Life is busy. Life is stressful.
Bad news: you can’t slow the passing of time…
…but you can use it more efficiently!
We have consolidated our popular social media series of 2020 into one post to help you squeeze that little bit more from your day.
Do you obsessively check your emails multiple times a day?
This can completely hijack your day and harm your productivity. Setting aside time each day for processing emails will give you more focussed time for important projects. Whilst we’re on the subject of emails – never check your emails last thing before bed! If there’s a problematic email that can’t be dealt with outside of ‘office hours’
Why do something multiple times when you can do it once?
Not only can the use of templates save you time, it also improves brand consistency and expedites internal approval processes (when working as part of a larger team).
How could (or do) you make use of templates in your business?
Is your marketing targeting the right people?
If not, you could be wasting time on leads that won’t ‘lead’ to ‘Client’ (and money in the bank).
Do you set deadlines?
Setting deadlines is a great way to stay focussed and motivated, even if a task does not actually have a hard deadline.
Block out time in your diary to work on important projects. Divert calls and establish an environment with no distractions.
How many times have you left a meeting wondering why it was even held in the first place?
Setting an objective or clearly defined purpose for your meetings (and considering imposing a time limit on the duration), will enable you to be much more productive and avoid time wastage.
In addition to having an objective for your meeting; a meeting that ends on a defined set of ‘next actions’ is a much more efficient use of time, avoiding back and forth on points that could (read: should!) have been decided on in the meeting.
Nothing will get the focus it deserves or needs.
When was the last time you took an entire day off? An entire weekend?
Sometimes it’s hard to switch off from work, as business owners we’re sure you’ve all been there, but you’ll get even fewer things done if you burn out!
So…what will you be doing this weekend?
How do you track your time?
Tracking your time will allow you to do 3 things to save you time and maximise your productivity:
Ask yourself a few questions when organising your to-do list:
Are you guilty of over-thinking? Do you second guess every decision?
You’ll be amazed how much this can hamper productivity, impact performance and waste time.
Disclaimer: we know this is not an easy one for many and are still guilty of it ourselves from time to time.
Not doing something will always be faster than doing it!
Most of us will say yes to many things we don’t actually want to, become overwhelmed by our never-ending to do lists and begrudge those obligations we agreed to. Saying no retains the most important asset in life – TIME!
Remember: Busyness does NOT equal productivity!
Habit formation is key to successfully managing your time.
Set up a system to help you keep on top of what is most important.
Start by considering what tasks give the most return on your time invested.
Don’t assume that just because your files are stored ‘on the cloud’ that they are backed up. A backup mitigates against a whole service going down, i.e. you shouldn’t trust Microsoft or Google (or Apple) not to have a mass failure and should therefore backup elsewhere either on another cloud storage provider or on your own drives.
Rule one of backups is, of course, to test them (before you need them!)
For a set and forget automated solution we would thoroughly recommend BackupVault.
It’s generally accepted that a cluttered space, whether physical or digital, can result in a cluttered mind, which can have a negative impact on productivity.
Further to this, time spent looking for something (that would have taken no time at all to locate if everything was well organised), is time you’ll never get back!
It may feel like a pipedream but shortening your work day will force you to become more efficient, so keep streamlining the work you carry out and it can become a reality!
Step 1: Recognise your distractions.
Step 2: Put in place a process to avoid or eliminate your distraction (& repeat this step for each distraction).
It takes time to form a habit, but you’ll be grateful you did.
Have you set your goals?
Do you know how you’re going to achieve them?
Set your yearly goals (or even longer term) and then work backwards. What do you need to do in the next month to get you closer to your goals? What do you need to do in the next week to get you there? What’s on the list for today that will move you towards those goals?
Make a plan, after all ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’.
Are you a morning bird? Or a night owl? (For the purposes of this exercise let’s ignore the ‘Permanently Exhausted Pigeon’ feelings!)
Does lunch regularly put you to sleep?
Knowing when you’re at your least productive can help you plan your day to use your time more efficiently, scheduling the most important tasks for you’re at your most productive.
Trying to hold so many thoughts your head at any one time has been proven to drain your energy.
Taking notes will also save you time in going back to clients with questions that have already been answered (but forgotten!)
Do you batch tasks?
Constantly switching between tasks can result in up to 25 minutes (each time) of lost focus and procrastination, over the course of just a week this quickly adds up to many lost hours. If you’d like to maximise productivity and create a more concentrated workflow, then ‘batching’ could be your answer.
Ask yourself every morning: what do I want to achieve before I finish for the day? What would give me a real feeling of achievement?
Then protect this at all costs, making a promise to yourself to get this done will really sharpen the mind and help to eliminate distractions.
Are there tasks that you find take you a lot longer than they should?
There are two ways you can improve on this – Upskill or Delegate.
You should carefully consider which the best option is for you. Is it worth spending time on learning? Do you need to be good at it? Or would delegating give you more time to spend on your strengths?
A picture is worth a thousand words, so use them wisely!
Tools such as Canva or Adobe Spark allow you to create social media imagery within minutes to help you capture people’s attention and draw them into your post.
‘If the first thing you do in the morning is eat a frog, the day can only get better from then on.’
Procrastination is a huge time waster, and we all procrastinate more over a task we don’t want to do, surprise yourself with how much time you gain by getting that worst task out the way first. So, go on, ‘eat that frog’ (they taste like chicken anyway, so you may be pleasantly surprised!)
We all have busy lives.
How many email inboxes do you access on a daily basis? Cutting down on clutter in your inbox will invariably save you time. If you haven’t read that email you’re subscribed to within the last 3 months are you ever going to? Consider hitting unsubscribe to save your sanity. If that’s not something you feel comfortable doing, you could instead set up a ‘spam’ email address to use whenever you subscribe to something new, this help to keep your main inbox clear for the important ‘stuff’; emails from your clients, your suppliers and your team.
As small business owners we are notorious for burning the candle at both ends, cutting out sleep to get more done, but this is actually counter-productive. While one or two sleep deprived nights won’t kill you, they will probably hamper your productivity the next day (and even the day after).
By getting more sleep, you really can get more done in less time.
How long does it take you to recall your Online Banking credentials, log on and then hunt out the details of the person your need to pay? Too long?
Setting up your payments on autopilot can save you so much time. For peace of mind you can simply review payments made, once or twice a month, rather than spending time logging in (almost) daily! You can also save repeat customers time by setting up an automated direct debit with a system such as GoCardless (which can in turn save your time chasing late payments, what’s not to like?!)
How do you eat an elephant?
…One bite at a time!
A big project can be overwhelming, especially when working to tight deadlines. Start with the big picture, get everything out of your head, then make a prioritised list of smaller tasks which lead to the completion of the big project, assigning each task a specific chunk of time. If you can complete a single task, you can complete a big project (and without time wasted).
Your time is precious. Don’t waste it hunting for your car keys, wallet, or…(face mask!)
How do you spend your time? How do you want to spend your time? Is there a big difference between the two? Work smarter, not harder; implement just a few of these time saving tips today, watch your productivity go through the roof and gain time to do those things you enjoy.
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