Work Smarter, Not Harder
Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
A working mom spends long hours at the office trying to be a successful professional. At the end of the day, she takes home more work to get done in the hours before she goes to bed (which she does way too late because she’s trying to get everything done). She says she’s spending time with her family, but even though she’s physically with them, she’s not really present because she’s always working. She feels guilty about not spending enough time with her family, but she would feel just as guilty if she worked fewer hours because she would feel like she was letting down her employer and coworkers.
That’s the situation I found myself in up until a few years ago. Eventually I started getting migraines that apparently came out of nowhere, but in hindsight it’s clear I had been piling things onto my to-do list, but somehow “self-care” never made the list. No wonder my body rebelled!
Spending more time with my family without sacrificing my income is a big reason I started my business, and it’s a common thread that runs through most of my clients. We all want to get more done, but the last time I checked, no one is adding any hours to the day, so how do we fit it all in?
The answer is to work smarter, not harder, and I’m going to give you tips on how to do just that so you can get more done in less time.
The first step is to get yourself organized. Whether you prefer to work with paper or digital files, make sure you have a system that works for you so you know where everything is and can easily find it when you need it. You might not think you’re spending a lot of time searching for your notes, but that’s the kind of thing that can sneak up on you and end up stealing a lot of time from your day/week/month before you’ve realized it.
Automate, Automate, Automate
The sooner you figure out how to automate as many things as you can, the better off you’ll be. I use ActiveCampaign to stay in touch with prospects because it lets me schedule automatic emails and reminder tasks, such as calling a prospect I recently talked with on the phone. It also lets me save templates of all the emails I send out over and over, so I don’t have to keep rewriting them.
I use Acuity to schedule meetings so I can just send people the link and there’s no back and forth trying to figure out what time works best for both of us. They can immediately see the dates and times that work for me, pick one that works for them, and it shows up on my calendar. If they need to reschedule, they can do that in Acuity as well.
How to Delegate and Get More Done
How many times have you thought about delegating a task to someone else (either housework or something for your business) only to say, “Oh, it’ll be faster if I just do it myself”?
But is it really faster? Maybe in the short run, but what about the long run? How much time do those small tasks take up every day? Every week? Every month? How much time could you save overall by taking the time to teach someone how to do it once and then letting them handle it from then onwards?
Small business owners and entrepreneurs seem to think we need to do everything ourselves. Maybe it’s because many of us start out with a very small budget (or no budget at all) so we feel like we have to do everything ourselves. Or maybe it’s because, as entrepreneurs, we’re sometimes made to think we have all the answers.
But no one has all the answers. And when it comes to many of the small, repetitive tasks you need to do on a regular basis, knowing how to do it yourself doesn’t justify doing it yourself when your time could be better spent in your genius zone – doing the things only you can do.
So, let’s talk about how to delegate effectively so you can spend more time on the tasks that really matter.
Identify the Tasks You Can Delegate
Regardless of your business, there are things that only you can do – whether it’s providing a service to your clients, building your products or coming up with ideas for new products, networking, etc. Identify what those tasks are that only you can do and make a list of all the other tasks and title that list “Delegate.”
Once you know what tasks can be delegated, it’s time to identify and/or find the people who can help you. Depending on the tasks, you might already have people in your life who can help.
If you have kids who are old enough to do things like wash dishes and clean the floors, start by putting them to work on those tasks so you can spend more time on your business. As they get older, you can give them tasks to do in your business that fit their skill level. Not only does it take those tasks off your hands and free up your time, but it can also be a great way to bond with your children and give them first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to run a business and do what needs to get done to make sure bills get paid. There’s no better way to raise the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Some tasks are beyond the capabilities of your children, and might even be beyond your own capabilities. Things like marketing and bookkeeping (not to mention tax preparation) might be better off in the hands of another professional. These are tasks you should delegate to make sure, not only that you save time, but that you can actually grow your business without taking time away from serving your clients. If you don’t already have people in your network who can handle these things for you, I have some suggestions.
Making Room in Your Budget
Delegating certain tasks is just one way you can make sure you spend more time in your genius zone so you can get more done, but that’s just scratching the surface. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, schedule a free Clarity Call with Strategy Rockstar Michelle Smith to see what else your business needs.
How much time do you spend each day trying to find the things you need? Where was that article you saw? What happened to that post-it note with your scribbled to-do list? Do you even have a to-do list?
It might not seem like you spend a lot of time looking for these things, but trust me, those minutes add up. In addition to the time, the energy adds up. If you get frustrated because you can’t find the Zoom link for your next meeting, you’re going to go into that meeting frustrated and probably a little embarrassed instead of feeling confident and professional. So, let’s talk about some ways you can get organized so you can be on time and ready for every meeting.
Make a To-Do List
You can use a different color for each client and all the folders for that client can have that color. Or you can group your clients together and assign each client a color based on the type of client – whether that’s their industry or the products/services you provide for them is entirely up to you.
Alternatively, you can just make sure you have a separate file for each client and keep those files organized in whatever way works best for you. Play around with whatever technology you’re using to stretch the limits of its capabilities. It doesn’t matter which system you use. What matters is you use a system that works for you.
Get Tech Savvy
How to Use Technology to Boost Your Small Business (Even if You Hate Technology)
Many of us have a love/hate relationship with technology. When it works, it’s great and we love it. When it doesn’t work, it drives us crazy. It’s most likely the worst-case scenario that causes a lot of people to hesitate before implementing technology in their business. They think the way they do things works just fine, and they don’t have (or don’t want to invest) the time in learning a new way of doing things.
As someone who uses technology quite a bit in my business, let me urge you to stop thinking about what happens if things go wrong, and instead think about what happens if things go right. The best-case scenario is you get more done in less time, freeing you up to spend more time with your family, or do something that’s meaningful to you. It also helps you make more money in less time, so, let’s take a look at how technology can help you in your small business:
We often don’t think about how much time we spend each day doing the same things over and over. But if you add it all up, you might be surprised by how much time your computer could take off your hands.
How many times have you forgotten to follow up with someone when you said you would?
How many times have you sent an email from the wrong email address?
These errors are human, and we all make them now and again. While technology is far from perfect, it can help eliminate a lot of the human errors we make in our own businesses. If you want to make sure you follow up with someone at a specified time, the right technology can either remind you to make that follow-up call, or it can automatically send the follow-up email or text message for you. Things are always going to fall through the cracks, but by making technology work for you, you can make sure the priorities in your business always get addressed first.
Acuity is one of my favorite softwares that I use in my business, but I think it’s underused because not enough people really understand how to get the most out of it for their business. So, I’ve added an Acuity Scheduling Set-Up course to my Online Academy. The course covers everything you need to know about Acuity step by step, so by the time you finish, your Acuity account will be set up! You’ll be able to immediately put it to work for your small business and start doing more in less time. If you like the idea of starting to use Acuity and reaping all the benefits we’ve shared but don’t want to do it yourself, no problem! The Z&B team can do it for you. We also offer a group option where Strategy Rockstar Michelle Smith and her team guide you step by step through the process. Learn more about all 3 options here.
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