Make What You Do Matter

10 Things A Business Owner Needs to Do to be Productive.

Are you in business to make money? Then it’s all about your time and how wisely you use it. Faye Watts, who juggles being a founder of London accountancy firm Fuse Accountants with her own business strategy consultancy and a number of board and trustee positions, hones down on how to improve your productivity and make your time work for you.

1. Work to a Vision

Your vision will help you remember what you are working towards, whether it’s that brand new Jag, a new extension on the house or financial freedom. Use it to propel you forward, keep you focused and excited about your work. Pin a picture of what you are working for over your desk to remind you daily.

2. Create Goals

Using your vision, plan your goals for the next 90 days and determine what handful of steps you need to work to in that time/this month/today to help make that vision come true. Make sure you are working towards that vision every day.

3. Concentrate on the Top Slice

Look at the top 10% of what you do — the stuff that really makes a difference. Forget all the bits and pieces that keep you busy or may be personally fulfilling — and start at the top of what will really make a difference to your bottom line.

4. Delegate

Delegation is an art but one that’s worth cultivating. Orchestrate getting the right people and show them exactly what you want done and how you do it. This applies whether it’s getting a business partner, expanding your team or taking on a cleaner. Recognise your own importance in fulfilling your goals and outsource what holds you back or dilutes your progress.

5. Prioritise your health

Your health is key. Low health equals low productivity. However busy you are, you must make time to eat properly and exercise. Investigate mental wellbeing practices like mindfulness and meditation. Work out what works to keep you in top shape mentally and physically.

6. Eliminate overwhelm

Get everything out of your brain and onto paper so that’s it’s not cluttering up your head. Now, take control of your expectations and don’t ever expect to finish your to list. Once you accept that you’ll find a huge sense of freedom. A to-do list just becomes a part of your life and can stay in proportion without overwhelming you.

Limit the number of things you do in a day. Make sure you focus on your top three things. When they are done get going on the next top three things. Be strict with yourself: if you’re juggling 20 really important and urgent actions then you have a problem.

7. Time block

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to focus, but we can build up that discipline. Book time when you cannot be disturbed into your diary. You can start with a minimum of a one hour block and accept no calls, no interruptions and do not let yourself be distracted by social media. Build up this uninterrupted time until you can go a whole morning or afternoon with this intense focus.

8. Do not multi-task

Switching between two or more activities is not effective, however productive you may feel it is. Your focused performance on both is reduced and this is a very ineffective way to work.

9. Get comfortable with gaps

Sometimes you don’t have to do everything on a task. It’s like using a colouring book but leaving some spaces white. If you’ve achieved the value of what you intended to do in an activity then ask yourself if you need to complete it to the very end. “Polishing” may be just a time waster. You will need to give up being a perfectionist for this one but it will help you look at ways that you may be wasting time just because it feels good.

10. Live by habit

The more things like time blocking become habitual, the more productive you will be. Look at habits you may already have and question whether they are helping you reach your goals. If not, what can you replace them with?

Faye is no ordinary tax accountant and business advisor. Her background in a creative environment and seven years as a freelancer in the fitness industry, followed by running her own accountancy practice since 2008 means that she has a real life understanding of the pressures of running and growing a business. As well as her work in tax consultancy and business planning, Faye sits on the advisory boards of a number of organisations. and