There were 5.7 million small businesses registered at the start of 2018 in the UK. A staggering 99.3 percent of them were private sector businesses. It’s an ambitious landscape, and to get ahead, it requires savvy entrepreneurs.

As a small business owner, you probably follow the journey of your competitors very closely. You see their successes and want to know their deepest, darkest secrets. Are they geniuses? Are they gifted? Probably not. It’s more likely that they have established a few key habits that allow them to work smarter, not harder.

Here are five ways to work smarter.

1. Employ people that do certain jobs better than you

One of the hardest things to do when you’ve built a company yourself is to let go of certain jobs. But it’s easy to hire the right people and delegate tasks.

You want to be surrounded by the best so that the entire company can develop together. Having talented colleagues that you have complete trust in will give you the time to focus on the right things, like building strategy, discovering creative ideas and reaching your business goals.

2. Stop multitasking

The perfect multitasker is the mythical unicorn of the office world. It may be tempting to pile everything on one plate and sometimes, you might even pull it off.

In reality, however, you’ll likely spend your time switching back and forth between tasks. This is not a sustainable strategy. It’s more important to focus on delegation, motivation and avoiding distractions, not on doing multiple things at once.

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3. Build processes that everyone can follow

It can be daunting. It’s often something that is not prioritised and can easily gather dust if it hasn’t been dealt with head on.

No, it’s not the stationary audit, it’s building a communication and task management process that allows everyone to be clear on their to-do’s, ask questions and increase productivity.

There are plenty of tools out there to help. Spending the time on establishing an effective process will encourage collaboration and put a stop to that ‘lost email’.

4. Look after your greatest resource

That’s you. Ignoring your own health and wellbeing will put you onto the quickest route to burnout. It also sets a bad example to staff.

There is an obsession with the hustle. Working smarter also means working on yourself, too. Step away from the computer at regular intervals. Don’t overdo the caffeine. Prioritise sleep. Exercise and eat well.

A healthy body and mind will bring healthy decisions, new ideas and a happy culture to work.

5. Turn off the internet

Every so often. Multiple tabs open in our browsers can translate to multiple tabs open in our heads. Random pings coming from various devices is not conducive to encouraging a state of flow. This is particularly true if your role involves coming up with new strategies and ideas and you’re feeling time poor.

When you set yourself a deadline, switch everything off and go back to basics. It’s easy to feel pulled in different directions and that you need to be available at all times. So, set boundaries and let your ultra-talented colleagues handle everything while you focus on the task at hand.

Remember: Smart work makes for happy work.

Download the human resources cheat sheet here