5. Work In Precise Time Blocks

A solid workflow is the backbone of every successful small business because it plays a key role in determining overall productivity and creativity. Conversely, a poor workflow that is cluttered with unnecessary delays or processes can cause premature fatigue, errors, hindered progress, and even financial losses. Fortunately, there are plenty of tips that can help you simplify your daily tasks, conduct more effective analysis, and see significant improvements in all key business metrics. More specifically, here are 5 powerful workflow optimization hacks that can be useful for most small businesses.

1. Export Outlook Appointments To Excel

If you use Outlook to keep track of your appointment scheduling, you can extract all of that data and open it in Excel to run analysis and create comprehensive reports. This is particularly useful for small businesses that set many daily, weekly, and monthly appointments, such as an office or practice. Excel will make it easier to sort through and filter your calendar data in ways that will provide useful insight for future schedule planning. However, you’ll need a tool like TimeTackle to export Outlook appointments to Excel

2. Use Collaboration Apps

Any business team that’s working together on a complex project should try to find a suitable collaboration app that facilitates communication, file sharing, planning, scheduling, and other aspects of daily workflow. These tools are especially useful for businesses that utilize teams of virtual assistants and freelancers, as they can serve as an online base of operations – sort of like a digital office where everyone can come together and get things done. 

3. Hire Virtual Assistants

Hiring more employees might not seem like a step that a small business should be using to maximize workflow, but it’s actually one of the most sure-fire ways to do so. Virtual assistants allow for the rapid scaling up of tasks and processes that are crucial to your company’s growth. Furthermore, there’s no commitment to pay a salary, as there are many virtual assistants and freelancers who will work on a per-task basis and only invoice for work that has been done and delivered. Thus, hiring virtual assistants is a cheaper and often more effective alternative to hiring offline workers. 

4. Incorporate Automation 

If your small business does a lot of online marketing, social media management, content distribution, email responding and other digital tasks that could possibly be automated, you may want to take a course on business automation. Streamlining those steps will give you the free time to be more innovative as the manager/owner of the business or give your team members more time to focus on tasks that can’t possibly be automated.

5. Work In Precise Time Blocks

Working in small, precisely scheduled time blocks is a strategy that many successful tech entrepreneurs have used, including Bill Gates and Elon Musk. There are many ways to use time blocks, but one of the most popular methods is called the Pomodoro technique – a system of scheduling breaks and working segments for maximum productivity over a long period of time without burnout. In its most basic form, you would carry out a “pomodoro” – a stretch of uninterrupted work that lasts for a period of your choosing but no longer than 30 consecutive minutes (25 minutes is the default). After each pomodoro, you take a “pomodori” – a short break that lasts for 5 minutes. Four pomodoros are called a set. After you have done 4 sets, then you can take a 15-30 minute break and repeat that cycle the entire shift. 

Study Scheduling, Productivity, And Software

Ultimately, the best way to become a wizard of small business workflow is to educate yourself about the software, tools, scheduling techniques, and productivity hacks that will make your company more efficient.