It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals. At the end of the day, you need to be able to get things done. And, there is so much to get done!
The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it. But unless you’re strategic about your processes, you’re probably working harder than you have to.
The answer? Embrace these five productivity hacks to get more done in less time:
1. Create productive habits.
Running your own business can feel like chaos at times. Habits are a way of building in some regularity to your work, making sure that the critical tasks are getting done daily, and taking the thinking out of some of the operations.
Trust me, you’re already using habits as productivity boosters without realizing it. For example, you probably have a morning ritual that might look something like: wake up, brush your teeth, get the kids off to school, shower, and so forth. You don’t stop and think about these tasks, you just get them done on autopilot. And, you rarely forget to do them. (You probably notice when you forget to brush your teeth!)
Take a look at the tasks that you need to do more or less daily and block them for the same time every day. Then, look at how you can do them more efficiently. Shave a little time off these daily tasks and you are saving big time over the long haul.
And while we are talking about habits…there are some bad ones too. You know what I am talking about! Distractions like social media, news, or personal calls can create a major time-suck as well as disrupt your flow. Identify your distractors and get rid of them or block a time for regular breaks, and stick to it.
2. Stop overbooking.
Not only can it erode relationships with your clients, vendors, or customers, overbooking is a big time waster. You will end up losing time rescheduling, shuffling your schedule to accommodate the new meeting, and of course, making that apology for missing your meeting in the first place.
You have to learn to say no. You can’t be all things to all people. You’re a super woman, but you’re not Superwoman!
Book some leeway into your schedule to account for things like traffic, an unexpected phone call, or a client meeting that goes long. It may seem like a waste of time, but you can easily fill it with quick, time flexible tasks like checking email or posting a promotion on social media.
3. Work hard, play harder.
You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time. We get it! You’re a go-getter. But everyone has limits.
Take a day off. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work.
Not only will you return to the office feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll find yourself more creative and productive than before as well.
4. Your time is valuable.
When you envisioned starting your own business, you probably had an idea about the kind of money you want to make or the lifestyle you want to lead. Even if money wasn’t your number one objective, your financial stability is either part of your business model, or you won’t have a business for long.
So pick a number that works for you and calculate an hourly wage as a rough target for what you need to make per hour in order to be on track with your personal earning goals.
Now, take a look at the tasks you are doing that are part of the day to day operations of your biz. Can you outsource or pay an employee to do it for less? Then what are you waiting for? Here’s more on how to hire a great team.
Being efficient isn’t just about doing it faster. Sometimes it’s about not doing it at all!
5. Repurpose content.
If your business includes generating content (webinars, blogs, promotional materials) and you are reinventing the wheel every time you need to get something out there, you are really making things harder on yourself than you have to.
It’s called good branding practice. Identify the elements that are most central to your brand and get comfortable with the fact that sometimes new content is really just old content with a delightful new twist or angle.
Completely original and new ideas are hard to come by. Take a little pressure off yourself and realize that every time you have a new audience it’s is okay to spin some old material in new directions.
Time CAN be on your side.
Managing your time and turning up your productivity is not something that comes naturally to most people but when you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.