Ladies, what is the one thing we all want more of? Time.More time to make more money, more time to spend doing the things we love, more time to spend with our friends and loved ones, more time to sleep, more time to prepare healthy meals at home, more time to relax… the list is endless, but they all come back around to this thing called ‘time’ which seems to constantly elude us.
We are all given the same amount of time in the day, so short of losing silly amounts of sleep, how do we maintain super woman levels of productivity and output?
Running six businesses, with an admin team of only four people, I’ve learned a thing or two about leveraging my time over the last ten years.
Here are my top five tips to maximise your time:
Automate as much of your life and work as you possibly can, from social media scheduling, to email autoresponders, evergreen ads that send customers into a completely automated marketing funnel, and even your book keeping and accounts. Automate your diary, your stock responses for the most commonly asked questions, and even automate your food deliveries so you don’t even have to worry about what’s in the fridge from one day to the next! Zapier is every super woman’s best friend when it comes to automation, but just to give you some insight, I use Stripe for payments, Commerce Sync to push data to my Xero account, which then auto-generates my invoices and receipts. I use Acuity, Skedda and Setmore for bookings, Mailchimp and Clickfunnels for automated funnels and customer building, Gsuite for auto-fill timesheet and email autoresponders, Virtual Spirit agent for automated customer service, and Buffer for my social media.
Ah even better when you don’t have to lift a finger! Or at least not so many fingers all at once 24 hours a day 7 days a week. In house office staff aren’t essential. There are so many great VA’s around the world, who, combined together, can work around the clock to complete all the tasks that don’t require your personal involvement. Even those tasks which you’re convinced can only be completed by you, often have work arounds. Ryan Deiss talked about the 10 80 10 rule, which in a nutshell, requires you the boss, to complete the first 10% of the project with the delegate, allow them to complete the following 80%, and then revisit the final stages together so you can review, assess and feedback. 100% of the work done in only 20% of the time (your time anyway!). For virtual staff I use upwork.com and fiverr.com.
We all know we need to do this, but there’s a difference between mentally making a note of everything you need to do that day, and scheduling properly to make sure things actually get done! I schedule my time into two hour slots and assign myself a task or project for each two hours. This is based on scientific evidence that we are most productive in the first two hours we give our energy to something. Create a spreadsheet with the days of the week across the top and the two slots down the side. Firstly, and most importantly, input all your health needs including gym sessions, yoga classes, food breaks, and downtime. Only then should you fill your week with work and life tasks you deem essential. Make sure each two hour slot is followed up with a five minute break, or a 20 minute walk to the coffee shop and back, just to make sure you’ve given your brain a break before you continue with the next task or project.
This is genius, and has proved to be one of my most successful time leveraging tools, credit to Tim Ferris author of the 4 hour work week. Scientific research, again, has proved that our brains are most effective when we stick to doing the same type of task, so much so it creates something similar to the snowball effect and our productivity actually increases the more we commit to it. By task ‘type’ I mean categories such as research, creative writing, social media creation, scheduling, accounts and so on. Instead of jumping from one type of task to another, it is most effective to get all those similar tasks done in the same time frame to maximise output.
This is actually one to avoid!! I know us women are celebrated for being able to do a million things at once, and yes we are awesome at whipping up dinner, whilst folding laundry, giving agony aunt advice to a friend, and reading the first draft of something a client just sent us… BUT, when it’s time to really get things done, multi-tasking needs to escape the picture. Spreading your super woman too thin will only result in a 10 tasks half done. I’m sure you’d much rather have 5 completely done and ticked off your list wouldn’t you? So divert the phone lines, lock the dogs out, leave the kids with a sitter, delete the Facebook app, and just get your head down.
I hope these tips help and also help you to pinpoint your areas of least productivity. If you’re a procrastinator, schedule that in to your day and batch all of your online shopping and Facebook scrolling into a two-hour slot! At least you can confidently tick it off your list!