If you are like most small business owners, you wear multiple hats in your professional and personal life. These ‘wardrobe changes’ often mean that there is just never enough time to check the items off your to-do list that are not urgent, but are still crucial to the success of your business.
One productivity technique known as the “Power Hour” can help you work through those items that have been on the back burner for the past several weeks or even months.
What Is Power Hour?
The Power Hour concept was created by bestselling author, Gretchen Rubin, who explains that “once a week, for one hour”, you should work steadily on the nagging chores that you can’t seem to find the time to tackle. The biggest pain-point is probably different for each business leader, but the rewards are essentially the same. By tackling problems rather than avoiding them, productivity increases and time management improves.
For business owners — to use the Power Hour, you’ll need to designate one hour on a specific day of each week to tackle a nagging item on your business to-do list. Fortunately, setting up the Power Hour is simple and does not require a lot of time or a huge financial investment to get started.
How Do You Set Up for Power Hour?
Your first step in the Power Hour set up process is creating a plan. When you spend the first hour identifying an area, or areas, that need your attention, and creating a plan that details how you will approach each task positions you for better outcomes.
In fact, preparing yourself for a productive Power Hour is mission critical. You’ll need office supplies or access to digital tools if you prefer that route.
The list of supplies may differ depending on what projects you plan to focus on, but in general you’ll need:
- Paper – notebooks, post-it notes, etc.
- Organizing tools such as file folders, labels, brads, binders, and digital solutions like backup discs and thumb drives
- Writing instruments – pens, markers, highlighters, and pencils
- Reference materials – books, web addresses, company records/files, magazines, and other resources
If your designated task includes reaching out to existing clients or making cold calls, keep your phone handy. Otherwise, silence the ringer and vibration alerts on your cell and forward your landline to voice mail or the answering service.
Finally, top off the water bottle or coffee mug. You could add a snack, but this is only for an hour. Snacking may distract you from the mission. It’s your call. However, remember, your goal is remaining hyper-focused for sixty minutes on a task that will save you time and money in the long-run. Do you really need those chocolate mints, pretzels, or crunchy veggies to power through?
Tips to Make the Most Out of Power Hour
Setting up for Power Hour naturally includes prioritizing projects. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners are so focused on product development and sales activities they fail to manage the financial aspects of their business. Dedicating the Power Hour to improving financial literacy – or even creating a monthly bookkeeping checklist – would be an excellent starting point for anyone who needs to improve cash flow or generate new revenue streams.
Others prioritize organizing the office or building better relationships with stakeholders. Below are six common Power Hour targets.
Look around at your physical surroundings to see what is out of place. Are there documents that need to be shredded, mail that needs to be sorted or items that need to be donated?
Conquer digital clutter by removing files or APPS that you no longer need on your computer or mobile device. Back-up electronic files and organize emails into folders so you can access them easily in the future.
Encourage your employees to get their desks in order as well — less clutter and more focus will help improve business-wide productivity.
Reach out to your customers in a meaningful way. This could take the form of sending or responding to emails, phone calls or social media messages. You could also use this time as a brainstorming session to come up with ideas for a customer service campaign for your organization.
Don’t underestimate the power of connecting with other entrepreneurs. Designate a specific day of the month to reach out to your contacts and meet with them in person if possible.
Networking can not only help grow your referral business but can also provide a mentorship opportunity to help you improve as a small business leader.
Improving your Brand
When was the last time you reviewed your brand messaging — self-critiquing your logo, tagline and other marketing materials? You could also use your Power Hour to post to social media, update your website or blog or order promotional materials for your business.
You may need to take courses to upgrade your certifications and ensure that you continue to provide expert service or advice to your customers.
You can also use your Power Hour to read blog posts or listen to podcast episodes that can give you the exact information you need to succeed in your business.
For most business owners, bookkeeping is a necessary evil. But, it is an essential activity you must master. Whether your solution is creating a monthly bookkeeping checklist or finding a reputable outsourcing partner, make this project a priority early in your Power Hour schedule.
To leverage the Power Hour benefits, follow these five steps.
1 – Make a plan, prioritizing projects
2 – Gather supplies and resources
3 – Establish a comfortable working space without distractions
4 – Commit to a six-week trial period, then evaluate your progress
5 – Adjust your plan as needed
Do you need an accounting partner to help with your monthly bookkeeping tasks? RBQ can help with that, so you can use your weekly Power Hour to focus on other areas of your business!