by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor
First of all, let me correct the title of this article. “Busy solopreneurs” is completely redundant. If you’re a solopreneur who is not busy, the word to better describe you is BANKRUPT. The very word solopreneur means“entrepreneur who does it all.” But we all know that solopreneurs can use help with increasing productivity and efficiency.
The fact is, no one can do it all. Even solopreneurs need help. You may be the solitary person responsible for everything in your business, but that does not mean that must perform every task. In fact, that is a sure prescription for burnout and failure.
So, in your few free moments to read and invest in YOU, here are five tips to help you be more productive without robbing you of even more time for personal needs.
It’s important to take time each day to prioritize tasks. Rate each task by its due date and level of importance. Then, arrange them in descending order of importance for each day. Now you can focus on completing each task one at a time. There is a distinct pleasure in checking completed tasks off your list.
Studies reveal that multitasking reduces your productivity. Besides, multitasking really just means switching your attention between tasks, which increases the risk of making errors and slows you down as you realign your thinking to each task.
Determine when you are the most productive, and schedule important tasks for those blocks of time. During each block, focus on one very specific task and ignore everything else. For example, if you’re most productive in the mornings, use that time for creative work and save responding to emails for the afternoon.
Following a schedule makes efficient use of your time. Schedule business hours and work diligently during those hours. Schedule everything, including working times and breaks. Appoint mundane tasks to be completed at the same time each day, and save your best hours for creative client work.
This is different from simply blocking out hours of the day for certain types of work, discussed above. This is setting your regular working schedule for every week. Of course, sometimes projects demand overtime or weekends; that is inevitable. But with a regular schedule in place, if something demands overtime, you can more easily charge overtime costs for the extra time you work outside your normal working schedule.
There are tools and apps for everything, and a wise solopreneur will make full use of them. Consider utilizing efficiency and budgeting software to cut down on end-of-the-month tasks. Download a scheduling app to use with your working schedule. Join it to an organization tool and input your daily task list to stay on track throughout the day. Apps like this cut out paper lists that can be lost, and will even provide timers and reminders.
Your particular industry will determine what tools and apps will best help you with productivity. Keep that in mind. Just because everyone loves a certain tool doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Software and apps that help you write better are popular, but if you don’t create copy in your business, why do you need it?
As a solopreneur, you’re likely accustomed to doing everything. But there are probably some tasks that you don’t enjoy, perhaps even absolutely loathe. Like bookkeeping, or transcribing interviews, or writing sales emails. Don’t be afraid to delegate those tasks to someone else, even another solopreneur with skills in those areas.
You can increase productivity by focusing on your strengths and delegating other tasks to people who possess strengths in those areas. This doesn’t have to be a paid gig. Sometimes, family or others around you would be happy to help out just to learn about your business or help you out. Besides, you can always review the work (and you should) to ensure it meets your quality and accuracy requirements. There are also options for finding a marketing apprenticeship like GenMwhere you can pay $150 for three months and get help for up to 10 hours per week.
Schedule Time for You
Solopreneurs can easily work themselves into the ground. And no one is around to warn them about hitting the brakes. So, this is your warning. Just like you schedule time for working hours and completing certain tasks, schedule time for you. If you don’t schedule it like a business appointment or task, you will allow something else (like a business appointment or task) to bump it from your schedule.
Eat healthy foods and incorporate exercise into your daily activities. Make sure you get adequate sleep. Take the time out to rest and rejuvenate. Schedule exercise, meal, and vision breaks into your daily routine. Scheduling time for yourself (and taking it) is the best way to honor your business and your clients. If you do, you’ll be able to give the business your all and even more when it demands it.
Schedule and invest in a vacation away from work demands, if possible. Pay into a vacation fund as if it were an actual monthly expense. Get away from where you normally work and relax, eat out, have fun, and celebrate your solopreneur freedom and accomplishments. If you plan ahead for a vacation, budgeting finances and time for it in advance, you can do it.
If for some reason you cannot get away from work, at least travel to a relaxing destination and work from there. In your off hours, you can still eat great food, visit beautiful places, and engage in relaxing or fun activities. Even working from an exotic or fun location can be invigorating and refreshing, just the thing a busy solopreneur needs.
What are the best productivity hacks that work for you? Share them with our readers in the comments below!