Want to be more productive?
Want to be more productive, but never seem to be able to manage it consistently? You’re not alone. Even the most effective people have days where they work hard but seem to get nothing done.
The key is to get organised. Check out these 8 tips for super-busy retailers.
- Wake up early
- Adopt healthy habits
- Make to-do lists
- Avoid interruptions
- Remember to outsource and delegate
- Automate your tasks
- Invest in good software
- Find good suppliers and partners
1. Wake up early
You’ve heard that the early bird catches the worm, and it’s true that some of the world’s most successful business people are known to get up early.
Unless you’re a committed night owl, it’s worth setting that alarm a little earlier in the morning to make the most of the day.
By getting started early, you’ll have a few moments of quiet time to yourself to grab a coffee, take a breath and have a calm start to your day.
You’ll also give yourself a chance to get ahead. Many people don’t like to get up early, so use this time to focus on your day’s tasks without interruption. Get a good chunk of your day’s admin work done while it’s quiet before the customers arrive.
Not only will you be more productive, but it’s a great way to reduce the overall stress of your working day.
2. Adopt healthy habits
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep when planning earlier starts, and use the extra time in the morning to get yourself into a healthy routine.
You could add in some stretches and exercise, drink an extra glass of water, and organise a healthy breakfast such as oats or eggs to give you energy.
Small, regular changes eventually lead to permanent good habits, the goal being to have more energy and enthusiasm to be consistently more productive.
Try to factor some of these ideas into your daily routine:
3. Make to-do lists
Make a plan, and mark off your achievements once completed. Daily planners and to-do lists are a great way to keep yourself on track and boost productivity. You remain accountable while making sure that nothing gets forgotten. Plus, there’s a feeling of achievement every time you mark something on your list as complete, which can be a great motivational tool.
If planning isn’t your strong suit, there’s a multitude of free apps you can make use of, for example:
Workflow app to manage your projects
Create to-do lists and set recurring tasks
Google tool to set out your daily tasks and times
4. Avoid interruptions
Constant interruptions can be costly, as you not only lose the time on your task, but it’s also easy to completely lose your train of thought, struggle to refocus and increase the risk of mistakes.
Interruptions are inevitable, but making a few small changes can help you to manage them better.
Starting work before the world wakes is a great help, but what happens after that? Identify your biggest source of disturbance and look at ways to reduce it.
Are you a chatterbox? Find an alone space and set aside a time frame to complete your tasks. For routine tasks, it often helps to choose the same time every day, so your colleagues already know the times that you to be left alone.
Technology distractions such as mobile phones and tablets are a big one for many people. If possible, put them or silent or even leave them elsewhere while you complete your tasks. We are often slaves to our notifications, but you can set aside some time after your tasks are complete to return any missed calls or messages.
Try not to multitask. We are most productive when focusing on a single task at a time, and it’s perfectly ok to let your source of interruption know you’ll get back to them later, when you can give them your full attention. If it’s a customer, grab a colleague to help them, and return the favour whenever they are busy and face an interruption.
5. Delegating and outsourcing
Where appropriate, delegation and outsourcing can be a great way to free up some of your precious time.
Business owners and managers can often get bogged down with completing the tasks that they have always done, but as your business grows, it might be time to start delegating some of those tasks.
List out your regular tasks and decide if you can train your staff to do them. If they are also stretched for time, it might be time to create a new role and hire a team member to take on some of these responsibilities.
This may negatively impact your bottom line, so depending on your business size and type, you might want to consider outsourcing instead.
Outsourcing can be a good solution for tasks that take up your time, but don’t directly generate profit for your business, such as accounting, I.T services, and human resources. This will involve hiring third party specialists to take over these tasks for you, freeing up your time to focus on more profitable activities instead.
6. Automate your tasks
Leave it to the robots! Making use of technology to automate your mundane and repetitive tasks is not only faster but usually more cost-effective.
Automation also reduces the risk of errors, so it’s an excellent all-around way of improving efficiency for your business.
Take stock of all those small repetitive tasks that you complete every day. Then consider whether or not that task could be automated.
Even for small businesses, spending a little time finding out more about available technology options could save your business significant time and money in the long term.
For example, you can use automation software that manages:
- Sales leads
- Customer engagement
- Marketing emails
- Appointment reminders
- Reporting and analytics
- Payment collections
- Accounting tasks
- Staff and H.R. tasks
- Stock ordering
…and the list goes on! Make a list of the repetitive daily tasks for your business, and see if they could be automated. The time saving may well outweigh the cost, as you can focus on more productive tasks.
7. Invest in good software
Having the right software for your business is a good investment for productivity. Not only does it make your life easier having the right software in place for your type of business, but it will also save you and your staff labour time, and therefore, money.
Consider putting an adequate software system in place early on in your business journey. In the short term, software that’s designed specifically for your sector will not only manage a lot of your daily tasks for you, but it will also help you to streamline your processes, manage your data, and input/recall information at the touch of a button.
In the long term, good software will constantly gather and collate useful data for later analysis. This is invaluable when it comes to working on your business strategy down the line, as you can easily generate reports and figures to help you make faster decisions.
It will also save you hours and potential headaches when it comes to the end of year accounting, so your business gains ongoing returns and benefits for your initial outlay.
8. Find good suppliers and partners
We don’t always think of choosing suppliers and partners in terms of productivity, but surrounding yourself with great people can make a big difference to your efficiency.
Where you have choices, take the time to find experienced suppliers and partners with a good reputation. It takes time to build a business reputation and these suppliers a likely to be more reliable, with tried and tested products and processes in place. For you this means less time spent chasing them up, correcting errors, and dealing with issues.
Take the time to develop a good working relationship with your suppliers and establish a service level agreement. Creating clear channels of communication allows for better planning and smoother processes.
Where applicable, ensure that your suppliers and partners provide a good backup service, so that support, information, and training is available quickly and easily, should you require it.
Where your suppliers are reliable, your own customers are more likely to have a great experience, leading to their repeat business. In turn, this reduces the time your business spends on each customer, allowing you to improve your own productivity. Think reduced transaction times and returns processing, less time-solving problems and more time pursuing new business and growth.
Monitor the ongoing performance of your suppliers and partners for efficiency and productivity and review your agreement periodically to make sure you are getting the best possible service for your business.
Who are we?
We are dedicated to providing your store with the most up-to-date and reliable point of sale hardware, along with software management tools to help you manage your business effectively.
To find out more about what we do, get in touch to chat with one of our knowledgeable consultants:
About the author:
Juliane Camozzato is a Marketing Executive at Retail Solutions. You can follow her on LinkedIn!