How to get more done in less time
Tick, tock, tick, tock….
Time is your most precious commodity. As an entrepreneur, a want-repreneur or actually, simply as a human being – time is one of the big things we must learn to manage well.
Here are some tips to help you when you’re starting or growing your online business…
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One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make, particularly in the beginning, is trying to do everything. We think we’re the only ones who can “do it right” or maybe you’re bootstrapping it. So you end up trying to do absolutely everything and don’t want to delegate tasks to others. Believe me, I’ve been there. But, you have to learn to delegate if you want to grow.
Seriously, don’t wait. The sooner you can get some help so you can focus on packaging and pricing your expertise, and making offers to those you can help – the better.
Here are 3 ways to help you let go and get some help:
1. Make a “Stop Doing” List – We always make “to-do” lists. I want you to make a “Stop Doing” list. What are those things that you do not need to be doing? What are the small tasks that are worth $10 an hour that are robbing you of taking your products and services to more people?
2. Bring on an Intern – You have a real business, right? (I hope you answered “yes”) Most colleges and universities have programs that place students in internships. Submit your business and then choose the student who has the best qualifications for the tasks you need. You get free help and they get valuable real life training.
3. Find a Contractor – You can find wonderful people at Elance.com Odesk.com Fiverr.com and Craigslist. Be extremely clear on what you expect from candidates. Ask each applicant to do something extra when applying. If they don’t do it, you can discard that person and focus on those who will take your direction. Make sure to have them sign a contractor agreement. You can easily find online templates created by attorneys for these for a very low cost.
In today’s world it’s easy and inexpensive to find somebody to do the stuff you shouldn’t be doing or those things that aren’t your strengths. Focus on those important things that are going to bring you more business so you can actually grow! And learn to get comfortable with letting go.
If you’re just starting your online business, DON’T try to do everything yourself. Either hire someone to put up your website for you or find a way to barter. You shouldn’t become a web designer or developer, have someone else do that and focus on your unique work in the world.
1. Stop saying “yes” without first giving it some thought.There are so many things vying for our attention, It’s important to become an expert at managing your time and managing your energy as a business owner.
It’s a lot easier to change a “no” into a yes”. A “yes” is almost impossible to turn into a “no”.
Your Challenge: Choose not to say “yes” to anything unless you take 24 hours to think about it. If there’s not enough time to take those 24 hours and you find yourself always being asked to do things as an “emergency”, there’s a clue. You are not someone else’s emergency solution.
2. Practice waiting for a solution.
As stated above, it’s easier to change your “no” to a “yes” and if you’ve evaluated the situation and you’ve decided that you would like to help, great! You’ll find that by waiting, you are training other people to find another solution first. You will stop being their “emergency plan”.
3. Find another way to get your fix.
There’s a payoff you’re getting from saying “yes” We all do this! It may be the warm, fuzzy (and fleeting) good feeling you get from being appreciated. And when you start saying “no”, you’ll feel extremely uncomfortable, embarrassed and instantly want to change your “no” into a “yes” because of the discomfort.
Don’t do it. Stand firm.
Here are a few ways to get a lot more done in much less time…
1. Calendar – Everything is now online, our personal lives, our business lives and our social lives. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to remember everything there is “to do” so it’s a great idea to get it all in one place where you can have the calendar remember it, rather than using up your valuable energy trying to remember everything.
I love the google calendar. It’s color coded and you can have parent’s and kid’s schedules with reminders so you don’t forget anything.
For business owners, it’s imperative to keep ultra organized, particularly if you have other people working in your business virtually. My entire team is virtual so an online “office space” where we can share files, brainstorm, keep a group calendar and more is vital.
2. Record What You Get Done – Each evening, record the top 3-5 things you accomplished and write the top 3-5 things you need to accomplish tomorrow. This helps you realize what you did get done. It also helps you plan to stay laser focused on what you need to get done the next day.
By writing it out, you create a visual representation of it, satisfying anyone’s need to feel productive and .
3. A Timer – I couldn’t live without a timer. It may seem like a horribly controlling and overly-structured way to live, at first glance. It ends up giving you what I call “controlled freedom” which is kinda like “jumbo shrimp”
Because you get so many things done timing your tasks, you actually waste less time and end up much more productive.
Ever heard of the Parkinson’s Law? According to Wikipedia, it states “The amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.” So if you give yourself 3 hours to complete a task or 30 minutes to complete a task, you will complete the task within whatever amount of time allotted.
A lot of us have deadlines or goals. Since we don’t have a specific, drop-dead “end times” for them, the time to get them done continues to expand and expand and expand… and the task takes a lot longer to do than necessary. But, if you give yourself what I call a diamond deadline, a limited amount of time, it’s more likely the task will be done and done well.
I began using a kitchen timer about a decade ago and found it extremely effective. Now, every smartphone has one built-in. I time tasks as well as breaks. It’s made a huge difference in boosting productivity. It seems counter intuitive, but it works!