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When I speak with business owners, many of them struggle to find time in the day to get everything done. That leaves them hustling in the evening’s and on the weekends too. All that hustling may seem like a great idea in the short term, however, in the long term leads to burnout. When running a business or working as an entrepreneur you need to take time for yourself, and your loved ones too. Here are 5 tips you can implement today that will drastically improve your productivity, freeing up time in your day!
Time blocking is an effective tool you can use to help manage your time. It comes down to breaking your tasks down and effectively estimating the time needed to complete them. When I time block I use a physical planner and write down my tasks for each day. From there, I schedule a specific time of the day to work on each task and during that time I commit fully to working only on that 1 item. When you have a to-do list a mile long, breaking it down to individual tasks makes it less overwhelming to tackle.
Here’s an example:
Monday’s To Do List:
- Draft social media posts
- Take photos of products/store
- Write a new blog for the website
- Follow up with leads from last week
After you’ve written down your tasks prioritize them, and plan to complete the ones that require the most focus during peak times of your day. If you’re clear-headed and focused first thing in the morning, work on those tasks first. If your peak time is mid-afternoon, that’s the best time for those tasks.
For me, this is what my day would look like based on the schedule above:
- 9:00-10:00 am: Follow up with leads from last week. Send emails, and make phone calls. Add notes about contact to CRM system
- 10:00-11:00 am: Take photos of new products and displays in the store. Upload to my computer, and save in an organized filing system.
- 11:00-12:00: Lunch
- 12:00-1:00: Write a new blog for the website. Showcase new products from the photos taken earlier. Make any edits to the photos needed. Post blog to website or schedule to post when needed.
- 1:00-3:00: Create social media posts and schedule them for 1 month. Ensure accurate hashtags are used. Use more graphics/videos than text posts for maximum exposure.
- 3:00: Done for the day
Plan 1 Week at a Time
If you have multiple moving parts to your business, have multiple businesses or work with multiple clients this can really help you. Sitting down and scheduling your week out at the end of the previous week can help you stay more productive too. When we are working and chatting with clients it can be easy to always want to say yes to helping everyone. The reality is, that your schedule may not allow for that without sacrificing hours outside of your business hours.
Every Friday, commit to scheduling your next week out on paper or in your project management system. Being able to physically see what’s coming up, and the deadlines for tasks will help you to know how much time you have available in your schedule for new projects. If you’re booked solid one week and have a potential client reach out for assistance, you can always schedule them in for the next week when you know you have more time. Being able to schedule clients in advance also helps to keep recurring revenue coming into your business-something we all need and enjoy!
This one is a tough one for all of us in our own ways. Cutting distractions when working on your task list is necessary to be productive. Here are a few ways to cut the distractions down:
- Check emails at certain times of the day. Email is one of the biggest distractions we face, so commit to avoiding your account during your time blocks for tasks
- Turn your phone on silent. The constant ping of social media notifications is another huge distraction every day. No funny cat or kid video on FB or IG needs to be tended to immediately!
- For those that work from home with kids, this one is really tough for you. Try and complete the tasks that require the most focus and attention from you during nap times.
- We all have days where we’d rather binge watch our favourite series on Netflix or Amazon Prime, but don’t give in! Working from the couch with background noise is counteractive.
Use the Right Tools
Using the right tools can make all the difference in your day. If you don’t have a project management software up and running for your business, it’s crucial that you have one. Trello is one of my favourite tools to handle projects on my computer. For some, it may seem redundant to have both paper and online copies of your projects and tasks, however, I find tracking upcoming projects online easier to keep information about them for reference. Having your information organized online is also beneficial when the time comes to outsource. Most experienced virtual assistants or other business support staff, have experience with many online tools and will be able to jump in and find what they need to successfully complete their tasks.
This brings me to my next point-outsourcing. Many business owners avoid outsourcing because they don’t want the output cost. Think about this-what is your time worth? In a perfect world, what would you make per hour to run your business? Is it $50? Is it $100? Whatever the number is, take that number and multiply it by the number of hours you spend working on tasks that could be passed off to someone else. You may be shocked to see how much output cost you are putting out based on this calculation. VA’s are an affordable solution to outsourcing and one that you can trust! You only pay for the time you need, are not obligated to pay taxes or offer extra benefits and you will save money long term in your business. Think about how far your business could go if you were spending those hours working on growth instead of in your business!
Productivity should always be a goal when you’re a business owner or entrepreneur. No one escapes the 9-5 to feel like they work more now than then. If you’re struggling to get the productivity of your business on track- let’s chat! I’d love to help you!