As a business owner or creative maker, time is our best and most expensive commodity. We're all given the same 24 hours so how is it that some people have impeccable time management skills and others lag behind, simply unable to upkeep with all the work? The truth is, it all comes down to the habits you were able to adopt in your life. You gotta try to weed out the bad ones, and really try to make the good ones grow.
Fact of the matter is, productivity is essential to get the ball rolling and keep your business afloat. I personally love to exert minimal effort with maximum outcome. It doesn't mean I don't work hard - it just means that I work SMART. Productivity is the backbone if this little henna business of mine, and since it's my baby, like any proud mother I can't wait to see my baby grow. Being productive will fast track that with the speed of lightening.
So here are 4 very simple ways and proven theories that boosted my productivity a ten fold and how you can do the same...
1) OUTSOURCE THINGS YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE DOING YOURSELF
I know, we all think we're wonder woman or super man thinking we can do it all. "No one can do it better than me, because no one will care as much as I do," isn't that where your mindset falls?
Don't doubt your capability of doing the work yourself, but really think "is this something I really need to be exerting my time in, or can I just delegate it to someone else?"
Believe me, I know how hard it is to let go - that you think you're not being authentic or true to yourself or your business if you're not doing it all on your own. It's YOUR thing, why should you hand it off to someone else? Right? WRONG! You need to give yourself a break and allocate your time in what you do best - which are the bigger goals.
I mean, do you really want to spend an entire day responding to emails of potential clients who aren't even paying you yet? Or would you rather spend the time cultivating relationships of current existing clients? Business aside, maybe you just wanna spend your time with your loved ones. Outsourcing will help you do that.
I have liven by this virtue and it's helped me dramatically. I found that tedious house work has really dragged down my time that I could invest in my business, so here's what I did.
Every week, I had to:
Go grocery shopping: 1 hour
Restock my pantry and fridge: 30 minutes
Research healthy recipe for the day: 10 minutes x 6 = 1 hour and 10 minutes (70 minutes)
Cook every single day: 30 minutes x 7 = 3.5 hours (210 minutes)
Wash the dishes 3 times a week: 20 minutes x 3 = 1 hour (60 minutes)
Restock the dishes: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME = 6.5 hours!!
That's 6.5 hours of lost time on work I could have done. If you want to put this more into perspective, that's 26 hours lost a whole month - so literally more than an entire day.
Here's what I did instead. I opted in for eFresh, a healthy food delivery program that automatically renews every week. It sends me fresh healthy meals right to my door at the start of every week. All I literally have to do is put it in the freezer and when I'm ready for my meal, throw it in the microwave and voilas. Not only is it healthy and taste amazing, but I've literally saved myself 6.5 hours that I can reallocate to my business and I'm not left with dishes I have to clean saving me money on dish soap.
All I'm trying to say is, see where you can outsource your tasks to. It doesn't necessarily have to fall short of day to day business tasks, but maybe personal things you have to do around the house too. Even if it cost you a little extra, the time you've saved will allow you to be more impactful on the returns you can get out of it.
2) CREATE A PRIORITY LIST
It is so easy for us to get sucked in the trivial tasks, and unfortunately, it gives us the illusion that we were productive when in reality that may not have been the case.
By writing down a priority list, you'll be able to give yourself a perspective in seeing what needs to be achieved.
Here's what I usually do.. I create a task list for the day and make sure to get the important stuff done at the start of the day. If I get an email, I ignore it. I get a phone call, it just has to wait. If I shifted priority to what I know needs to be done, it will ACTUALLY GET DONE. Once that big elephant is out of the way, I can get to more trivial things at hand.
A free tool that I recommend and personally use is todoist. It allows me to write all the tasks I want to achieve, categorize it, color code it and even date it so I know when and what I'll be doing on any given day. If this doesn't make you more productive, I don't know what will :)
I also batch my Instagram content almost 2 weeks in advance. I never post in real time. Why? Because I want to make sure I have a seamless and cohesive feed, and how I can achieve that is by preparing it way in advance. I personally use PLANN - it's an amazing Instagram content organizer and allows you to see what your feed would look like with a click and drag option, gives you insights of when it's best to post, and keeps a storage of your hashtags.
3) WORK IN BATCHES
This is something I was avidly against at first, but it truly resonated with me when I actually tried to implement it. It was recommended by many leading pioneers like: Jenna Kutcher, Amy Porterfield and Charlie Houpert from Charisma on Command (you gotta check them all out!).
Working in batches will spare you a lot of time and will give you guidance on what needs to be done or what's missing.
So here's what I literally do...
I write 8 blog posts all in one day. That's a month's worth of content.
Shoot its corresponding YouTube videos the next day.
Create content for Instagram from the blog or YouTube videos done
Handle all my instagram content 2 weeks in advance with all edited photos and written captions
This has spared me so much more time I can spend communicating directly with clients who have inquiries, bookings, or any other day to day activities. And while yes, it's allocating so much more work at one specific time, it actually gives you more time to view and review your work over and over again, which brings us to the next point...
4) FRONT LOAD YOUR WORK AHEAD OF TIME
It sounds complicated, but it's actually really simple. So what I mean is, see what are the reoccurring things that keep happening over and over again and seat yourself down doing all its work components to prevent you from having to repeat that same task in the future.
A best example of this are email templates! I can't tell you how many times I get the same questions over and over again. The fact that I've created a FAQs page on my website did not help. We assume that our clients study and inspect our website, when in reality, they just want quick answers. No body is gonna look through your website as much as you (or maybe your mother, THANKS MOM!).
So here's what I did... I thought of every frequently asked question, or every possible interactive scenario and gathered it all in one email template PDF. That way, I don't have to literally spend so much time in my inbox for a question I've answered a million times before.
All I do is copy-paste the template and tweak it in accordance to who the person is or what is being asked. I've created my templates in such a friendly and upbeat manner, that no one ever hardly notices that it's not automated. And it's not really automated, it's just a skeleton that's so much easier for me to work from and has made me so much more productive!
Another thing I did was create a PDF file that enlisted my services with all the packages I offer. You can click here to get some inspiration so you can do it yourself too. And while it's literally word for word what's written on the website, it's so much more effective when it lands in your lead client's inbox. They then have the time to review it offline and possibly even discuss it with family and friends, not to mention increasing the likelihood of them sharing or emailing it to someone else too.
And there you have it awesome creative maker. The 4 simple and proven strategies that will help boost your productivity a ten fold:
Outsource tasks that you know you don't have to invest your time in
Create yourself a priority list to keep yourself in check
Batch working is your friend and will help create a skeleton for your business
Seat yourself down and see what work needs to be done now to spare you from doing it later