Productivity Hacks for the Busy Entrepreneur: Quick Fixes to 5 Of Your Everyday Time Struggles

Productivity Hacks: Quick Fixes to 5 Of Your Everyday Time Struggles

This is a guest post by Mariah Tomkinson of Bloom Hustle Grow.

 

As entrepreneurs one of our most valuable resources is TIME and it can be the hardest to manage. Each of us face our own unique challenges with time management, but I bet at least one of the below time sucks impacts your day, and you might not even be aware of it. By addressing these common time sucks, you will have more time and less stress. And the solutions are easier than you think!

Here are the quick fixes to 5 of your everyday time struggles.

 

 

1. Inbox Invasion

Your email inbox is not something you want to ignore, but it’s also something that can suck away the hours faster than a GOT (Game of Thrones) marathon. Compulsively checking your inbox 50 times a day is not the way to take care of your time or business.

 

The Fix:

 

Block time in your schedule to check your email and only open your inbox during those times on a typical workday.

This not only saves you time but I bet your inbox will be less chaotic too! Like most multitasking, you are not your most efficient when you just pop into your inbox, scroll through your emails, look for those you deem “important”…maybe you respond…most likely you say,

“Oh I’ll come back to that one.”

And then you return to whatever you were working on before.

When you schedule in time to purposefully and intentionally deal with your inbox, you actually deal with the emails in front of you instead of scrolling and clicking out. Those 15-30 minutes focused on dealing with your inbox instead of the click and scroll by are way more impactful than the 2 hours you most likely accumulate if you are a habitual casual checker.

“BUT my clients expect me to respond fast.”

YES, there are going to be some days where you are waiting for an email response, and you do legit need to check your email more frequently. Most of the time #1. This is something you’ve decided is important in terms of customer service, and you’ve given it a high value.

BUT, how many times are you really responding within the hour on a consistent basis? #2. You are not setting adequate expectations when you bring on clients or appropriate systems for dealing with customers on the product side.

Think about it this way. Let’s say I’ve hired a copywriter; I don’t really want him/her to be responding to my emails within 30 minutes every time because I’m worried about them not focusing on my copy.  As long as people know what to expect as customers/clients, they are usually pretty happy.

Finally, if you are die-hard set that you do need to check your email all throughout the day that’s fine. You can set aside 10-15 minutes each hour, BUT you only check your email during that time. Checking your email is a habit, it can be used as a good productive habit or a bad distraction habit. It’s a tool of your business, not the master.

 


Further reading: [Client Case Study] How We Used a Combination of Facebook Ads and Instagram Posts to Promote JustBeU Magazine’s Print Edition Launch Party


 

2. Social Media Distraction

 

Most of what I said above about email, can be applied to your social media channels too. But I think that this habit can actually be harder to break since you don’t have just the one distraction, you have anywhere from 1 -….(I don’t know how many you have between your business + personal). I know a couple, and they have 15 channels (and no they don’t manage other people’s social media).

How many times a day do you find yourself mindlessly checking your social media channel of choice (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)? You know your mind drifts, and you find yourself phone in hand, scrolling, liking, not engaging. The random scroll is not managing your social media.

 

The Fix:

 

Block time in your schedule to dedicate to checking and engaging with your social media channels. I recommend you schedule in blocks dedicated to a specific channel, not general social media time because then you still have that impulse to like, scroll, and get distracted by the next channel or you fall into the Insta Story loop when you were supposed to be responding to your Facebook comments.

Turn off all notifications of updates for these channels.

Move your phone out of your reach while you are in work mode. Seriously, you might be surprised how this can impact your productivity!

Much like inbox management, you need to treat your social media engagement time with intention and purpose. It’s all about building a good habit around your business’s use of social media and therefore a stronger consistency.

 

3. Decision Overload

 

Sorry, I don’t have a fix where you don’t have to make any decisions.

If you’re the boss, you have decisions to make, that’s the job :). BUT to help reduce at least some of those decisions you should have a set schedule and structure for your day. Even small everyday decisions can result in decision fatigue, and as a solopreneur, you are the whole ship so reduce your decision stress by having structure and schedule to your day.

This is why Obama had only two types of suits and Mark Zuckerberg, the hoodie; they knew they needed to reserve their focus for more important decisions!

 

The Fix:

 

Embrace routines and add structure to your day as much as possible.

This works differently for different people, some of us would go crazy if we wore the same shirt every day or only ate a blueberry muffin each morning. That’s okay, you don’t have to go to the extreme!

Start small and try to recognize little annoyances.

Do you feel stressed trying to pick your lunch? Then have a set of three options to choose from or make a plan each Sunday for your lunches. I’m food obsessed, so that is where my mind goes, but it really can be anything about your day, business or personal.

Schedule out your day, no excuses. Again, this is where you are going to have to figure out your personal preference, but you 100% should have a schedule that guides your day. Scheduling does not mean you necessarily have every single hour planned down to the minute. For some, yes, this is wonderful, for others, a nightmare.

