Once you realize your time is way more valuable than money you will be looking for ways to work more efficiently. Then you can put that extra time to the aspects of your business you love doing, not the ones you dread! Below are my list of 13 ways to streamline your business, or your work day, and in result save you valuable time.
1. Start your day feeling refreshed.
When you are well rested you work more efficiently and therefore get more done in a day. Go to bed an hour earlier to be more productive throughout the day and feel better physically and mentally. Not only will you work quicker but you will be thinking clearer and produce better work and ideas.
2. Create a strategy and a timeline.
You have a passion you want to turn into a business or a career. The dream is clear in your head, but the steps to get there are not. The first step after realizing what you want to pursue is to create a strategy for how to get there, and a timeline. Every step you take is moving you forward and time isn't wasted on tasks that do not push you in the direction you want to go.
Maybe your plan includes going back to school, or interning for a company one day you want to work for. What ever those necessary steps are write them out and a date you want to achieve it by. Long term planning can save you from spending time on pursuing paths that won't help you achieve your ideal career.
3. Make a to do list.
A to do list is a great tool for short term time management. After you determine your end goal and the strategy and timeline, you can break down those tasks into small manageable amounts of work to complete.
You will quickly realize your list of things to do can add up quickly, and feel a bit overwhelming. But now when you have a spare 30 mins you can look to your list and see what you can get done in that time.
A rule about using a to do list, complete what is most urgent and most important first. Also you know that task you are dreading to do? Get in done first thing in the morning and you will feel relieved to have that off your plate before you move onto the next task.
4. Cook meals ahead of time.
Grocery shopping, cooking and going out to eat take quite a bit of time to do and interrupt your day. One way to resolve that issue is to prepare meals ahead of time.
Set aside an afternoon to plan your meals and buy all your food for the week. Then prepare meals ahead of time. You can cut up produce, package snacks, or cook a batch of a dish to have left overs throughout the week. This is especially helpful when you work from home.
5. Create visual brand guidelines.
Once you have a logo, choose a selection of fonts and colours that represent your brand aesthetic. Stick with these and use them for any graphic media you put out for our audience to see. This keeps your branding consistent and you also don't have to spend extra time making daily changes and decisions.
6. Brainstorm blog content.
I've set aside an hour and brainstormed 30 different blog post ideas, then when I go to write I have a list to choose from. This allows me to write about whatever peaks my interest that day, and I don't have to wrack my brain trying to think of something useful and interesting to write about.
7. Create your blog graphics in a batch.
After you have done #5 and #6, this becomes very easy.
Combine your fonts and colours and maybe even a photo to create a graphic with the blog post title. I create a bunch at once when I know my topics.
Here are some of my examples. You can see how each design is different but still cohesive.
8. Schedule your social media posts.
My goodness, this makes life so much easier!
Right now I only schedule my Facebook page, but I preplan my Instagram posts and have my photographs saved to my phone. A lot more thought goes into my social media now that I use it to connect on a professional level because I want the focus to be on my photography. This definitely helps save time by not having to think about your daily posts to social media.
9. Promote on best performing social media platforms.
How many social media platforms are out there? Too many to keep track of.
You won't be able to be active on every platform so instead select a few to focus your time and energy. Preferably choose the platforms where your target audience spends their time or where your marketing efforts are well received.
10. Limit time spent on social media.
Time easily slips away while on social media. There is so much content thrown our way it is hard to resist. An obvious way to save time is to limit your time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc.
Go in with a time limit. Otherwise next thing you know, it is 4am and you were only planning on browsing briefly before going to bed.
11. Break up the day.
Ever sit in front of your computer screen trying to get work done, then a couple hours goes by and you have nothing to show for it?
I know personally I experience this feeling mid afternoon. What I find that works is to change up the task I am working on. Stepping away from the screen and doing something active, like errands or a coffee run, helps clear my head and then I can start fresh afterwards. This way I am still being productive during the day.
12. Set aside time to answer emails and return phone calls.
Answering phone calls and emails are short, frequent interruptions that happen throughout the work day. They cause you to loose your train of thought and stop working on the task at hand.
To prevent this from consuming a lot of your time I suggest setting aside an hour or so at the start of your day to answer any emails received from the night before and check it again in the evening before you call it quits for the day.
Answering your emails twice a day is plenty, for most entrepreneurs anyhow. Plus you don't want your clients getting used to an immediate response in case you are unable to be as attentive in the future.
13. Track your site traffic on Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a wonderful (and free!) tool to use for your website or online business. It allows you to track your most visited pages to see what your audience is interested in. For example, I can see which blog posts are most popular on Charuk Studios and I can write new posts about similar topics.
You can also see where your traffic is coming from. For example if you receive quite a bit of traffic from a referral website then you know to continue marketing through those avenues.
What are your tips to save you time while working?