I’ve read a number of blogs and articles recently about how successful people start their day or the habits they follow.  As I reflected on the insights in those articles, two things became apparent.

First, people want to implement simple changes to make them more productive.

Second, helping businesses improve their processes is enhanced by helping individuals make the most of their time.

In light of those “aha moments” here are some easy-to-follow habits to help you use your time well.  Not everything will work for everyone, so try them and see what works for you.  The important takeaway is for you to feel more organized, in control, and less stressed by adjusting your routine.

Take control of your email.

  • Don’t leave messages unread when you leave for the day. Otherwise you are starting off the next day already behind.
  • Respond, file, or delete email when you read it the first time. If you need to take action later, flag it or leave it in your inbox.
  • Create rules for emails you receive on a regular basis, especially ones that are informational only. Let your email client help you keep the important ones front and center.
  • Unsubscribe from mailing lists you no longer value to eliminate clutter.

Start your day right.

  • Check your email first thing in the morning when you get up. Reply to the ones needed and send any new messages on items that are on your mind.
  • After your morning check-in is over, get some exercise and eat a good breakfast.

Build a routine and eliminate unnecessary decisions.

  • Eat the same thing each morning or prepare breakfast in advance the night before.
  • Pack your bag for the gym the night before.
  • Put the items you need for the day together so you can grab them all at once as you head out the door and not have to track things down (or forget them altogether).
  • Take a 5- or 10-minute break in the morning and afternoon to walk around. Getting away from your desk helps clear your mind re-energizes your body.
  • Keep a To Do list and mark off items as you complete them.
  • Give yourself deadlines.
  • Periodically clean your desk by throwing out or filing items that have accumulated.
  • Put time on your calendar to reflect on your business or job and what you need to do to make it more valuable or profitable.

Like most entrepreneurs, you are used to digging in and doing whatever needs to be done. That’s how you started and built your business. It’s part of you. It’s in your nature. It’s the reason you are where you are.

But there comes a season where you can’t do it all and it seems like something is missing. Things that used to operate like clockwork just aren’t clicking anymore. You worry when you are out of the office. You wish you had more time in the day – to accomplish more and to spend more time with your family.

It happens to everyone who has a growing business. See if these statements hit close to home:

  • There is a lack of accountability on my team.
  • It seems like all my team does is fight fires.
  • I’m not sure everyone is on the same page.
  • “Tom” causes trouble but he hits his numbers and I can’t afford to lose him.
  • Our expenses are growing faster than our revenues.

Sound familiar?

If it does, it is time for a gut check. As the leader, what are you going to do about it? These problems won’t go away on their own, and they are likely to get worse. You can do one of three things: 1) pretend not know there are problems, 2) spend more of your time and effort to “fix” the problems yourself, or 3) you can ask for help.

Option 1 does nothing to resolve the issues. Option 2 means you have less time devoted to growing the business, less time for your family, and a lower likelihood of driving the results you need. Option 3 – asking for help – gives you best chance to get your team aligned, drive accountability in the organization, and gives you the freedom to focus on the vision for the company. And wouldn’t it be great to take time with your family knowing that your team was operating at a high level?

If this is where you find yourself today, find someone with the experience and expertise to help you. You need a fresh perspective from someone who isn’t caught up in the whirlwind of your daily business so you can right the ship.

Don’t miss out on better results at work. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to invest more of yourself in your family and your passions.