Are you really busy? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
I came across an article in the Huffington Post on how being busy is actually good for your brain. After reading it, I just so happen to come across another article – again by the Huffington Post – on how being busy makes you unproductive. We can’t win, can we?
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss
Time is precious and when you are a busy entrepreneur or small business owner you know this more than most. Running your own business is hard work and long hours and it is especially hard when you are a mom, taxi driver, maid, cook, wife, caregiver, the list goes on and on! When you do have the time to focus on your business it can sometimes be hard to be productive. And it isn’t something that can just happen overnight, it is almost a lifestyle change. So, hopefully, we are going to make it that much easier with a few simple steps.
If your office is clean and organized you will spend less time looking for things. Make sure everything has a place. If it is to be filed – file it. If it is to be mailed –mail it, and so on. Don’t get too personal and keep no more than three personal items on your desk. I suggest that you also limit the supplies on your desk to only those you will use daily and ensure your phone is flipped upside down so you don’t see the light go off when you get a notification. Finally maintain an empty paper-sized space on your dominant side to make reviewing, signing and organizing papers easier.
Start with creating a routine, schedule your daily tasks on the same day at the same time. Sticking to that routine will require you to schedule all appointments and meetings around it, making it easier to accomplish those pesky little things that always got tabled.
Prioritize your time and then put it on your calendar. Book time for things like check email only at specific times a day, coffee breaks, update social media accounts, go for a run, eat lunch (you know you work through your lunch, don’t deny it!) and even family time! I know it sounds sad to have to schedule family time, but if you don’t you might just work away your evening and miss out on some great things.
Trust me, as an entrepreneur, I would eat dinner and head right back to the office to get something done. My super supportive husband would take care of dishes, kids, etc… This needed to stop, and so it has.
When in the office, do not get caught up the check off my to-do list vortex! Yes, you probably have a lot of things that need to get done, but break it down to that one thing. Focus on the single task that will move your day forward. Look at your to-do list, then cut it in half with the highest priority items. Take that second list and cut it in half with the highest priority items. Keep doing this until you come down to that one item on the list that needs to be worked on now. Then, get it done.
Don’t be afraid to have others do some of the work for you! If your spouse was heading out you would have no problem asking them to pick up milk on the way home, right? You can do the same for your business. Why not ask your spouse to deliver a package to the post office, or pick you up some highlighters while they are out and about? Hire a virtual assistant to create your social media graphics, put together the monthly schedule and newsletters, and other administrative tasks such as data entry and bookkeeping.
If you are able to step back and have as much of your workload automated, that is going to increase your productivity, a lot. If you don’t have the option to delegate some of the more time-consuming tasks, then consider automating as much as possible. Consider looking into automating things such as your social media posts, client invoicing, client booking, and more. You can set up a FAQpage to answer common questions for your customers, this way you are not spending a lot of time responding to emails. Or an “If this, then that’ page on your website. Email list automation, bookkeeping… I could go on. So look at your current workflow and ask, what can you spend the time to set up an automated system for that will save you a lot more time in the long run?
We touched on setting up your schedule and in that schedule breaks need to be included. These breaks need to actually need to be a small break from work. Not just a couple of minutes to grab another cup of coffee and click through facebook. Schedule breaks for you to recharge, so you can be all the more productive when you return back to “work mode”.
Go for a short walk, meditate, do a bit of yoga, read a trashy novel, do something to calm your body and your mind. As long as you are timing your breaks, you will be able to get back to work and tackle your day.
Just remember that they are not so short that as soon as you start to feel the purpose of the break it is time to get back to it or that they are so long you just lose your motivation for the day. Your breaks need to be purposeful and meaningful.
There you have it! Declutter your office then look at your daily routine and create a schedule that works for you and your family. Look at your workflow and systems, what can be delegated and what can be automated?
Finally, take care of yourself. Those breaks are important for your productivity and your mindset! Why not pop into the Facebook Network and let us know any other productivity tips you may have!