How To Manage Time And Productivity In Business
How To Manage Time And Productivity In Business
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I got a question from Shauna. She says, “I watch your videos on YouTube and follow along “all of your different social media channels.” Thank you. “I was wondering if you have any advice for a new business?” Yes, I do. “I recently became self-employed but I’m struggling with time management and confidence to put myself out there to gain new clients. Could you advise on how you manage these issues? I would really appreciate any advice at all. Hoping to hear from you soon, Shauna.”
So first of all, congratulations on becoming self-employed. Being a business owner, an entrepreneur can be hard work but it is so worth it. I so appreciate the freedom and flexibility that I have been able to work for myself, create my own opportunities and my own income. One of the things that were such a struggle with working for someone else or being a 9-5 is you needed permission to take a day off, or needed permission to go on vacation. You get to live by your own rules now so I’m so excited for you that you have that.
First, let’s dive into the first part of your question which was about time management which is something I learn more about all the time; about the best strategies and tips and tricks to being productive. So one of the biggest things that I would recommend is that schedule my day the night before. And if I don’t do this what I do is I get to my desk in the morning and I’ll check my emails and I forgot that I have to do and I end up puttering around my to-do list instead of doing the valuable things that I should be doing first in the day. And I also want you to think about what are the tasks that are valuable to you. What are the tasks that are generating revenue for your business? Or do you have these kinds of admin tasks or tasks that a virtual assistant or some other person on your team could be doing so that you can be doing the things that are actually moving your business forward?
When I’m scheduling my day the night before I have my three most essential tasks that I need to get done for the week and I look at what are the things that I need to do each day to get that done, to complete my goal for the week. So I schedule my day according to the revenue generating tasks. What’s most valuable for my time. But I also schedule in my breaks. So I’ll schedule when I’m having lunch, when I’m going to the gym, because I want to treat those like non-negotiable meetings because if I don’t schedule them they might not happen. So I make sure that I put that in my day too. I actually block it out by time, that I actually say at 9:00 I check emails, at 10:00 I work on this project, at 11:00 I work on the next project.
Another thing I try to do is I don’t want to have that context switching between my tasks. That can actually lose you a lot of time, the transition between something to something else. So if you’re working on a report and you need to work on your website, just the switching from writing and creating the report to then moving over to your website, you lose focus. You might forget about what you were doing here, there’s distractions, so I actually try to get as much from one project done in one sitting so that I can get it all done and still be in that same mindset and focus on the first project I was working on.
I also have to become really strong in my boundaries because as a business owner you can work from anywhere which means that I can work from home, I can work from the beach which is a lot of fun. But I have friends and family who think that because I work from home I’m available all the time. so I get phone calls or people drop by or say hey do you want to go for lunch and yes, because being an entrepreneur I have that ability and freedom to say yes and go to lunch in the middle of the day and take a midday break. But sometimes that’s not actually what’s best for me and my business so I have to have boundaries around these are my working hours and these are the times that I’m going to take a break. That said, give yourself that treat of going for a midday lunch with a friend or going shopping because also being a entrepreneur you’re likely to work more than a regular 9-5 because this is your business and the growth of the business and your income depends on you. So you’re likely to work more hours than you would in a 9-5 so be sure that you are giving yourself the R&R that you need.
And if you haven’t heard of it already check out the Pomodoro Technique. There’s a book on it there’s also an app. What this is, is that you work in these sprints. So you have 25 minutes that you work and you’re focused on a task. You can have the app that counts 25 minutes for you or you can just have a regular alarm clock timer that you work focused on this one thing for 25 minutes. Because if you can focus on one thing for 25 minutes you can get a lot done. and as you see that countdown timer beside you if you get that urge to be distracted you see the timer and think, I have four more minutes I can get through this, and then when the timer goes off you get a five-minute break and you move onto Pomodoro two. So you have Pomodoro one, two, three, four, five. You get five of these 25-minute sprints that you work on and then from there you get a 25-minute break. What that does is it encourages you to keep working, to keep being focused on a certain project with these five minute little breaks in between that’s good for you to refresh, relax. Don’t work on something else in that time, actually, take a break. So whether you want to read a book or get up and grab a snack or take a little walk. it’s something for you to refresh and then come back to work ready to go for another 25 minutes. It makes me so focused and efficient so it’s something you should try.
So let’s talk about confidence. This is something that definitely takes practice over time. If I feel myself going into a place of insecurity the first thing I do is try to acknowledge where that’s coming from. Am I insecure about a lack of skills? Or knowledge, or time? And from there, my remedy for that is often to take action on it. So even if it is something that’s kind of scaring you and making you feel like you want to procrastinate because it’s putting you out of your comfort zone, the best thing that you can do is take action. Whether it’s baby steps, small steps, having someone hold your hand through it, taking that action will move you towards what you need to do. Whether it’s getting better at that or push yourself to finish a project. If I’m feeling insecure about something I often recognize it as me needing to take action to improve my skills or to get down to what I was procrastinating on likely because of fear or stepping out of my comfort zone.
Another thing with clients, although I always want to appear confident the truth is I’m not an expert in everything. I want to give you a real-life example of something a client asked me for. My client asked me if I knew very much about Huffington Post and how to get her article promoted on there, and in the top spots on Huffington Post. Instead of coming right out and saying, I don’t know I’ve never worked on it before, I said, I’m not sure at the time but if you give me till Monday I can know it like the back of my hand. I showed them that confidence that I’m a go-getter, that I’m willing to learn. Or the other route that I could have taken is that I’m not an expert in that but I know someone that is, and connect that person. Because we want to work together, we want to build our team and have someone from my team that is an expert collaborate with us on the project so we can provide that value for our client. And then the client’s happy because we didn’t just say, I don’t know. You’ve provided another route that you can go, whether you learned it yourself or whether you find the right person to support you.
Another thing that I’d suggest to you is if you start to feel insecure about getting out and going after clients, I’d ask you to go back and remember your why. Why did you get into this business? Why do you want to do this? What is it providing for you? This is an exercise from Simon Sinek. He has great books and speeches. You can look it up on YouTube to find it. Knowing your why will support you and give you back that confidence for why are you doing this? Why does this fire you up? What makes you so passionate about this? And remember that you’re providing a service for people making their lives better. If you don’t reach out to them you may be doing them a disservice because they need people like you to support them. So when you feel that insecurity about going out and taking that opportunity remember that you have a lot of skills to bring to the world, and people are just waiting for you to reach out.
If you’re still thinking about what’s your why, that’s completely okay. Sometimes it takes some time to figure that out. It’s fine if your why is that you want to make lots of money or if your why is that you want to support your kids or your family. That’s often a lot of people’s why. If you don’t know what your why is and you want some support in that I would suggest reading books, finding a mentor or finding a support group. There’s a lot of communities of entrepreneurs. A lot of free Facebook groups where you can go in and find people who are likely in the same position as you in your business.
I hope all that advice was helpful for you. Of course, feel free to suggest any other content that I can provide for you.
If you have any other Q and A, other questions that I can answer for you, you can submit your question here.