Small Business Productivity Ideas for Business Owners and Employees

Technology has been helping to improve human productivity for thousands of years since the first day when mankind was able to harness the power of fire. We began cooking our food and manipulating other resources with fire to make things easier on our lives which led to even more discoveries. Fast forward to today and we are now in one of the most productive times in history. Or are we?

The short answer is, yes, we’ve considerably implemented various technologies that have cut down on how long it takes to get something done. For example, computer processors are a completely different ball-game than they were even just 15 years ago. They now operate at speeds that take complex programs and processes only seconds to complete when they once would take minutes or even hours.

Yet, with the rise of all this technology to help us save on time, we have still found other ways to insert distractions to “make up” for all of the time we’ve saved. Life has become increasingly full of these distractions which, unfortunately, can leak into our work lives. This can lead to a dip in productivity which could be costing your business a lot of revenue in lost time.

Here are a few ways you and your employees can gain back that lost time by incorporating some productivity ideas and time-saving techniques.


1. Managing Your Inbox:

Most people think that spending time in their inbox still feels like they’re being productive since it involves them doing something for their job. However, it’s very easy to get trapped in an e-mail cycle that can quickly become the biggest productivity killer for work. First, stop responding to e-mails as they come into your inbox! Set aside a few moments throughout the day for when you have the time and energy to get your e-mailing done instead. Make a note of this in your e-mail signature so others will know how you operate. Additionally, sign up for a free service like which consolidates all of your subscription emails into one daily e-mail so your inbox doesn’t become cluttered.

2. Social Media Management:

Hopefully, your business is taking advantage of connecting with your audience via social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. Keeping up with posting content every day is another story. Using management sites, like Hootsuite, can let you schedule posts in advance which will free up time for other duties. Like e-mails, if you receive any messages, then set aside the time to address those when you’re not busy. You can even set up an auto-message feature on Facebook to let your audience know that you’re aware of their message and will get back to them at a later time.

If you’re not doing work-related social media tasks then turn off notifications for messages and posts. This will help prevent you from compulsively checking those sites. You may also want to include these rules in an employee handbook to instill good habits in your team.

3. Ergonomic Productivity:

Sitting down for long periods of time? It’s important to set reminders throughout the day to get up, stretch, and walk around. Doing so can put a little energy boost back into your work production and make a huge difference in your day. Avoid workplace injuries by making sure your chair, desk, keyboard, monitor, and mouse are at the right height and level to prevent fatigue and discomfort which can lead to more serious problems if ignored. Also, encourage your team to take their breaks in full so as not to overload their minds. Some of the best problems are solved when we step back and take a break from a task.

This can eventually become part of your workplace wellness program which should include encouraging your team to join a gym and provide rewards if they track their progress by creating monthly workplace healthy activity competitions. Ultimately, you will create a boost in morale and healthy habits which will lead to happier employees and lower turnover.

4. Going Virtual:

Even our own industry is contributing to office productivity. A lot of startup companies are opting in for virtual office spaces to eliminate overhead costs so they can focus on growing their business. Going virtual can also save you and your team on time with the option of working remotely. Think about how much time you waste sitting in traffic every week when you could use that time getting work done. Another great benefit of working remotely is the option of being able to hire employees from anywhere. Now you can find the best talent for your industry and no longer have to hold out for that one local qualified candidate. Instead of spending weeks doing interviews you can potentially find your candidate in half that time!

5. Starting Your Day Right:

Don’t wait until the next day to start preparing for it. Before leaving work for the day, plan tomorrow’s schedule in advance while your thoughts are fresh. Itemize the e-mails you need to address in order of importance. Clean up desk clutter and take off any old papers or sticky notes. Prepare breakfast and lunch the night before to prevent picking up something fast and unhealthy. Pick out your clothes for the next day before going to bed and go to sleep early while avoiding anything with a screen at least 1 hour prior. The light from a phone can throw off our brain’s sleep schedule which can make you feeling tired and irritable the next day. Instead, reading a book before bed can help you fall asleep faster.

These are only a few ways in which we can improve ourselves to lead a more productive work-life. It’s not always easy to adopt new habits and will require some dedication, however, the rewards are far more beneficial for you, your team, and your business!

For a quick reference, check out our infographic:

infographic with productivity ideas for small businesses