As a busy solo entrepreneur and mom, I wear a lot of hats on any given day. Just as I’m writing this, my inbox is full, I just started another load of laundry, and I’m half-heartedly thinking about what we’ll have for dinner. (To be clear, I don’t say any of this to complain – it’s a gift to have a full life!)
Personally, I was attracted to entrepreneurship for the ability to have a more integrated work/life approach and I know many of my colleagues and clients are too!
That said, in order to take advantage of the benefits of entrepreneurship, I’ve had to learn some productivity hacks along the way. Here are some of my best habits that may help you too.
#1: Don’t Put Off Tasks That Take Less Than 2 minutes.
Ignored, small tasks can pile up quickly. It’s easy to procrastinate responding to an email, scanning a document, or filing something away, but I always feel worse when I do. Putting off the task ultimately adds redundant work to my plate (ever re-read the same email 3 times before responding? Yeah, me too.) and adds to my mental clutter.
My rule is, that if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, just get it done right then and there. If I’m having a particularly busy week, I set aside 10 minutes a day to clear my to-do list of these small items.
#2: Experiment with Time Blocking as a Productivity Hack
If there’s a major project I need to tackle (like writing this blog post) I’ll block out time on my calendar like I would for a client meeting. I usually choose a time block between 30 – 90 minutes. During that time I try to remove as many distractions as possible: email away, phone down (and turned over and/or silenced).
When I worked in an office, I’d set my status as “busy” on Slack. Research shows focusing on one thing at a time will help you get it done better and efficiently.
As a fun bonus, I also LOVE to use my productivity playlist for this time to hack my brain into focus mode!
#3: Regularly Invest in Education
Here’s the thing: I can either spend time (sometimes lots of it) learning how to do something myself – or I can shortcut that and learn from someone who’s already mastered it. Investing in coaches and personal development has been one of the BEST commitments I’ve made in the business. It has been scary to make some of those investments when the upfront costs are high, but it’s always paid off. Ultimately, paying for education tells my brain “this is important!” and helps me stay committed to taking action on my goals.
Self-development isn’t usually thought of as a productivity hack, but I really believe these investments have helped me hone in on what’s most important, learn some key skills from experts, and commit to an action – ultimately getting where I want to go quicker!
Looking for help? I offer a select number of 1-on-1 coaching spots each season to help entrepreneurs with their business goals! Content development, website copy, social media planning, and setting up systems are all things I’ve helped clients with in the past. Please DM me if you’re curious to learn more about current openings.)
#4: Clean Up Digital Spaces Monthly
I realized pretty quickly that wasting time searching for “that photo of a cute dog with a floral collar that looks springy” amongst dozens of unorganized folders on my desktop wasn’t the best use of my time. (That dog photo is here by the way.) Having a well-organized digital space (desktop, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) is hugely helpful to my productivity. I’m still refining my systems, but here are a few tips I’ve implemented that have helped so far:
1. Creating a Dropbox folder specifically for images I may want to use again on my website or in blog posts and including notes about who the photographer is and if I had a specific plan for the image (ex. a picture of a bride in tights for a story on winter wedding inspiration).
2. Using the “save” feature on Instagram to file posts I may want to reshare or draw inspiration from. I create separate folders for topics like audio, reel ideas, and photos to repost.
3. Planning time each month to clean up my desktop, downloads folder (it can be a hot mess), and inbox.
#5: Set Time Limits on Social Media
It may sound odd coming from someone whose job is largely built on Instagram, but I really value taking time away from my phone to recharge and ensure I’m focusing on other to-do’s. I set a daily limit on my phone (under Settings) to limit my daily time on Instagram, and really try my hardest to not “ignore the time limit” and stick to it.
I’ve only been doing this for a couple of months, but I already see the difference in how I interact with the app professionally and personally! For work, it’s forced me to give up some perfectionistic tendencies and just hit “post”. That means I’m actually able to create more content than I would have if I agonized over the same 20-second reel over and over and over. Personally, it’s been enlightening to see which accounts I value the most in this season, and it’s becoming easier to stop the mindless scrolling when I know the timer will run out! (And go do something else that’s ultimately more important.)
#6: Invest in Tools & Services
One of the life lessons I keep learning time and time again is that while I may be able to do anything (ex. write blog posts, handle client inquiries, clean my house, raise a child, etc.) it doesn’t mean I have to – or can – do everything at once. While I have invested in some virtual assistant support in my business, I’m primarily still a solopreneur. That means I touch pretty much everything in the business at one point or another. To ease this load a bit, I’ve invested in a few key tools:
- FloDesk: Hands down the best and prettiest email software I’ve used (and I’ve used a lot). Start nurturing your list today with beautiful emails you can design quickly. (Save 50% off your first year with my code.)
- Asana: I use the free version of this online project management tool and have for years! It’s primarily my to-do list and my editorial calendar, although I also use it for projects as well.
- Instacart: Ok, this isn’t specifically a business tool, but hear me out! When life gets really busy (hello, wedding planning/working wedding season/early parenthood/etc.) normal weekly routines can feel overwhelming. Those weeks, having groceries delivered straight to my door is praise-hands-emoji-level bliss and frees up mental space for other priorities at hand. (Get $10 off your first order – Visit Site)
#7: Celebrate Your Accomplishments Often
I always think I’ll remember all the projects I’ve worked on, but I don’t. When I worked for someone else, taking a few minutes each month to write down that month’s wins made my annual reviews so much easier. Now that I work for myself, this practice gives me a sense of accomplishment and gratitude, fueling me to do more! This practice is also a good reminder to myself of the work I’ve already done that could be repurposed or reshared. It’s easy to get caught in creation mode, but sometimes promoting what’s already out there (perhaps with a tweak or two) is even more effective – and more efficient!
What do you think? Do any of these productivity hacks inspire you to try something new? Do you have a great hack I missed? I’d love to learn about it!