The 4-Step System to Help You Build a Happier, More Productive Business

More productive business
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Fact: if you’re happy you’ll have a more productive business.

The results of a study by the University of Warwick showed that we’re 12% more productive when we’re happy. But our feelings of happiness need to come from job satisfaction and not just from financial gain.

 

For most small business owners, a 12% spike in productivity could mean a massive boost in revenue, or give you the freedom to take almost an entire extra day off each week. 

 

Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Project found that our brains actually function much better when we’re happy. According to Anchor, “Happiness leads to greater levels of profit.”

But how can you organise your time so that you feel more satisfied with the work you're doing and build a more productive business?

When you started your business, chances are you had a core offering that was based around your expertise, your passions or a gap in the market that excited you enough to pursue it. 

 

But after a few months the reality of running a business sets in, and you realise that there’s a whole lot of other work that goes in to being a successful entrepreneur.

It’s inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you need to carry on doing it all. Over the course of the next week, I want you to make a list of everything you do in your business and sort those tasks into one of 4 categories: 

 

KEEP, CUT, AUTOMATE or DELEGATE.

 

It’s time to be ruthless!

More Productive Business

1) KEEP

These are the jobs that are directly related to your core offering, and the reason you started your business in the first place. They are also the jobs that are critical to the success of your business, and that ONLY YOU can do.

 

You should think about all of the tasks you carry out each day that:

 

  • Generate revenue
  • You’re really good at
  • You love doing, and feel energised by
  • You feel most qualified to do to a high standard

These jobs are the reason you started your business in the first place

A great test to check what should go in the KEEP category is to think about the tasks that you get lost in. Which are the jobs that make you completely lose track of time because you get into such a deep state of flow?

 

If you’re not sure when you’re in flow, Positive Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes it as, 

 

“being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.  The ego falls away.  Time flies.  Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.  Your whole being in involved and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

 

Running your own business is hard work, but all the sacrifices you make should mean that you also get to choose to do only what makes you happy.

2) CUT

More productive business

Choosing what to cut out of your day can feel a little bit scary because there’s always the little doubt gremlin telling you that you might be missing out on something.

 

But too often I speak to business owners who are reluctant to stop doing certain tasks because:

 

  • It’s what they’ve always done (and change is frightening)
  • Everyone else is doing it so there must be a reason to keep at it

 When you take an honest look at all the things you’re doing on a day to day basis, you might find a few things that:

 

  • Take up a lot of your time without the appropriate return
  • You dread doing each day
  • You put off endlessly and beat yourself up about
  • You’re really bad/slow at
  • Drain you and sap your energy

Does that sound familiar? We all have things we don’t enjoy and we’re not good at – and there’s no need to feel guilty about it. If the tasks you’ve identified are not critical to your business at this moment in time it might be worth reducing the amount of time you spend on them or cut them out completely.

We all have things we don't enjoy and there's no need to feel guilty about it

That doesn’t mean to say you can’t revisit these tasks further down the line. Nothing here is set in stone, but when your time is limited you should be focussed on what gives you the best return.

 

I recently decided to halve the amount of time I put into marketing on Instagram. I dreaded producing my weekly social media content because so much of my time was spent sourcing and editing images for Instagram.

 

The written content I produced across my other social media platforms was terrible because I was wasting so much time on producing images that were rubbish (because I’m not artistic!)

Since cutting way back, I’ve had more time to focus my marketing efforts where I can make the most impact.  

 

My engagement levels have improved by over 140% and I’ve started to really enjoy content creation.

More productive business

3) AUTOMATE

If you find yourself working on the same mindless, repetitive tasks for a large part of your day….or putting them off completely because you don’t have time it might be worth looking at what software you can put in place to help automate your processes.

 

We live in an age where there are an infinite number of software solutions available to meet our every need.  You’ll be amazed at what’s out there and at how much time and hassle it can save in your business.

 

Here are a couple of my favourites:

Acuity Scheduling – For roughly £10 per month you can subscribe to a piece of scheduling software which allows clients and prospects to book their own appointments and discovery calls directly.  No more going back and forth over email for days on end – just send over your unique scheduling link and the system takes care of it for you.

 

Mailchimp – If you haven’t already set up an email list and autoresponder, you really should! As well as being a great way to market your services, auto email can save you time by allowing you to prepare email templates in advance which automatically send out to clients who meet certain criteria.

 

Buffer – If you keep forgetting to post on social media or run out of time at the end of each day, there are tons of different social media scheduling and post recycling tools available.  I use the FREE version of Buffer and find it does the job well across my social media platforms – I simply spend time once a week setting up my posts for the week, and then let it do its thing each morning.

4) DELEGATE

More Productive Business

In order to decide what you should DELEGATE, you’ll need to go back to your list of tasks that:

 

  • Take up a lot of your time
  • You dread doing each day
  • You put off endlessly and beat yourself up about
  • You’re really bad/slow at
  • Drain you and sap your energy

The difference between this and the CUT category, is that these jobs are essential to the smooth-running of your business.  If you cut out these jobs you might see a drop in your revenue, or operational issues cropping up (which we obviously don’t want).

 

This is where you’ll need to think about out-sourcing to someone who:

 

  • Can do the job faster than you
  • Enjoys doing the job
  • Is better qualified and will therefore do it better than you can

As with every choice you make in your business, you need to make a calculation of the opportunity cost.  Out-sourcing costs money but if you look at it as an investment which will give you a return (both in financial terms and in terms of your happiness) it becomes a lot less scary.

As with every choice you make in your business, you need to calculate the opportunity cost.

Many entrepreneurs decide to start their own business because they want to feel excited about what they’re doing every day and to escape the limitations of a corporate job.  But the reality is that there will always be tasks that you don’t enjoy or that you’re not particularly good at.  

 

By allowing yourself to focus on what you love and are good at, you’ll see a huge improvement in how much you enjoy your business and the quality of your work.  Being happy not only allows you to live a fulfilling life but it will also help you build a more productive business.

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