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Jeff Haden
Business Journalist

Jeff Haden is a bestselling ghostwriter, speaker, Inc. Magazine contributing editor, and LinkedIn Influencer

Jeff Haden
Business Journalist

Jeff Haden is a bestselling ghostwriter, speaker, Inc. Magazine contributing editor, and LinkedIn Influencer

As a busy business owner, it’s tempting to try juggling all the balls at once in order to get things done. But using the right technologies and processes – not constantly multitasking – could be the answer.

These days a business owner, manager or entrepreneur needs to be a jack-of-all-trades: part marketer, part line manager, a dash of CFO and a healthy dose of salesperson. You oversee operations, balance budgets, plan for the future, and try to keep staff happy and motivated. The days fill up fast and your responsibilities are as diverse as they are time-consuming.

So you multitask, right?

Unfortunately, multitasking does not necessarily make you more productive – at least not without some help from the latest business tools and technologies including powerful task management software. In fact, research suggests that frequently switching between tasks actually undermines our efficiency.

It’s far more likely that your ability to prioritise tasks and make the most of the right resources is what allows you to seriously increase productivity.

So in an age where the idea of a business owner with one set of specialised skills is increasingly less prevalent, what enables entrepreneurs to have it all (or as much of it as possible)?

Here are some great ways to achieve more throughout your work week.

A large amount of multi-coloured post-it notes lying in a large pile on a white floor.

Productivity apps

Many apps are downloaded, tried and then deleted. But some task and project management software platforms and productivity apps are incredibly useful. For example, GoCanvas for creating your own digital business forms, DocuSign for signing agreements and contracts, Telstra Trades Assist® for automating and growing your business, Microsoft® Project Online for project management on the go, and many more.

The key is to find tools that work for you and automate or streamline all of the things you’re trying to do at once. A productivity app should make it easier for you to work the way you like to work while managing competing priorities.

If you find yourself de-optimising your processes in order to accommodate a particular app, find another one. The goal is to save time and grow productivity, not over complicate your work life.

Focus on what matters

We all have things that make the biggest difference to our bottom lines. It could be sitting down to write, getting on the phone to pitch, or finishing the development of a new product. Pick two or three things that contribute the most revenue and then eliminate as many of the additional, less important tasks as possible.

So if you’re a great closer, find ways to get in front of more clients. If you’re a great motivator, find ways to interact more with your team.

Remember, just because you can perform a task doesn’t mean you’re always the right person to do so. Maximise your results by maximising the time you spend doing the things that matter most.

Saying no

Start saying no more often than you say yes. Be polite, but protect your time. Time is the one asset you can never afford to waste.

Single-tasking

Plenty of studies show that multitasking is extremely inefficient. So is a loss of attention and focus. Eliminate distractions and temptations when you’re working on something important by turning off your phone and email as well as chat window alerts.

Then, on your schedule, take a few minutes to check on what you might have missed. In all likelihood nothing important will have happened and in the meantime, you’ll have gotten a lot more done.

As a business owner, your role is to guide the business. Yes, that means you’re likely to have an eye across everything in the business, but there are plenty of ways to keep on top of what your business is doing without micromanaging or trying to do everything at once. So work hard to find tools and processes that work for you. In the end you only have so much time in a day – and you need to have a life outside of work too. 

Want access to expert business technology and management advice to help you prioritise?  Discover Telstra Smarter Business Tools. 

*Originally published on October 8th 2015. Updated July 10th 2019.

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