It counts as a schedule even if you choose 3 main goals you are going to complete for that day.

I’m sure you are thinking,

“That’s not really a SCHEDULE.”

BUT it’s providing structure because you know when you have a stretch of time to sit down to work, you KNOW what to reach for, you aren’t flip flopping around trying to decide what’s next.

Examine your day and find how you can improve its structure. And if you are one of those rebel types, re-frame that question and ask yourself,

“How I can make my day less stressful?”(seriously).

 


Further reading: Facebook Advertising for Beginners: Demystifying the Facebook Pixel, What, Why and How


 

4. Fixed Focus Freeze Out (i.e., the dreaded blinking cursor)

 

Forcing it when it just is not working. You know when you have a task scheduled, but the words don’t flow, or the words are just not coming out smoothly.

Stop, move to a new task. Finishing in one sitting is not the goal, the goal is to keep your tasks moving forward and reaching deadlines. Staring at your screen for two hours, hoping to finish a task that your brain is not interested in, is not going to help you.

I’m sure you just read that and said,

“What gives, you JUST said I need a schedule!?!”

Sure, I did, but here’s the thing about productivity and addressing time issues, you also need to be flexible. We are not machines and aren’t programmed to output just because the clock or our calendar says so.

 

The Fix:

 

Schedule in regular breaks to your schedule.

Science has proven that your brain needs breaks, especially when switching from one challenging task to another. If you are over scheduling tasks, then you are stressing your brain which leads to decreased focusing ability. You need to recognize when you get to that point and give yourself a break instead of trying to power through.

One of my favorite ways to make sure breaks are part of my day-to-day routine is the Pomodoro Technique! The basic technique is to work in 25-minute sprints, 5-minute breaks between sprints, and then after four sprints, you take a longer 30-45 minute break.

It makes sure you have those built in breaks, plus it’s pretty easy to trick your brain into working for ONLY 25 minutes instead of, say, finishing a 3000-word post in one sitting.

 

5. Appointments All Day

 

If your business consists of lots of set appointments, it might be hard to find time to get any other business related tasks squeezed into your day.

There are two fixes to this:

One is to reduce the need to have so many small time gaps, the second is to develop ways to make better use of those smaller gaps. There is always more than one way to look at a problem!

 

The Fix:

 

Reduce the number of meetings.

I already hear the objections. Ok, you don’t necessarily have to reduce the number of meetings, though I would highly recommend that you take a hard look at your schedule and check what meetings you might be able to combine, shorten, make virtual, or make every other week.

So, here’s the real trick to getting meetings to take up less of your time, it’s to batch them.

Maybe you only take appointments in the morning, or only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or you give yourself just a single day a week or even every other week to not have appointments. I don’t recommend you have meetings back to back all day long without any buffer because that can get stressful.

But look at how you manage appointments and see if you can tidy it up a bit to make more time between meetings.

Make better use of your gap time (i.e., the time between appointments). This one was a real game-changer for me.

If I had, say an hour, between appointments I would often find myself in the bad habit of random email checking, Facebook checking and plain old lollygagging. The fix to this is stolen from the Pomodoro technique; by using 25-minute working sprints for those shorter chunks of time between meetings. You would be surprised what you can get done in 25 minutes!

Are you sitting there thinking…

“Well, she gave us a bunch of the same tips for different problems; that’s an easy way to make this article longer.”

Sure, that’s something I might think skimming through this post. But there is a lesson behind it.

 


Further reading: [Video] How to Create a Designer Quality Infographic in Minutes Using Canva – The DIY Step by Step Guide


 

Most of your everyday productivity problems (i.e., time sucks) can be fixed by embracing and implementing a few productivity techniques. You DON’T need to create and search for a new fix to each productivity challenge you face in your day-to-day. You are going to be more productive if you embrace forming good work habits and you do that by embracing routines that support time management and productivity. Productivity is complicated, but the solutions are pretty simple, it just takes some work. Which fix are you going to try first?

Want to make your day even more productive? I have a quiz to help you discover the root cause of your productivity woes, just click here and find out what is plaguing your day.

 

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Productivity hacks for the busy entrepreneur: Quick fixes to 5 of your everyday time struggles. // Social Media with Priyanka // Full Service Digital Marketing and One On One Consulting for Small Business Owners and Solopreneurs



Productivity hacks quick fixes everyday time struggles-Mariah Bloom Hustle Grow

Mariah runs Bloom Hustle Grow, where she helps female service-based solopreneurs/entrepreneurs in all stages of business. She has a no-nonsense approach to helping you get your business strategy together, increasing your productivity, and reaching your goals faster.

She has an MBA and BS in Business with a concentration in Marketing, and has spent many years saying, “That’s a great idea, but how are we going to execute that.”