Have you ever heard that saying: "Work smarter, not harder"? As solo entrepreneurs, it is very easy to get busy. There are so many things we want to tackle because we finally got the time to work on them.
But soon enough we end up burning ourselves out every single day tackling tasks after tasks because time is money and if we do not take care of them, we don't get paid. What we thought would take us a short amount of time ends up taking all our time during a day. We quit our corporate life and are finally doing something to earn a living online, but we end up creating a second job with no financial security net because our salary depends on our performance...
But that's not what any aspiring entrepreneur want when they decide to finally take the leap. What you want is to have more time to do what you love and create a passive source of income that would require as little amount of time per day as possible.
So how can you better manage your time and be productive every single day?
1. Plan your tasks for the next day
Spend at least 5-10 minutes every evening thinking about the things you would like to complete the next day. What takes most of our time and energy is thinking. What most people would do is sit down at their desk every morning and think about what they want to do for the day. But if you would have already written down everything, you would just have to pull out that list and start working right away.
The main benefit is that your brain is already in the process of completing the task you thought about the previous day and your ideas are already in place once you decide to work on it. On the contrary, if you decide to think about what to do in the morning, it will take you more time to figure everything out before starting working.
Remember these 3 words every single evening when you get ready for the next day: T.P.A - Think - Plan - Action
i.e - Think: write down blog post about time management tips - Plan: I will do it first thing in the morning when I sit at my desk - Action: you complete writing your blog post the next day
2. Prioritize what you need to do
There's a difference between something important and something urgent. What most people would do is jump from one task to another as they come.
Have you ever been working on one thing, but then a colleague requested something from you and you decided to provide the help right away before heading back to your initial task? Even though it is very helpful for your colleague, your colleague is not helping you.
Indeed, by asking you for a request that might be important but not urgent, it is disturbing your focus on the task you needed to complete. And it would then take you a while before getting back into the flow you were before getting disturbed.
By prioritizing your tasks, you will be more productive because your brain will be focused on doing one thing instead of multi-tasking. The ideal way to do it is to isolate yourself until you complete the most urgent tasks.
3. Limit your time
It is very easy to work all day on one thing as an entrepreneur because you are free. But being an entrepreneur also means handling many aspects of the business: content creation, email marketing, social media marketing, customer service, etc... Until you manage to delegate most of these tasks or automate them, it is important to be well organized and schedule your time to achieve something important on daily basis.
Also, not only limiting your time and being on a clock will force you to focus and achieve what you need to do quicker but it will also help you keep a good work-life balance.
4. Focus on your strength
We all have tasks we do not like to do. And the most common thing everyone does is postpone those tasks and procrastinate. Instead, find the time to do them first thing during your work day, so that you can focus on the most pleasant part of your business for the rest of the day.
Or if you have the budget, hire a freelancer to do those tasks for you. It might cost you some money, but the job will be done and you won't have to spend any time doing it yourself.
Don't forget that as an entrepreneur you are the one in control. You are designing your ideal work style.
5. Create and stick to a routine
"We are creatures of habit, and so are our brains. When we establish routines, we can carry out tasks faster since we don't have to 'think' about the task - or prepare for it - as much, and can work on autopilot," says Hallie Crawford, a certified career coach, speaker, and author.
Even though no days looks the same as entrepreneurs, it is good to create habits that will help you be more productive, more active, more at peace.
Personally, I woke up at 8 am and start working around 11 am until 2 or 3pm. The rest of my day is for photography projects or learning something new.
However, the first 3 hours of my days are booked for working out, catching up with the news and meditation. I tend to build my life around that saying: "mens sana in corpore sano" which is a Latin phrase that means "A healthy mind in a healthy body". The first hours in the morning are crucial and will define the rest of your day, so make sure to do everything you believe you need to help you spend a great day.
Of course, we are all different and those tips might not apply to everyone. However, it is always good to learn from others and see other entrepreneurs productivity routine. By getting inspired from others, you will then be able to test what works and what does not for you until you find the right routine to make you a productive machine!
What about you? What time management tips do you use to get more done?