By Caro Syson
13 Apr 2022
Running a business can be tough, especially for those who work for themselves, by themselves; it often feels as though there aren't enough hours in the day for your ever-growing to-do list. Being self-employed means there’s no one to delegate the boring tasks to and often the budget isn’t there for outsourcing the jobs you don’t like.
At Pocket PA we understand the importance of making the most of every minute of your working day, without leaving you running on empty. Try implementing our 5 easy time saving hacks to help you manage your workload.
1. Manage your energy rather than time
The obvious energy management tips are to make sure you get at least 8 hours sleep, eat regularly, make your meals healthy and get regular exercise, even if it’s just going for a walk. We know all that, as it’s been drilled into us for years, but what can you implement that will increase your productivity straight away?
Studies show that people who take more breaks are actually more productive. It has been found that if people committed to 45 – 52 minutes of focused work then took a 17minute break, their productivity levels were far greater than those people who didn’t take regular breaks.
So try implementing more breaks into your day. Sounds good, hey?!!
The idea of taking a 17 minute break every 52 minutes might not seem realistic and doable to you, so break it down into a more practical time slot that works for your schedule.
For example, perhaps try working for 45 minutes then taking a 5 minute walk around the block, as not only will the break away from work be good for your mind, but the exercise will get the heart pumping and more oxygen circulating around the body making you feel more alert and increasing your energy levels for your next focused time slot.
Maybe you work by appointment times - and if so, try scheduling at least a 5 -10 minute break in between each client, a few jumping jacks or trip to the bathroom using the stairs, will get the heart pumping and the oxygen flowing around the body. Getting a few minutes of fresh air in between each client also helps to keep the senses alert.
2. Using up ‘Lost Time’
You’re probably wondering what lost time is, maybe?
Well ‘lost time’ is the time you spend travelling to appointments, or time on the school run, or walking the dog, or time where you think is often wasted time but you need to walk the dog or do the school run. Use this time to update yourself on new knowledge that you can apply to your business or self-development.
You could be listening to a podcast about your industry and learning new tips, or a YouTube on growing your business, or how to market better. Sign up to audible and download the latest business marketing book, or time management book, or whatever it is you want to learn more about but don’t believe you have the time.
Listen to these resources while driving, walking, exercising, or even cooking. It’s amazing what the brain will pick up and learn without you realising. Use that lost time and grow in yourself and business.
3.Social Media Boundaries
I think we can all agree that social media is a great FREE tool for growing your client base and audience, but it has its downsides too. Who isn’t guilty of posting a work post on Instagram then spending the next 20 minutes scrolling through your feed and being distracted by irrelevant posts?
OR, updating your latest on-trend, super-hot video to TikTok but then spending the next half an hour laughing at your favourite TikTokker’s latest funny posts?
Get strict with your social media time. Work out the best time for you to post that gets you the best engagement, then schedule a maximum of 15 minutes for you to post and interact with your engagement.
We don’t need more time, we need a deadline and setting a timer for when that time is up, then switching off your notifications is super helpful - so you won’t get distracted and can then start the next work task of your day.
4. ‘Eat that Frog’
“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.” Mark Twain.
In his book ‘Eat that Frog,’ Brian Tracey, productivity consultant, says – “Your ‘frog’ is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.”
As we know, procrastination is an energy drainer because the thing we’re procrastinating about doesn’t go away, and we spend mental energy worrying about it. The best thing to do is get the most boring or difficult task done first, then your mind is free to tackle the rest of the day without the energy draining worry of procrastinating, and you’ve got that dreaded task over and done with. Phew!
5. Make a Weekly Plan
This one seems obvious, right? Planning ….. But how many of us actually regularly do it?
Let’s revisit it then as there are so many benefits to planning your week ahead. You can track all of your ‘to-do’ list at any given moment, especially if you have your weekly planner accessible on your smart device. We can help with this as Pocket PA has a really handy colour coded, easy to read digital diary feature.
Your money making tasks are obviously important, but what about your admin tasks? Can you plan these around your money making appointments to spread them evenly so you’re not suddenly overwhelmed with a stack of admin to do? Little and often always wins the day so try getting into small good habits that will support your productivity.
Overwhelm is another energy drainer, so spreading your energy-draining, non-money-making (but important) tasks,evenly through the week, means you spend less energy sorting them out and not procrastinating over them.
Weekly planning helps you to track the time spent on each task meaning you’re planning will become smarter and more time efficient, leaving you more productive and feeling fantastic when you realise just how much more you can get done.
The one thing that none of us can buy more of is time, so how we use our 24 hours each day is crucial to be more productive, make more money and live the life we dream of now. Not tomorrow.
Try the above tips and please let us know if they work for you. We’d love to hear your stories on what works for you and what doesn’t.