Time Management Tips for an Insanely Productive Business
Being busy in business is not the same as being productive.
Can you relate? Do you feel like you’re doing all the right things, but you’re just spinning your wheels? Well, consider this…
Time management is critical to the productivity of your business.
Not doing more. But managing better. So what can you do to make the most of your days and grow the business you want?
I love sharing all the things I learn while building this savvy design business. Everything I learn I owe it from other people whom I learned from. I hope by following me online I will be able to create the same impact others did with their free resources.
Time management tips for an insanely productive business.
Do begin each day the night before.
Position yourself for a successful day by making a list of your tasks before you go to bed each night. Then, when you get up, you won’t waste time trying to remember what you need to do.
You can also make a big difference to the start of your day by making small changes to your evening routine. Maybe you can set the coffee maker on a timer. Put out your breakfast on the counter or in the fridge. Clear your desk and get out just the things you’ll need that day. Or even choose your outfit so you have one less decision to make when you get up.
Small habits create massive success!
Do plan ahead.
Plan not only for each day, but for each project.
It’s like pulling out a recipe for cookies. If you don’t get out all your ingredients first, what happens? You get halfway through your oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and discover you don’t have oatmeal… And you waste time going to the store before you get to eat a gooey, fresh cookie!
So if you need specific books, supplies, or resources to complete a project, have them on hand before you begin. Do you need to interview an expert? Have your client fill out a questionnaire? Purchase a new program? Having all these details ironed out and at your fingertips will cut huge amounts of wasted time from your schedule!
Do “Eat That Frog!”
If you haven’t already heard this phrase, let me explain.
Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
In the modern business world, Brian Tracy has written a book called, “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.” In it, he claims, “The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning.”
What is your biggest, toughest, maybe scariest, job for the day? Start there! Eat the biggest frog first. Everything else will feel like smooth sailing after that!
Do use a timer.
Set a timer for thirty to sixty minutes and put your head down. It’s go-time! If you know you only need to focus for a specific amount of time, how much work do you think you can power through? Choose a few tasks that just need to happen and go for it.
If you don’t have a timer, go to your local dollar store and pick up a good, old-fashioned egg timer. Don’t use your phone! Why not? Because it’s too easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of notifications, emails, and funny cat videos!
So put away your distractions, set that timer, and GO! Marie Forleo calls this, “Hustle Time,” and it’s a great way to knock down your to-do pile.
Do leave white space in your schedule.
Do you pack your calendar full, trying to maximize every waking minute? Oddly enough, this won’t make you more productive! Remember that you’re human, in a world full of humans. Leaving a buffer is essential!
What kind of things tend to push the boundaries of your timetable? Meetings might run long, or traffic may be heavier than usual. Are you working at home with family around? Remember to leave white space so when other responsibilities creep in, you don’t crumble under the pressure of your own deadlines.
Take a breath. Leave room for your life amid your growing business. After all, isn’t that why you started your business in the first place?
Do know your own personality.
We are all different. Now might be a good time to take inventory of your own personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses. When are you the most focused? Where do you physically work the most efficiently? If early mornings at your local coffee shop are your most productive hours, put those hours in your schedule and make it happen.
Don’t multitask (too much).
Multitasking might seem like a great way to get a lot of things done. The truth is it just isn’t! What happens when you try to do two things at once? If you’re like most people, you’ll bounce from one task to the next, and wind up not doing anything to the level you’d hoped for.
It’s an unfortunate reality!
Instead, batch your work. You might take two hours to plan and schedule your social media for the month. Or write a series of emails in one sitting. Not only will you accomplish more, but your work will have a clearer focus. Win-win!
Don’t respond to messages reactively.
A couple of months ago we talked about work/life balance (READ OUR OCTOBER BLOG) and setting boundaries for ourselves and our clients. Part of managing your time well means not checking your messages in real-time. Dividing your attention between work and responding to every notification as it happens will be a productivity killer!
A better idea is to set aside one or two times a day to read and reply to your messages. Look at your schedule and the needs of your business and schedule it in.
Don’t set unrealistic deadlines.
My final point for healthy time management is a reminder: don’t set yourself up for disaster with deadlines that will crush you. Remember to leave white space in your day, and know your own limitations. Celebrate your own small wins and you will find yourself continuing to reach new levels of success in your business.