Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats – they need to service clients and customers; network for partnerships and referrals; juggle family responsibilities (and sometimes, the kids’ snow days , half days, sick days); manage employees;market their business, etc., etc., etc.
We are all always looking for an edge and ways to fit more into our day and be more productive.
So we decided to ask a group of business owners – in this case, the members of the MetroWest Women’s Network – how they stay sharp, effective and efficient. Women from a diverse set of industries shared their hacks for getting things done - check out their advice below.
Invest the time to put systems in place.
I believe having documented systems are a huge time saver. They take all the guess-work out of what’s now and what’s next. Not having to think through and create the wheel every single time saves tons of time. It also has the side bonus of keeping the team on the same page, and making sure every client has the same awesome experience.
Tracey Ingle, Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney, Ingle Law
Remember, no one can do it all.
The most counter-intuitive hack that I use is to NOT multitask! When I work on one and only task at a time, I find that I am much more productive. For example, I may spend 20 minutes on collections and force myself not to be distracted by texts, calls, e-mails.
When I look at my 12 year career as the owner of Noteworthy Experiences, we have experienced our biggest growth spurts immediately after I have made the decision to "spend money to make money." I heard a friend once say she "outsourced the weaknesses" and it truly worked. For example, when I converted to Quickbooks, and again when I hired an Office Manager, the studio grew significantly.
Have you ever felt like you were busy all day, but at the end of the day felt like you accomplished nothing? It happens so often in business and in life. The top 3 tips for being productive, getting more done in less time are: 1. Be present with each task - full focus on the task. 2. Create Blocks of time specific to each task to allow your undivided attention to go to the task at hand and 3. Choose your workload for detailed work to be scheduled at YOUR most productive time of day.
I am writing a book and my editor told me to always stop writing while I’m still excited about it. If I don’t want to stop, that is the time to stop. I’ve found that this tip helps me in my business, as well. I stop when I’m deeply engaged in a task, and when I do, it’s much easier to get back to it and tear through it when I sit down to work again.
Look for Marisa's book, "Seeking: A Wine-Drenched Journey to Enlightenment," coming soon.
Health, wellness and self-care are critical
It's important for me to wake up and go to sleep around the same time each day to remain productive. I get up around 6 am, help get my teen boys off to school, have coffee and get some work done. After training clients and working all day, my evenings are spent with my boys and preparing for the next day. I get to sleep between 9 and 10 pm and make sure I get at least 8 hours of sleep each evening. In addition to my regimented sleep schedule, daily exercise and eating whole, nutritious foods keeps me feeling fulfilled, focused and motivated.
Get organized, and don’t forget about work-life balance
Staying on task and keeping myself more effective at work definitely takes an effort when running my own business. There are many different areas to focus on as a photographer. I try to make a list at the beginning of the week to divide my time for the upcoming week. I allocate my time between networking, marketing, session planning, shooting and processing. Having a list keeps me organized and I also love checking completed tasks off my list to keep me motivated and to give me a sense of accomplishment in my day.
I also am mindful of keeping balance between my business and my family life, which can also be challenging when having a home office, by having a set schedule for working hours. As a mother of five this can also be dictated by how loud my house is when school gets out!