This post really isn’t just for small business owners or entrepreneurs. We all get in our own way from time to time, but some of us truly are our own worst enemies when it comes to organization, time management and productivity. Check and see if you are doing some or all of these things to facilitate more usable time.

Automate as much as you possibly can.

  1. Are you paying personal and business expenses online at least?
  2. Do you have them set up on autopay?
  3. What about prescriptions? Preorder these through a mail-order company.
  4. Office supplies can sometimes be ordered automatically as well-check with your vendor.

Don’t get tangled up in email. Follow Tim Ferriss’s advice and check email twice daily. Have an auto-reply message up that let’s people know you do this and that they should call if it is an emergency.

Delegate or outsource more work. You are paid too much to handle small detail work. Learn to delegate to existing staff or consider hiring a virtual assistant to manage your calendar, send memos, manage your finances and more . They can do this for your business and your personal life.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with a daily “to do” list. Pick the three most important things you have to do, pick the most painful one (painful=carefully avoided) and do it first. Psychologically, keeping the list short helps you with a sense of accomplishment and once you are in work mode, you’ll like do much more than those three things.

Set a timer and turn off the phone and Internet. If you have some dreaded tasks, turn an alarm on (your watch, your cellphone) and distractions off. Promise yourself to devote 30 minutes to just working on these tasks. Again, you will likely push back the 30 minutes but having the commitment to yourself that you can stop after that amount of time alleviates stress and worry-and gets you moving.

We all get in our own way from time to time. Much of the cure comes by steering clear of busy-work and focusing on priorities and by gaining an awareness of those areas where we trip ourselves up. Start looking at those minute issues and remember: “don’t sweat the small stuff”.


by Steven Schlagel