How to work smarter

Sian Winfield gives us her tips on getting the best out of yourself – and your business  

As founder and director of startup support company Co Startup & Go, Sian Winfield works closely with businesses to help them realise their potential. ​

Make plans  

You need to have a plan to maintain momentum; put a clear strategy in place and set monthly business meetings with yourself to check on progress, as well as six-monthly reviews. This way, you’ll see if you’re on track and understand what you need to change or improve to get to where you want to be.  

Spend your energy wisely  

When you’re a fledgling business, there’s so much to do that it’s easy to get stuck. Break down the necessary weekly tasks and order them so you have the most important ones at the top – this could include things like business development, social media, finances and pitching. Having a priority list is a neat way to make sure you’re not dedicating too much time to less essential areas. 

Book time with yourself  

Diaries are not just for meetings, and leaving slots empty can often mean that other people fill them up for you. Book time into your own diary to focus on the areas where you can add most value. Need to bring in new business? Block out a weekly slot. Need to get social media up and running? Put in a daily reminder. You can add colours for different subjects to create a quick visual reference of how your week's looking and what you’ve completed.  

Divide and conquer 

Different activities often need different mindsets, and gearing up or down between them can mean you waste time. Try dividing your week into task blocks, so one day could be about external meetings, another for creative tasks and another for admin. Wearing many hats can be difficult, however, wearing the same hat all day can lead to stronger focus, better productivity and improved bigger-picture thinking.   

Know your rhythm  

Some of us are night owls, some early birds. The wonderful thing about starting out on your own is that you don’t need to work office hours but can tune into your own rhythm. Truly productive people are the ones who know how to perform at their peak – how much sleep they need, how to eat well and their ideal exercise routine. What do you need to do to be the best version of yourself?  

Just do it  

It's the people who deliver and get stuff done who succeed. Consistency is the best way to maintain momentum, rather than going through periods of extreme output and then slumping. Have your lists and clear objectives for the week and then make sure you take time on a Friday to assess how you’ve done. Do this every single week, no matter how busy you are, and take a sense of achievement from this. The more you get done, the more motivated you are to do it again next week.  

Sian Winfield is founder and director of startup support company Co Startup & Go 

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