s more than one way to skin a cat. In the startup world, there’s seemingly also more than one way to reinvent the bus, taxi, and even the wheel. You just give it a new name, a flash looking App, and you’re set!
We get it, new ideas can be tough in this space. Chances are, you’re going to be retreading a lot of old ground before you carve out your niche. But chasing the success of those that have come before you can also see you repeating their failures.
Instead of wasting your time picking yourself up and dusting yourself off, don’t be afraid to learn from the mistakes of those that have come before you. You’ll make far better use of your time, and get to the finish line with a few less bumps and scrapes to show for it.
Reading this article could be considered one of these steps. You’ve set some time aside to gather information, learn from others, and find out how best to boost your productivity during any given day. That’s a smart investment if you ask us.
Now, back to work!