Learn how creating systems can help you be more productive.

Mar 01 2019 | PayPal Editorial Staff

Having systems in place for your commonplace operating tasks allows you to manage your time and your workload more wisely, function more efficiently, and provide a smoother and more professional experience for your clients.
Imagine you're sitting in your office. Maybe you work from home. Or maybe you even work from a co-share space. You look at the clock, only to realize it's almost 4pm and you haven't touched any of the work that you wanted to get done that day.

Instead, you spent the entire afternoon hunched over your laptop going over the language for your new client's project proposal, or scope of work, or perhaps even a new budget that's overdue. But you're a pro, so you power through it.
 
When you next look at the clock it's about 7pm and you can't believe how long it took you to get through your invoicing. It didn't help that a few of your clients have unpaid invoices that are now late. You spend another half hour sending late payment reminder emails.
 
If this sounds familiar, now might be a good time to consider adopting productivity systems.
 
Your day-to-day business activities such as new client-onboarding, status updates, invoicing and administrative tasks, website maintenance, business development and cold pitching - even product updates and development - should all be in a template, automated and batched.
 
Create templates.
While an invoice template might be what comes to mind first, almost any document that you generate regularly can be made into a template. Status update forms, contact forms, contracts, agreements, budget outlines, even cold call emails can all be set up as individual templates in MS Word format or Excel doc.
 
When you have created templates for your everyday items, you're less likely to make mistakes, forget details, or submit them late.
 
For example, next time you onboard a new client, you can immediately attach your client contact form to your welcome email, knowing that all the information you need from your new client has already been laid out on the template. From there, you can easily transfer the information into your online contact manager. You don't have to worry about starting from scratch and reinventing the wheel for every new client.
 
Another benefit of using templates is organization. Since you won't be sending your clients multiple emails requesting various pieces of information, everything you need should be in one place. This can save time too, since you won’t be stuck waiting around for outstanding information.
 
Integrate automation.
From marketing campaigns to administrative work, automating your recurring tasks allows you to save time and focus on your business. For example, you can use email management tools to automate your bi-weekly newsletter. You can use social media management tools to automate your daily social media posts. Your monthly online subscriptions can be integrated with your PayPal business account for automatic monthly payments.
 
If you're running your small business as a one-person shop, you'll get to a point where you can no longer afford to dedicate entire days to back-end office work. Integrating automated tools can be instrumental when growing your business and will allow you to spend your time on things like pitching new clients and product development.
 
Batch tasks.
Batching tasks means grouping similar to-do's and activities together, so that it’s easier to get everything done at once.
 
Business-related tasks that you can batch together might include updating product pages on your website, sending out follow-up emails to prospective clients, updating your database with new customer information, scheduling your social media posts for the week, reviewing income and expense reports, or responding to online messages.
 
It can also be helpful to batch certain activities on certain days. For example, Monday and Wednesday might be designated for servicing your existing clients; Tuesdays could be your “growth work" days, when you focus on drumming up new business working on product development. Thursdays could be administrative days, dedicated to documenting things like inventory, product sales, expenses, invoices, and weekly income reports. And Fridays could be your follow-up and customer service days.
 
Depending on your needs and the structure of your business, you may find it helpful to batch tasks by week, month, or even by quarter.
 
When your time is structured, you’re better able to avoid last-minute scrambling and having things fall through the cracks. A streamlined and organized workflow system can help you manage your time more efficiently and keep stress at bay.
 
Find the system that works for you.
Whether you’re the owner of an e-commerce store or a work-from-home freelance creative, creating systems for productivity could be the game-changer that shifts the way you run your business.
 
 
About PayPal for small businesses.
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The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.