This One Simple Process Can Drastically Benefit Your Business

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This post was written by Tom Ewer, a regular contributor for!

We all know how it is as a small business owner.

Photo By RyanTron

Getting completely embroiled in the day-to-day running of your business is a near-inevitability.

It’s a whole different experience to employment — there’s no “showing up”. For most, the value of your input directly affects your immediate income.

This was most recently revealed to me when I was so ill that I had to take the day off (an extremely rare occurrence for me).

I earned no money that day and I got behind on my work — something that any small business owner can sympathize with.

Editor’s Note: This is one of the disadvantages of freelancing vs starting an online store or an online business where a computer server does most of the work.

However, the silver lining to that cloud was that by taking a close look at what I actually did with my working days, I was able to make massive efficiency savings and get back on track. That’s what I want to talk about today.

Task Auditing

I’ve already mentioned that it’s all too easy to get embroiled in the day-to-day running of your business, and that in itself is perhaps one of the biggest obstructions to efficiency that you face. When you are so close to what you are doing, the valuable exercise of actually assessing the worth of your actions often falls by the wayside.

Related: How To Make Time Equal Money 24 Hours A Day

We become overwhelmed by all of the “things” we need to do without actually considering how important those “things” are. By stepping back and objectively assessing the worth of the tasks we carry out on a day-to-day basis, you will probably find that you don’t need to be as busy as you are.

I’m not proposing a revolutionary approach to productivity here. All I am suggesting is that you take the time to assess each and every task you regularly carry out and consider its priority and value to your business (what I call “task auditing”). The results may be surprising.

What I Cut Out

When I did this recently, I ended up completely changing the approach I have to each working day.

First of all, I partitioned social media and email from the rest of the day. By affording yourself two or three “blocks” of time in the day to focus on these elements, it discourages you from constantly accessing them throughout the day, which can be a huge time suck.

Related: How To Find Time To Start A Side Business

I then moved all tasks that I find quite enjoyable, such as responding to comments on my blog, to the evenings. These are the kind of things that I can do whilst watching a little bit of TV, and I don’t mind doing them in my “down time”.

Finally, and most importantly, I sorted my tasks by what seems important and what is important. If I actually considered the payoff between potential rewards and available time, I found that some of things I was doing simply weren’t essential. I can do them, but if I don’t have the time, skipping them isn’t the end of the world.

Time Invested Means Time Saved

This “task auditing” process will take some time, but not a great deal. And the time invested in the process up front can save you a far greater amount of time (not to mention headaches) in the long run.

When you have a greater appreciation of the value of what you are doing, it affords you the kind of perspective that makes getting your work done a lot less stressful.

So why not give it a go? You may be surprised by your assessment of what you are doing in the day-to-day running of your business. I’d love to know how the process benefits you, so please don’t be shy to give your feedback in the comments section!

Editor’s Note: I thought that I would just share a few productivity tips of my own using some of the principles Tom has described above. First off, I tend to batch process everything. If I’m answering emails, then I’ll go ahead and answer all of the emails I have all at once in a single sitting.

Likewise, if I’m writing a blog post, I will try to pump out as much writing as I can within that time period. I’ve found that I waste the most time during my day by flitting back and forth from task to task.

In the microprocessor design world, we call this “context switching”. Most people are very slow at switching from task to task which is why they waste a lot of time. By focusing on a single thing at a time, you can accomplish much more than than when you try to multitask.

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5 thoughts on “This One Simple Process Can Drastically Benefit Your Business”

  1. For small business owners it is all too easy to get bogged down in day-to-day tasks and lose sight of big picture. After all they have hundred of things to take care of everyday. That’s why it is important to do the task auditing and prioritize them. I would also add that the next step after auditing the tasks is to delegate any that can be handled by someone else. This way you will be able to focus on the tasks that are important and add more value.

    My favorite question to ask is this – Are you working ON your business or FOR it? I had written a post on this topic that complements what you are saying here –

  2. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for sharing you post. It seems like you and your wife pretty much handle everything as a team. However, I’m currently developing my own store, and I’m looking into hiring a part-time virtual assistant to help me with the tasks that aren’t my ‘money makers’. Do you have any suggestions in regard to the tasks that I should pass off to my virtual assistant?


    1. Hmm… THat’s a tough one. It really depends on what skills your VA has. Are they knowledgable with SEO? Can they write well?

      1. Thanks for the reply Steve! Personally my background is in online marketing and public relations, so I plan to handle much of the marketing side of things – at least for the beginning. I feel like it’s a curse – I know SEO and marketing are two of the most crucial steps to success, and I won’t feel comfortable unless I start them off on the right path :) One of the tasks that I feel that I’ll hand off is the article marketing. After I write the articles they can spend time submitting to directories, but I feel that there’s much more that I could pass along than just article submissions.

  3. Cassie says:

    For those struggling afford hiring employees or budgeting it here is a way give jobs that pay you the business owner back – and earn kudos for giving employment!
    Audit and organizing tasks per one criteria: tasks are insanely simplified (organized, scheduled and well planned). Yes, there is supervision involved but can be done….. many employers may not be aware of is hire those with either minor disabled and/or semi-disabled or mild mental disabilities. Many can perform simple tasks such as stocking, packing and clean-up. Yet the most important they encourage employment the IRS and U.S. government offers you the business owner a percentage cut off of employment wages the average is about $6,000-$8,000 at the time of tax filings for wage taxes. In fact, Walgreen pharmacy stores use those with mental disabilities to pack crates of inventory at the main warehouse for loading trucks for distribution in warehouses. But there is a set standard what they must be paid (full time, W-2 form, benefits, and set pay scale). This varies region to region……..but break up the tasks make a schedule have it simplified.

    As a business you also earn goodwill value and the status or clout for hiring disabled, even high regards as an equal opportunity employer – there are benefits especially if your registered with the SBA in tax incentives. It’s not limited to the disabled you can also acquire pending your region hiring part-time for single unwed teen mothers or welfare recipients. Another clue plan well—– if modification are required to enable them to work the expense is fully deductible you if you can plan sales or performance features with modifications for the disabled it can be fully deducted for these improvements. Good Example: you sell life assistance products well if you provide wheel chair ramp for employee it’s also a feature for you clients to access a show room.

    For social Media & E-mail use mail filters prioritize emails per sales, vendors and or business operations. It will stream line every thing. If very minor office work at a computer or desk yes a person outsource services (veteran disabled services) are also looking for those in wheel chairs job placement in most cases if there is training on your part for minute computer skills and you organize training and set-up limited administration accounts again a perk with reduced tax incentives in employee wage taxes. So, yes it’s affordable for a small business owner to accept a staff value with little risk of competition and/or loss of business intelligence via previous employees. Yeah, that happens an ex-employee stealing your niche market from you…

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