6 Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity...
There is nothing quite like becoming an Entrepreneur to really test your self-control and productivity. Especially in the early days of business and if you work from home. (Or, if you’re juggling running the business around your family!)
All of a sudden you’re technically the BOSS of your own time.
But you’re not necessarily a pro at managing it like a BOSS yet.
It's amazing how many distractions there can be...
- Sick kids (or sick husband, sick parents, being sick myself, sick animals - basically sick everything and everyone!!!)
- Social media
- Other peoples ‘urgent’ problems
- Late night Netflix binging leaving me tired the next day (wait did I just admit that out loud…)
Let's face it - the distractions are endless. So...
Here are 6 of my top tips for supercharging your productivity and keeping your work-life balance sane:
1. Draw the line and establish a routine
What I mean by draw the line, is to draw a clear line between work and play (or rather the rest of your life – aka the unpaid part).
Yes, many of us are Entrepreneurs because we want freedom and flexibility, but decide for yourself what flies for you and doesn’t in terms of work/life routine and stick to it.
We all work most productively when we have a routine.
If you create a routine and stick to it, after a while the routine happens organically and you don’t have to think about it.
For me, that mostly looks like working school hours. I typically drop my kids at school and immediately get to work.
What's helped me a lot has been to create "session times" in my diary.
These session times control what times my clients can book me so that I can see the same number of clients each day and ensure that my breaks are always nicely spaced out.
Then my brain knows that during those times of the day I'm "working" (whether I'm seeing clients or not), and I attempt to never do housework or talk to my family unless I'm "on a break".
It also helps me if I dress the part. Even though I work from home, I usually dress as I would if I was going to an office. At least from the top half up - because #zoomlife.
2. Know your flow and don’t fight it
What the heck is your ‘flow’ you might ask… Your flow is your path of least resistance within your business. The path where you’re at your happiest and most productive.
You’ll generally be ‘in flow’ when you’re doing the parts of your business that you love the most, and potentially ‘out of flow’ when you are trying to do tasks which you’re not naturally good at or interested in.
Of course, there’s always parts of our business that we don’t want to do, and have to do. But, in my opinion, they should make up the minority and always be the first you delegate when you can.
You’ll probably have a reasonable idea already or what floats your boat and what doesn’t. But, if you’re feeling out of flow (or like everything is too hard), then I recommend taking The Talent Dynamics Profile Test. It’s the best test I know for Entrepreneurs to help you work out what your genius superpower is and what tasks in the business you should totally avoid doing (and delegate).
It helped me immensely, and I now use it with all my clients.
3. Group your tasks by energy
Ok so I know that sounds quite woo woo, but stick with me…
I believe that each task during your day has an energy.
- When we need to do anything detailed or financial related, we need to have our detailed/concentration brain on.
- If we need to do anything that involved talking to people, we need to have our friendly, extroverted brain on.
- When we are coming up with content or social media we need to have our creative marketing brains on.
Switching between all those energies takes *energy and depletes your energy tank. So, grouping your tasks by similar tasks to minimise the number of times you switch between all the different energies just makes sense from a productivity standpoint. This allows you to have more stamina to get through your day.
The way I like to do this is to have a theme for the day:
- Monday is my details day.
I try to save up all my details tasks for a Monday such as accounting, planning etc.
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are my people days.
I try to take all of my meetings and do all of my networking/customer services these days.
- Friday is my creative day.
That day I can write, or create content, etc.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t do any of the rest of the tasks on the other days, it just simply means that that is the overriding theme for the day. And, within the days, I’ll group my like activities together.
Once you know you’re super power from The Talent Dynamics Test and understand the energies from all of the different Genius Profiles, this becomes a lot easier to understand and become second nature.
4. Use a system to keep track of your to-do list
If you are spending all of your energy trying to remember to do stuff, you are not working at your most productive!
One of the first systems that I always ensure my clients have, is a way to manage their tasks. For most that’s the free version of Trello.
Trello, or a similar project management tool like Asana, Monday or Teamwork, is a great place to dump all your thoughts and sort them out visually.
In each of these projects you can create checklists, set due dates and assign tasks to people. This means you no longer have to store it all in your head or in a stack of notebooks.
Most of them come with an app (great for late night brain dumping so you can get back to sleep).
You can also share it between your team and use it to communicate with each other (which will free up your inbox no end).
5. Create workflows
You may know them as standard operating procedures (SOP) or operations manuals, but I like to use the term ‘workflows’.
Assigning a consistent way of doing things each time, and documenting that process so that it can be followed the same way each time.
There are so many benefits to creating workflows:
Doing things consistently the same each time...
- Uses less thinking energy
- Means you (or your team) won’t forget how to do something if there’s a long gap between doing it
- Makes it easier to teach someone how to follow your system
- Means the entire team are taught to do something the same way (a consistent quality)
- Provides a consistent experience for your clients
If you only have a small amount of workflows, one way to record them is by keeping a Business Blueprint board on Trello.
If you have a larger amount of workflows, or want to include video training, I recommend creating a free Google Site or similar such internal website that you can share with those who need it.
It doesn't matter if you are a solopreneur. Having a workflow still helps you future proof your business.
In fact, I often follow workflows that I have created for my team if I have to do the tasks myself. Especially if it's been a while since I've done that task!
For example; right now I am writing a blog post, so I’ll be following my blog post workflow. That provides me a checklist of tasks that need to be done for each blog post.
This includes the different stages the blog post goes through, such as: draft the post, get proofread, create images, upload to blog, check links, post on all my social media, etc. etc.
Then, each of these tasks is assigned to a person.
I can also video myself doing processes using a screen recording software, and put the link to the how-to video along with the checklist.
Two tools that I love for screen recording are Loom (free) and Snagit (paid).
6. Track where the heck your time is going
Where are your time-sucks? Or biggest distractions?
Do you need to upgrade your systems, or do you need to simply stop fluffing about and get some accountability? (Spoiler alert: it could also be both)
Here are two ways you can work this out:
The first is of course to take In-Flight Audit™. Within 30 minutes you’ll then know which systems need a reboot in your business.
The second is to start tracking your time and seeing where it all goes.
For this, I use Harvest which I use to power my business. (Use the coupon THEHELPFULBRAND to get 50% off your first month).
Another option is Toggl.
It can be challenging at first to get into the habit of tracking your time, but it will show you where you need to make changes in how you use your time.
Which of these 6 was your favourite time saving tip? Let me know in the comments...
About the author:
Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).
Love this article Kat, super helpful once again! I’m definitely going to check out Trello.
Some very helpful tips thanks Kat! I especially like the ‘group tasks by energy’ one!