As a busy business owner, you may often feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself falling behind and constantly wishing you could get all caught up…just for ONCE!
If you’re looking for simple ways to organize your time so you’re more efficient, effective and productive, keep reading. Following are 20 tips for getting MORE done in LESS time!
1. Set a timer when completing tasks
Have you ever noticed that when you have unlimited time to complete a task, you end up spending way more time on it than you need to? It’s human nature to use up the time you have for a task…but you can actually use this tendency to save time. Set a timer when completing tasks like responding to emails, writing, or working on projects. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done in a short amount of time when the pressure is on!
2. Use a to do list
Use a to do app like Todoist to organize and access your tasks anywhere, anytime
You may have seen articles out there lately talking about why to do lists don’t work. However, I’d argue that this is only when you don’t do your lists the right way! When creating your to do list, keep the following guidelines in mind: keep them simple and specific, review them daily, put everything on your list, and set reminders for your time-sensitive tasks. These tips will ensure your to do lists keep you productive, while also giving you more personal and professional freedom.
3. Schedule a designated time for checking email
You’ve probably heard of Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week. While you may not be able to do all your work in just 4 hours, drastically limiting the time you spend on email is something almost anyone can do. One way Tim recommends saving time on email is to designate specific times (for instance, twice per day) to check and respond to emails. To make sure everyone around you knows what’s up, set up an autoresponder that says something like, “In an effort to be more productive, I will be checking and responding to emails at 10am and 3pm only. Thank you for your patience!”
4. Batch tasks
Instead of jumping around from task to task, consider how you can batch related tasks into one set time period. For instance, you can batch all your financial-related tasks together, doing up invoices, sending payment reminders and tracking your billable hours, all in one batch. This will help you stay focused and allow you to save time by leveraging the overlap between related tasks.
5. Experience Freedom (the app)
Do you lack the will power NOT to check email, texts or social media while working? So do I! An app like Freedom can reduce the need for self-control, blocking out the apps and websites that tempt you. Simply set the schedule you’d like to stick to, choose which apps or sites you want to block, and then start working…distraction free!? Block distracting apps using a tool like Freedom so that you can work distraction free! #TimeSavingTips Click To Tweet
6. Use social media management tools
Using the right tools to manage your social media can save you a TON of time. Having access to all your accounts in one dashboard, having the ability to schedule your posts in advance, and having a single social media inbox will all help you get more done in less time. Not sure which tools to use? Check out my post, 15 Best Social Media Management Tools.
7. Give yourself deadlines
Setting daily, weekly and monthly goals and deadlines can be a great motivator for getting your work done fast and on time. While these will usually be self-imposed deadlines (meaning no one will ever know if you don’t meet them), they can seriously boost your motivation and productivity!
8. Use the Pomodoro Technique to increase productivity
I’ve already talked about the benefits of using a timer when completing tasks. The Pomodoro technique is a twist on this that lets you schedule set times for work and breaks…and it’s been shown to increase your focus, making you more productive. Here’s how it works: Set a timer for 25 minutes, then work your butt off. When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break. Do this four times. After the fourth time, take a longer break. It’s that simple!
9. Keep meetings (online and in-person) to the bare minimum
According to this infographic from Fuze, 15% of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings. That’s A LOT of time that could be spent doing something else! Some good tips for making sure meetings aren’t eating up your time unnecessarily: never hold information-only meetings, have a strict schedule for meetings and stick to it, hold client meetings online or on the phone to save time, and set (and stick to) a fixed start and end time so your meetings don’t go overtime.? 15% of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings. Have a strict schedule for meetings by setting AND sticking to a fixed start and end time so your meetings don’t go overtime. ⏱ #TimeSavingTip Click To Tweet
10. Use templates for everyday tasks
Instead of starting from scratch every time you want to write an email or create a document or spreadsheet, set up templates you can use again and again. These can save you a ton of time, and can make your work much more consistent to boot. Some documents that are perfect for templating: invoices, email responses to common questions, email newsletters and expense tracking spreadsheets.
