productivity tips

Small business productivity can be an ongoing struggle. You wear many hats and have to manage people. Thus, it can be hard to manage time and get all of your work done efficiently. Here are three secrets to help increase small business productivity, backed by science.

1. Use technology to your advantage.

Invoicing can be a time suck. Luckily, transferring money just got easier.  Zelle is the new payment system that allows you to transfer money directly to another person. You can simply pay by using a phone number or email address. Unlike other apps that currently do this, the technology is interwoven into your banking app, so you don’t have to go elsewhere to make the transfer.  That’s one less storage-clogging app to clear off your phone screen or mobile device.

Financial institutions all over the country, including credit unions, can now offer this to consumers for a faster and convenient way to handle payments. Take advantage of other types of technology that can help you conveniently make payments like Venmo, Paypal and invoicing through Due.

2. Become one with nature.

When more and more people might scour the App Store for ways to be more productive or reach for that extra cup of coffee throughout the day, reconnecting with nature might be the answer to boost work performance. According to the Harvard Business Review, decision making, stronger cognition, increased innovative potential, better attention, and memory can all be attributed to interacting with nature. It also offers health benefits such as reducing anxiety and stress.

You don’t have to hug a tree or go on a full-scale camping trip to reap these benefits. Exposing yourself to nature more is all it takes. Getting some fresh air, going for a run, gardening, etc. can positively impact how productive you are when it’s time to work. Walking outside not only gives you a break and some exercise but helps lift your mood by getting vitamin D from the sun. You can do something as simple as putting more plants in your work environment or even incorporate photographs into the decor to reap some of the benefits.

3. Face your fears and get a life.

While we’ve all heard of FOMO, the fear of missing out, this often happens when we look at someone’s vacation pictures to Tahiti on Facebook too much. While influential, it doesn’t seem to be enough to get American workers to take more time off of work.

Studies reveal that we might also be influenced by FOBR. This acronym stands for the fear of being replaced. If the new intern is a little too eager or the boss’ golf buddy in another department wants to transfer to your department, we might be hesitant to leave.

vacation time

4. Take mini trips to increase small business productivity

We also fear a soul crushing pile of work stacking up that will greet us upon returning. For those business owners, small business productivity is key to not letting this happen. For these reasons, USTravel.org shows that over 40% of American workers don’t take all of their paid time off. Not taking time off can negatively impact their health, well-being and other benefits that allow them to work more efficiently.

I think we have an all or nothing approach at times. We either want to take a lengthy trip to [insert favorite location], or we decide to stay put. Consider using some of the unused paid vacation days for a long weekend. Not only is it a stress reliever and productivity booster, but an article in the WSJ also reveals the experience can have a lasting effect when it comes to our happiness.

A day or two won’t backlog you at work as much as a week or two would. You also won’t leave too much time for the intern to become besties with your colleagues. Plan smaller trips. Whether your idea of time off is relaxing by the pool or something more physical like hiking or skydiving, strategically plan what you want to do on your day(s) off. You can even make a bucket list of local things to do so you can rejuvenate in spurts.

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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