GUEST WRITER AND BUSINESS CONSULTANT KATIE WUSSOW gives four habits that can actually be useful to improve your productivity and up your business.
Every single person in the world has the same amount of time. Have you ever thought about that? From the CEO to the high school student, the single 20-something to the parent with four kids, the early-bird to the night-owl, we all are working with 24 hours per day.
In light of this, all of us are trying to figure out how to be effective in the way that we use our time, including entrepreneurs. Being a business owner is a constant exercise in squeezing as much productivity as possible out of your working hours so that you can grow your business while still maintaining some semblance of work-life balance.
In my experience, effective time management is less about tools, tricks, and hacks and more about habits, routines, and rituals. Here are four habits that have helped me be consistently productive in my work.
In January 2018 I started recording how I use my working hours, including non-client work like bookkeeping, planning, and networking. Time tracking doesn’t directly impact your productivity, but it does give you hard data that helps you see whether you are using your time effectively.
The discipline of timekeeping has helped me in a variety of ways. I am more intentional about spending time on important, strategic things instead of reacting to what might seem important in the moment. I am less tempted to excessive task-switching and “multi-tasking.” And, I am more accountable to putting in enough hours each and every week.
Click here to read more about how time tracking has impacted my business, and how you can get started.
One of the perks of living in a condo in the city is that I get to use the basement laundry facility. When you have your own washer and dryer (and a family of four) you are constantly doing laundry, single load by single load. With my basement laundry facility, I can do four loads at a time. This means that I only have to deal with laundry two days per week. In other words, I get to batch my laundry.
Batching is the concept of grouping together similar tasks and doing them all at once. Batching saves time by eliminating the cost of task switching. It also allows you to get “in the zone” doing a particular kind of task, which can result faster, better, and more efficient work. It also preserves longer stretches of time for deep work that can’t be done in bits and pieces.
There are a ton of opportunities for batching in small business, from financial management and bookkeeping, to content creation, to email management. For more ideas on how to incorporate batching into your business, click here.
Ideal Work Week
An ideal work week sounds a little…unrealistic, doesn’t it? I mean, how many of our work weeks actually go as we plan them?
Thankfully, planning an ideal work week isn’t about making sure everything goes perfectly. The purpose of planning an ideal work week is to approach your most important resource - your time - with intentionality and thoughtfulness. It’s about doing everything within your control to make sure your schedule allows you to do your best work.
Each of my clients approaches this in their own way. I have one client who is an artist, and she does all of her administrative work on Mondays so that she can paint for the rest of the week without interruption. Another client of mine is vigilant about devoting every Tuesday and Thursday to client work; she won’t take on any non-client phone calls, meetings, or projects on those days. If I get my way, I never have phone calls or meetings in the morning when my brain is the sharpest. My morning hours are best spent on writing and other projects that require deep focus.
Read this helpful post by Michael Hyatt to learn how to develop your ideal work week.
Simply put, a Weekly Review is a time that you set aside every week to review the things that you have to do and either 1) do them or 2) make a plan to do them.
Most of us already have at least some basic systems and tools in place to organize ourselves. You probably have a calendar, some sort of to-do list, an email inbox, and maybe even a filing cabinet. We know how to get organized. But, many of us have a hard time staying organized. All of our organizational systems are meaningless if we aren’t actively reviewing, updating, and maintaining them. A Weekly Review is a habit that solves this problem.
Once a week, on Sunday evenings, I set aside around two hours for my Weekly Review. It is the most important productivity habit in my routine, and it has incredible benefits for both my work and my personal life. Click here read more about this important practice.
Where Will You Start?
These habits are not complicated, but they can have a big impact on productivity. I encourage you to incorporate them into your routine so that you can manage your time effectively.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Wussow is a consultant and coach who works with creative entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and two daughters. She blogs about entrepreneurship at katiewussow.com/blog.