Hey! I'm back!
It's been a minute! Can I tell you May was "hectic, hectic." *in my Cardi B voice* I was happily busy working on one of my first big consulting projects and closing out with a leadership coaching client. Good times, good times.
But, if I'm honest, I didn't really have structured plan for the new reality I was entering. I wasn't prepared for the shift in my workload. Poor planning. I overestimated my ability to juggle everything. Thankfully, I had my project management and administrative skills to fall back on.
As you might have noticed, I cut back on social media. Something just had to give. It surely wasn't going to be my client. But, I'm coming back. I've made some changes in my business (read some of them below). During the month as I was working with my client, I realized some things about how I work. So, I made adjustments and some much-needed investments in my business. Let me tell you, few business owners can say they're truly using their time effectively, despite how precious it is. Responsibilities pile on when you need them least, distractions find their way in, and sometimes finding the right direction for that productivity isn’t easy. However, tech has really changed the way I use my time. Integrating tech systems really made a huge difference for me and how I do my work. Keeping reading to find out what I believe are the best ways to get more time out of your day.
Plan the day ahead
If you want to be productive, know exactly how you’re going to spend your time. Prioritize your tasks for the day at the very beginning and use time management apps to slot in different times for different tasks. By batching similar tasks together (such as more than one job using Excel spreadsheet tools), you can make yourself more productive by not interrupting your “groove” with different workflow types.
Another big time hack for me has been meal prep. I'm going to be honest, I don't really like planning meals too far in advance. Simply, because I want to eat what I want to eat when I have a taste for it. I'm a New Yorker, I'm spoiled by the plethora of fantastic culinary options. I do prep food when I buy it from the grocery store, but meals seemed like such a huge commitment I wasn't ready to make. However, in my quest to live a more healthy lifestyle, I've found the meal prep is really the secret to staying focused, sticking to a plan, and just overall healthy lifestyle success. Blue Apron has been a lifesaver. They take a lot of the stress away. I order the meals (that's good, btw) in advance, so I can plan what to eat when, and they do the hard work of prepping it. I just have to cook it. But, if you cook often, you know the hardest and most time-consuming part is the grocery shopping and prep time. What initially convinced me to try them was the $50 off they gave me! Haven't looked back and saved a whole lot of time in the evenings!
Find the right tools for any process
Of course, if you don’t have the right software for a specific job, you can waste a lot of time trying to find the right solution, and what you find often isn't the best solution because you choose it out of desperation. Now, don't get me wrong, there’s software out there for just about anything your business needs and you can also save the time it would take you to find it by making use of IT solutions. There are experts out there who have helped hundreds of businesses just like yours. Welcome them to your team.
Automate and streamline
Now, this is a big one for me. I highly recommend automating what you can, so you spend less of your own time on a particular task. There’s a lot of busywork you can automate. You can even streamline how certain apps work together with workflow automation software. These handy apps can do things like move attachments from emails directly to online storage or turn customer feedback into data that immediately goes into your customer relationship management software. There’s a lot to be done, and you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Speaking of online storage, there is no way to better save time than to cut unnecessary communication. If you still have to ask your colleagues for access to this resource or that file, you’re doing it wrong. Start using Cloud storage solutions that allow you to upload and organize all the shared resources in your business. If you need something, all you have to do is go online and get it.
Use a helping hand
Sometimes, you simply don’t have enough hands in the business. Rather than hiring someone and dealing with all the training and costs that would take, consider whether your needs are just short-term and immediate. If they are, a virtual assistant can help you handle some of your less urgent but equally important admin work so you can better redistribute your own time.
Listen, I was trying my best to do everything on my own. Partially, because I'm stubborn, but the main problem was I kept saying I couldn't afford it. That was a lie. I couldn't afford *not* to hire help. Since I've hired VAs, I've seen not just my productivity, but capacity to handle profit-generating business grow.
When talking about making the best use of time, don’t forget that breaks are important, too. If you keep burning the midnight oil, you will burn yourself out, too. Know when to give yourself a break and schedule it in so you don’t end up taking an unexpected, extended one when the stress piles on.
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