I remember being a new entrepreneur and struggling to get things done. My life felt so full, I had so many demands on my time. And often I would end the day feeling like I’d failed in the productivity department. I was busy after all, I had 2 little boys. I had a household to manage. I had responsibilities in my church. Life was just so full, I struggled to fit in business.
The funny part about that story is, my life is WAY more busy and full now. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I have 5 boys now. It’s a bigger household to manage. And now my little people are not as little, they have so many activities going on. The business is bigger and demands more. And yet, I get more done in a day now, than I ever did back in the early days.
I’ve learned that it’s not about how much time you have. It’s about having clear strategies to keep you productive.
Here’s 5 of my favorite productivity hacks.
- Direct the flow of communication. Communication is time consuming! Answering emails, phone calls, and questions can take up your entire day if you let it!. As a business owner, you do not want the communication all coming through you. Make sure your website tells people who to communicate with for each need they have. On your voicemail message, direct people to how you want them to communicate with you. Tell your clients and team members how you want them to communicate with you. Nothing is more disruptive to me than having unplanned phone calls. If a client calls, me, chances are I only have 5 minutes until my next appointment, and their question is going to take 10 to answer. So instead, I let them all know to email me their question and then I will schedule a time to answer it. In a world of instantaneous communication, we are getting spoiled. If you don’t set expectations on how you communicate, they will expect instant responses. And for the things that need instant response, direct the clients towards someone who can instantly respond.
- Time blocking. Multi-tasking kills productivity. Whoever decided multi-tasking was good was crazy! Time blocking is a much more effective way to work. Imagine being able to sit down and focus on an area of your business without interruption? Sounds dreamy right? That my friends is time blocking. As we continue to work on an area, we get more creative, we start working more effectively, and we produce better work. When I write one blog post, it takes me about 45 minutes. When I write 4 blog posts, it takes me about 2 hours. When I hold all of my sales calls in one day, my closing ratio is higher than when I’m scheduling them in between other tasks. I recommend giving each day a specific focus and really allowing yourself to dive deep into that area of your business.
- Proactive work before reactive responses. I’ve been telling people for years, don’t check your email and social media first thing in the morning. Wait until after you have finished your most important tasks and then respond to what others need from you. I’m going to take it to the next level. I actually do check my emails and social media first thing in the morning. But I don’t respond. Instead I delegate any tasks I can to my team. And then I know what I will be responding to when it comes time to respond in the afternoon. Then I jump into my agenda for the day. When you start of your day responding to others you are saying, “Your agenda is more important than mine.” And you tend to struggle to get done the crucial things that drive your business forward.
- Utilize the small spaces. How often do you find yourself with 10 minutes and pull out your phone to check the news or social media? It’s true in 10 minutes that you aren’t going to get a huge project done, but it doesn’t mean that can’t be used productively. I ask myself this question, “What is the best thing that I can do with this 10 minutes?” Sometimes I have an email I can send, or quick instructions I need to give to a team member. Other times, I really just need to take a walk and get some fresh air to help my brain be more sharp. When you master using the small moments, it helps you to be more disciplined with your large chunks of time.
- Have your team learn for you. This is a newer one for me, but I’m loving it! Often times I come across something and I think, “I need to learn more about this.” It could be a new marketing tool, or a finance strategy. I used to feel like I needed to learn everything and then drive the implementation with my team. Now, I assign someone on my team to study, and then bring me a report. It is helping my company acquire new knowledge at a faster rate. And it is helping my team take ownership of the new strategies we are using. Plus, it saves me a ton of time!
We all have the same amount of hours in the day. If you want to get more out of your time, productivity is critical!