The golden rule of business says that effective time management is the key to success.

Findings from an Instant print report reveal that 53% of those surveyed found that admin and report writing were taking up a disproportionate amount of time when compared with growing business.

“It is interesting to see from the research that it is the management of our hours, minutes and seconds that have the biggest effect on the running of a successful enterprise,” said co-founder of Instantprint James Kinsella.“Every business is unique, but improving time management and optimizing working hours can only bring positive outcomes.”

So how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of your time?

1. Discover your most productive work hours
Finding your most productive time is crucial, and can be achieved by listening to your body’s natural energy spurts. Things that kill productivity include: routine activities and continuous work which can demotivate you. Go a maximum of two hours and then tune out to tune back in.

2. Just say no
Many of us are just too polite, but sometimes it’s important to simply say no. Distractions steal your time from important tasks. People may ask you to do a quick thing here and a quick thing there, but suddenly your hours disappear. If you’ve got an important task, keep at it and don’t let anyone interrupt; you’re busy. One in three decision makers claim they struggle to do everything they need to in a day, so make your ‘everything’ list shorter.

3. Go step-by-step
Don’t think of your to-do list as one huge item to complete. It’s overwhelming and will only put pressure on you. Take one thing at a time and this will allow you to give each task the attention it deserves. As a bonus tip, make sure you establish a method to classify tasks that need to take priority over others.

4. Know what gets you through
Some days you’ll need a boost to power through your workload. Whether it’s because you had a bad night’s sleep or you’re especially busy that day, find what gets you through. Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed say having coffee or tea on the go helps them through their daily tasks, and 1 in 3 have a playlist set up to get them in the zone.

5. Exercise and eat well
It may seem unrelated but taking care of yourself will have a direct impact on your mood and concentration. A healthy diet with regular exercise increases dopamine in the brain, making you feel better and more alert. Also sitting at a desk all day can really take a toll so it’s important to get moving when you can.

Article published in Clubhouse Europe issue 13