Every entrepreneur from the guy fixing cars out of his garage to someone running a consultancy knows that time is the #1 problem. Not enough time to get everything done. We cut corners, sacrifice effectiveness and in the end we hurt our business.
These are some less common and not usually hit upon ways to increase productivity and maximize your time on the important work of executing your business priorities.
Automation and Email
We all get too many emails. They come in all day and night. They ding and blip and distract us.
A few tips to make Email less distracting:
- Check Email once every thirty minutes or hour or longer. Or close email completely.
- Setup an autoresponder ala Tim Ferris style. (This is extremely effective)
- Using Google Filters or Outlook setup rules to route email to folders so they don’t show up in your inbox. You can route newsletters and promotion items into separate folders so you can read them later.
- Turn off email. Some companies are banning email completely. You heard that correct… Ban email and productivity is skyrocketing. Use tools like Slack or Hangouts (free) or get basecamp or Asana for the enterprise.
Delegate menial or simple tasks to others
There is no reason for anyone to be typing in data entry or creating email campaigns for their business. If you are a solo operator you can utilize tools like Upwork, Fiverr and elance where you can hire someone to tabulate data for just a few dollars and create compelling eblasts and marketing materials for a fraction of the time you would spend doing it. Effective leaders hire people they trust. They don’t always have to micromanage everything. Although micromanaging is effective initially with a new hire to teach them the ropes; however, after they get it let them do the work. If you have to micromanage an employee or consultant constantly then you hired the wrong person. If they are always asking your questions that you think is causing you to micromanage you need to let the person know you trust them.
Yes, we know you have to control every part of your business but the best leaders will surrender lessor tasks to others and once you find the perfect consultant or freelancer just keep them on retainer and you can reclaim many hours in your day.
Turn off the podcast, tv or news radio
Yes, we all like background noise and listening to a podcast or having the news on the radio or tv can be create ineffective work flow state. What is “Flow State”. It’s when you are so focused that you no longer have internal measure of the passage of time. You are solely focused on your work and you look up at the clock and 3 hours have gone by without you noticing it.
Tools that can help:
- Y-Productive. This tool will disable distracting sites…facebo…cough and other sites. You can also track your productivity stats and see the improvement in your work day.
- Sloth Worth. We love this little applet that runs in your browser. You install it into chrome and tell it your hourly rate. Then if you go to a site like Twitter, craigslist, ebay, amazon, etc… it will tabulate how much money you are losing while browsing around wasting time.
- Google Wellbeing. This tool by our favorite search engine will help you understand how much time you spend on your device doing different tasks, etc.. this writer was shocked at how much time was spent texting and chatting on messenger. Sometimes one doesn’t know they have a problem so this tool is critical in identifying problems before they become time sinks and ultimately sink your company.
- See more productivity and blocking tools here.
Drink Coffee less and later
“Drinking a cup of coffee first thing in the morning blunts the energy-boosting effects of caffeine and may lead to increased tolerance of the stimulant.” states Ryoko Iwata, “a Japanese coffee-lover living in Seattle” on her appropriately titled blog, I Love Coffee. According to Iwata: “By consuming caffeine when it is not needed, your body will build a faster tolerance to it, and the buzz you get will greatly diminish.”
So when do we drink our “energy potions”?
“The times of peak cortisol levels in most people are between 8-9 am, 12-1 pm and 5:30-6:30 pm. Therefore, timing your “coffee breaks” (an apt term) between 9:30-11:30 and 1:30 and 5:00 takes advantage of the dips in your cortisol levels when you need a boost the most”
This infographic will help. More in this article.
and Lastly: Value your time.
Most of us don’t think of our time as billable hours. You are billable. You are accountable to yourself. By using the tools aforementioned you can get your head around how much of your time is being wasted. What’s your hourly rate? Well, pull out your Gross income last year and divide it by 2080 (the standard 8 hours a day x 52 weeks) and you will get your hourly. Most of us would be surprised about how much money can be made with just small tweaks in ones schedule.