Setting a Schedule Eliminates Overload

a man with a checklist and a clock

Business owners are all-too-familiar with endless to-do lists complicated by busy schedules.Some days, there is so much to do, that it is difficult to know where to begin.  There are so many tasks demanding your time and attention that you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, attempting to tend to each task, yet not fully accomplishing any one job effectively.  You end your day feeling as though you’ve temporarily secured a leak with a bandaid, discouraged that the full repair remains incomplete.  The good news is that a large portion of your stress can be easily eliminated by establishing a structured, organized schedule, the conduit by which you streamline your otherwise overwhelming work day.

Decluttering the workspace saves time and money. 

The benefits of a decluttered desk or workspace extend far beyond those with hoarding tendencies.  In fact, the simple act of decluttering stokes the fires of self-starters, enabling them to adapt more quickly and efficiently to basic work requirements, saving time and money while alleviating stress and increasing productivity.  This is a very common sense approach to a work day as it’s difficult to produce pristine work in a messy environment.

Sleek, modern tech companies, for example, find that employees are at their best when work environments are open and “breathable”, free of unnecessary clutter.  The noteworthy result: increased ambition and creativity.  Additional benefits are more subtle: the space is easier to clean and navigate, more time to focus on the task at hand and increased awareness of what you have and what is still needed in order to accomplish the job.  You feel better and you are no longer purchasing office supplies which you already own because they are now visible, uncovered from the usual pile of clutter.  In addition, consumers view business workspaces as a solid representation of business structure, organization and cleanliness.  A messy work space communicates an inability to stay organized and on top of things, generating assumptions that your brand is not reliable and is too busy for the people it serves.  For business owners who operate out of a smaller, more intimate setting, the workspace might be the first thing a customer sees when they walk through the door and you will not recoup the opportunity to repeat that first impression.  Cluttered workspaces repel customers and are costly for business owners. 

Establish your tasks at the beginning of each week and prioritize them accordingly.  It is natural for business owners to feel equally responsible for all tasks regardless of scale.  The downside is that certain incomplete tasks are more costly than others, deadlines are missed and money is lost.  It is crucial for business owners to identify that which should be addressed first.  In addition, smaller, less important jobs can require a greater time frame in which to accomplish them due to poor organization.  Start by listing tasks in order of importance.  Group smaller jobs together and schedule a set time in your week in which to complete them collectively.  Larger projects should have their own prioritization in order of importance and cost of incompletion.  Establish solid deadlines by which to achieve each task and assign them individually to each day of your week with specific time frames.  The process should take no longer than an hour or two to complete.  This practice makes business owners more efficient while affording the latitude by which to focus on personal goals, striking a healthy balance personally and professionally.

Time is money and distractions are costly.  The greatest frustration of maintaining a productive schedule are the simple distractions which so easily capture our attention:  personal phone calls, texting, snack breaks, social media, smoke breaks, office gossip and general procrastination.  On average, personal email is checked 36 times per hour and most business owners attend a minimum of sixty meetings monthly.  It  can take as long as two hours to recover from basic workplace interruptions from coworkers, employees and customers.  In 2018, more than seventy percent of businesses owners reported feeling distracted during business hours and sixteen percent stated they felt generally unfocused.  On average, American employers are shelling out $650 billion annually on workplace distractions resulting in decreased productivity and consumer engagement, increased work hours, inefficiency and overpayment of employee labor.  The solution: start by identifying simple, daily distractions.  Steer clear of social media, establish a set time frame solely dedicated to addressing work-related emails, let your friends and family know that you will not be accepting personal phone calls during the work day and quit smoking.  Whether you realize it or not, distractions are affecting your bottom line. 

Setting a schedule is energy efficient.  Entrepreneurs know when they work best.  Whether early morning or late afternoon, everyone is different.  The key to establishing better efficiency with your time and energy is to schedule high-priority tasks during the time frame in which you work best.  If you “peak” at 11 a.m., then start knocking out the important tasks at 11 a.m.  Schedule less important jobs outside of your prime working hours as they will not cost you as much money if you cannot complete them in a timely fashion.

Key Points:

  1. Declutter as though your business depends on it.  You are likely purchasing duplicate office supplies because you cannot see what you already own beneath piles of unnecessary clutter.  You are wasting valuable time in search of your stapler!
  2. Begin each week by establishing a task list in order of importance and assign accordingly to each workday. Group smaller tasks together and knock those out in one “sitting”.  
  3. Eliminate costly distractions.  Grab everything you need to complete a task and avoid personal phone calls and email, social media, trips to the vending machine and boiler room chat.  
  4. Identify the time of day in which you are most efficient and accomplish your most important work during that time.  Remember: work smarter, not harder!

Set schedules save business owners thousands of dollars in valuable time, productivity  and energy.  A few simple changes can make a world of difference in helping you to achieve optimal business success without feeling overwhelmed.  In addition, business owners are more likely to experience a healthy balance of professional and personal timely goal achievement by following a set, disciplined schedule.