11. Learn to delegate
Ronald Reagan said, “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.” If you have employees or contractors working for you, it’s your job to set policies and guidelines, and it’s their job to carry out tasks in line with those policies. In other words, don’t be a micromanager – this is a recipe for unhappy employees and lost productivity!? Ronald Reagan said, “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.” #SageAdvice #BizTipsClick To Tweet
12. Automate your lead generation using chatbots
If you have an active presence on Facebook, you may find yourself being inundated with messages through your page. While these are valuable leads, they can also take up a lot of time…especially if you’re getting the same questions again and again. Fortunately, it’s super easy to set up a Facebook chatbot that will answer those questions for you! Learn how to set up your own in my blog post, How To Create Your First Facebook Messenger Chatbot For FREE With NO Coding.
13. Handle tasks once, and once only
If you have a bit of a perfectionist streak, this one may be hard for you. Particularly when dealing with email, make a policy of handling each one only once. This means that when you read an email, you’ll immediately respond. No putting the email back in your inbox for “later”, or saving your reply as a draft so you can look it over later. Deal with it immediately, then move on to your next task.
14. Plan your day ahead of time
I find it extremely helpful to have a tentative plan in place for my entire day. While other tasks or issues are bound to come up, having a general plan ensures I stay motivated and don’t get sucked into doing unnecessary tasks.
15. Repurpose your content
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to content marketing is constantly coming up with new content. Between your blog, social media posts and email newsletter content, the sheer volume of content you need to produce can easily become overwhelming. Instead of always coming up with new ideas, try re-purposing and repackaging existing content. Some examples: turn old blog posts into an eBook, use an old email newsletter to create a new blog post and pull some quotes from your blog posts to use as social media posts. For more on this, check out my post, 15 Ways To Create New Content From Old Content.
16. Work during your most productive times
Have you noticed that there’s a time of day when you feel most motivated and efficient? For me, that time is first thing in the morning. If possible, aim to do as much of your work as you can during that time. You’ll notice you not only feel more inspired, but that you actually enjoy your work more too!
17. Limit your unnecessary emails
Question for you: how many emails do you get everyday that you don’t actually read? You know the ones…you signed up for them months or even years ago, and spend time every day deleting them without even reading them? Cut down on unnecessary email subscriptions by using a tool like unroll.me. Simply enter your email account info, and the tool will show you a list of all the subscription emails you currently receive. Then with one click, you can unsubscribe to any email lists you don’t read or don’t want to be on.Cut down on unnecessary email subscriptions by using a tool like unroll.me. With one click, you can unsubscribe to any email lists you don’t read or don’t want to be on, thus saving you time! BOOM! ?#TimeSavingTips #EmailTipsClick To Tweet
18. Do a great job…not a perfect job
Resist the urge to perfect every single task. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your best – just that you shouldn’t obsess over every tiny detail. I find it helpful to allot a set amount of time for tasks, then stick to it. This will ensure you are as efficient as possible while also not allowing time for obsessing.
19. Keep your emails short and sweet
Make it a goal to keep your emails as short as possible. Cut out unnecessary small talk, and jump right into the heart of the matter. Remember your goal is to convey your main message…not to win any literary awards!
20. Schedule in your social media time
This applies to both business and personal use of social media. It’s tempting to check your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in between tasks (or even in the middle of tasks!) so you don’t miss out. However, constant interruptions will undoubtedly make it harder for you keep your train of thought…and this will likely make you far less productive. Instead, designate a set time every day to check your social media accounts and to respond to messages, comments and tweets.
If you’re like most busy professionals, time is something that’s always at a premium. However, with some planning and determination, you can get more done in less time. Using the strategies above, it’s easier than you think!
What’s YOUR best strategy for getting more done in less time? Share below!