Solopreneurs often bemoan the fact that their to-do lists are miles long and they wish they had more time in the day to get all their tasks done. Add in the number of clients they have to serve during the week and the stress can become overbearing. Even though we all have only 24 hours in each day, here are some strategies for working more efficiently so it feels like we’re gaining extra time.
1. Use the Time Blocking Method on Your Calendar
Time blocking simply means assigning a block of time to one particular client, project, or task. For instance, if you have back to back coaching calls, block that time off on your calendar and focus on those calls. If you need time to write your signature product, block off 2-3 hours on your calendar. If you’re a visual learner, use Google Calendar to make colorful time blocks, such as a different color for each client. Forget about the whole idea of multitasking, too; studies have proven that people are more efficient when they focus on a single project or task at a time.
2. Track Your Hours and Tasks to Determine Your Distractions
Distractions are everywhere, especially if you work in a home office. But even necessary tasks, like social media posts, can become a distraction if you start to meander through your newsfeed, take silly quizzes, or watch funny cat videos. If you’re not sure where you’re losing time or what your distractions are, try using the My Hours app. Start the timer at the beginning of each task and at the end to see how long it takes you to complete. Even if your mom calls during the day, start the timer. You can see at the end of the day what you accomplished and how much time you spent on these tasks. Then you can tell your mom not to call during business hours and you can save your social media distractions for the evening hours, too.
3. Don’t Overestimate How Much You Can Do in One Day
It’s hard not to think we can barrel through our lengthy to-do list in one day. We just want it done so we can start the next day with a clean slate. But we still only have 24 hours in a day so instead of becoming stressed about the tasks, try implementing the 1-3-5 rule. Choose 1 large task and get started on that first thing in the morning. Choose 3 medium-sized tasks and 5 small tasks. As you finish each one, cross if off your list for a visual representation of your productivity. Try melding this method with the time block method for ultimate productivity.
One More Time-Gaining Solution: Hire a TeamDelegating your small, mundane, behind-the-scenes-of-your-business tasks to an assistant is another way to gain more time in your day. You can focus on the bigger, money-making tasks while she focuses on the smaller tasks.