How to increase productivity in your small business

Sprinkle Club - A woman increasing the productivity of her small business on her laptop

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

There’s so much to do when it comes to running a small business that it might seem a little overwhelming at times. Actually completing the work for clients or creating products for customers is only half the battle - marketing, admin and finances are also time-consuming (and endless) tasks.

One way to reduce the stress is to streamline your processes, automate as much as possible, and get yourself organised so that you can give more of your energy to the tasks you enjoy doing and which bring in the sales. It’s about using all the tools that are available to help you make more time and space for the tasks you imagined doing when you first started your business.

To give you a head start, here are some great small business organisation ideas that will increase your productivity levels, and ultimately generate more sales of your products or services.

1. CRM and project management tools

Sprinkle Club - A woman sitting on a sofa working on her laptop using a project management tool to stay more organised in her small business

Photo by Los Muertos Crew

CRM (customer relationship management) tools help you manage your customer or client information and communications. They bring the marketing, sales and customer service aspects of running a small business together, and help you move away from manual processes, like sending invoices, contracts and emailing customers.

Using CRM software will mean you’re able to track your customer/client interactions more easily, and making these processes less manual will free up your time for more enjoyable tasks. It’s a good idea to look for a cloud-based CRM tool so you can access the information quickly and easily wherever you are. Here are a few great cloud-based CRM tools:

Zoho - CRM software with a powerful marketing and sales features to help you organise contacts, market your brand, manage sales and provide efficient customer service.

Hubspot - This CRM platform has a free plan so you can try it out before you invest in a package with more functionality.

Agile CRM - Hosted on the Google cloud, this CRM software divides business into three main areas: marketing, sales and service. It also has lots of integrations available.

Similarly, project management tools will help you keep track of individual projects and clients, so you’re not relying on lists written on random bits of paper or post-it notes stuck to your computer! Knowing you’ve got all your tasks organised for a particular client will free up a lot of headspace that can be better invested in other areas. It’s also great if you’re collaborating with others on a project or if you need to share information with business partners or employees.

Here are the top contenders:

Trello - The best thing about this project management tool is that it’s free! Information is collated on boards that you can share with others to get their input, and it provides a great visual roadmap of what you’re working on and when. You can upgrade to Business Class at a later date if you want more functionality.

Asana - You can move through the whole process of starting and completing a project with this great online tool. You can easily see the progress of tasks, and it’s a great, simple project management tool for small business owners.

ClickUp - With this all-in-one project management tool you can keep tasks, documents and conversations together in one place, and it’s also free! You can create to-do lists, manage projects, upload documents, have conversations with team members, set reminders and track your time and goals - so pretty much everything!

Making use of all these clever CRM and project management tools is one of the best small business organisation ideas for increasing productivity; no more wasting time searching for information on bits of paper or spending your precious energy trying to keep everything in your head (very stressful!).

2. Calendar blocking and scheduling

Sprinkle Club - A woman planning out her schedule for the month on a calendar

Photo by Anete Lusina

Whether you use a paper diary or an online calendar, blocking out chunks of time for specific tasks or events is a great way to keep you motivated and organised. All you have to do is add all your daily, weekly and monthly tasks or events into a specific time slot in your calendar and then stick to it!

Only work on that task for the duration of the time slot and if you think you need more time at the end, schedule it straight away. It’s up to you how granular you get with your time slots, for example, you might want to schedule a different task every 15 minutes or one every 90 minutes. It might depend on the types of tasks you have to do. Another option is to schedule in 3-5 priority tasks for each day that must get done, and then slot in other, less urgent tasks around them.

Make sure you set recurring tasks to repeat at the correct frequency so that’s one thing of your long list of things to remember. You could also decide to spend certain days of the week doing specific tasks, like scheduling your social media on Mondays or emailing your mailing list on Wednesdays, and set those as repeating tasks. Time blocking and scheduling in this way will increase your productivity as you won’t be wasting time at the beginning of each day thinking about what you need to do as you’ll have your day all laid out in front of you.

3. Organise your inbox

Sprinkle Club - Someone opening the Gmail app on their phone to organise their email inbox

Photo by ready made

Answering emails can be a massive time drain - they never stop coming! The key is to keep your inbox as clean as possible by implementing a little and often approach. This is one of those small business organisation ideas that can really make a difference in how much time you have available for creative tasks.

Try to spend 15-20 minutes every day clearing out your emails by either actioning them, delegating them or filing them and deleting junk or irrelevant emails. Try to keep the number of emails in your inbox down to the essential few that you need to follow up or action in some way. Make use of labels and categories so you know what you need to do at a glance when you return to your emails each day.

The most important thing to remember though is not to let answering emails suck up all your precious time. You could decide only to answer emails at a set time each day so you’re not constantly returning to them, or even every couple of days - most people are reasonable enough to tolerate a wait of at least 48 hours. Taming your emails in this way will reduce what can be an incessant demand on your time if you let things get out of control.

4. Social media scheduling

Sprinkle Club - A woman holding up her phone with the Sprinkle Club instagram on the screen

As a small business owner, you probably rely on building brand awareness and connecting with your customers or clients through various social media channels; however, monitoring your social media accounts and thinking of content to post can be very time-consuming, and it can feel like a burden that’s hanging over your head every day.

If you rely heavily on social media to promote your business, one of the best small business organisation ideas to save you time and increase productivity is to plan and schedule your social content in advance. If you combine this with only checking your accounts for comments or messages within set timeframes, you’ll avoid feeling like a slave to your social media accounts.

One idea is to sit down at the end of each month and plan out your content for the next month. Then you can make use of the many free social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to actually write out and schedule your posts to go out every day, or every few days throughout the month, depending on how frequently you need to post to capture your audience’s attention.

It will feel great knowing you’ve got everything planned out and scheduled, and you’ll massively reduce the amount of time you spend on social media.

5. Create processes and templates

Sprinkle Club - A woman writing on sticky notes and planning out her business strategy

Photo by Adobe Stock

Another great way to get organised is to write down processes you follow regularly, such as for marketing a new product or booking in clients, to save you time in the long-run. Get as many processes as you can written down in the form of checklists or flowcharts to follow - this will save you time spent thinking about what to do when a new client gets in touch or when you’ve got a new product to sell.

Similarly, save information you commonly email to customers or clients as templates that you can reuse in future. Then you can simply copy and paste the text into a new email, only having to spend a small amount of time changing the details.


As you can see, there are so many small business organisation ideas for streamlining your processes and keeping on top of your projects and tasks, which will increase your overall productivity and give you back valuable time that can be better spent on income-generating activities. Happy organising!


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