Words by Tara Wagner
How I Get More Done Than You | 7 REAL LIFE Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs
This title comes off a little more confrontational than is usually my taste, but I literally keep getting the question, “How do you get so much more done than me?” This is it. This is how I get more done than you.
I’m going to go through 7 time management tips for entrepreneurs. These are the things that I see that I tend to do differently than other people. I started doing them because I was once in that same situation and these were the things that I saw helped me to break through those bottlenecks and stop spinning my wheels.
Watch here or read below.
At one point about eight years ago or so, we were running four businesses, homeschooling our tween son at the time, and traveling full-time, which was pretty much a full-time job on its own. All of this while living with a chronic illness and a disability, which took a lot of time and wiped out a lot of energy.
Right now, I am running two businesses, spending about five hours a day just on managing my health. We run a large team as well as manage employees. We’re supporting clients and customers and we’re moving across country, which is pretty much a full-time job in and of itself.
Before I even get into these seven tips though, I want to give you a little bonus tip
I am highly connected to what I call my “WHY”. I’m very passionate about what I do and what I want to be doing, where I want my life to go. This has made me highly motivated to solve the problems around time management because I realized that if I didn’t, I was going to be spending a lot of time on things that were never going to move me forward. I have a very clear vision. I have a very strong desire to create very specific things.
That drive is really a key part to everything that I’m going to be sharing with you, and it’s definitely what led me to figure out these seven tips that I’m going to be explaining.
If you don’t have the passion and the motivation and the drive to really want to do what you say you want to do, it’s easy to blame not having enough time.
That’s said with lots of love.
I used to be in the same situation where I never felt like I had enough time and I blamed time. But the more connected I got to my WHY, the more I realized that was just wasting more time. If I was really serious about what I wanted to do, I would solve the problems and not complain about the problems.
If you also needed to hear that message, that was for you. If you just need some straight up logistics and strategies, let’s get on to those now.
Tip #1 – Ruthlessly Eliminate Distractions
My first time management tip for entrepreneurs is to Ruthlessly Eliminate Distractions.
Our time is constantly being stolen away from us by other people’s priorities. Rock on to them for having that kind of power, but rock on to us when we take it back. There are so many pulls on our energy these days, and if you are not ruthlessly eliminating any sort of distraction, you’re going to constantly be pulled in every different direction.
I can’t tell you what your distractions are. You really have to just start paying attention to what is distracting you and start solving those problems for yourself.
I can tell you what some of my distractions were:
- social media
- notifications on my phone
- people just interrupting in the middle of the day because they know that I work at home and they somehow think that that means I have so much freedom to do anything I want to do at 11 o’clock in the morning (which is the goal, but I’m not there yet).
Slowly, I just started to chip away at these things. I have a whole blog on breaking up with my smartphone. I also have a whole blog on social media rules that I follow to save time. You can check those things out.
But ultimately, it comes down to what’s causing your distractions and what are you willing to do to eliminate those distractions.
Brainstorm those problems. Be ruthless with your time, your energy, and your focus because if you’re not, no one else is going to protect it for you.
Tip #2 – Time Batching Like a Boss
Number two is Time Batching Like a Boss. I’ve written on 3 Reasons You Should be Batching as well. But let me just tell you, I don’t just batch, I micro-batch. I batch within batches, within batches. It’s like the inception of batching happening in my head.
Now, I didn’t get here overnight, but ultimately I’m always looking for ways to group like things together because I knew that most of my time was being dwindled away through transitions. Like the 20 minutes it takes to get into something, and then if you get distracted, the 20 minutes it takes to get back into something.
If I was going from one type of work to another type of work, back to the first one, I was losing a lot of time in between just in transition time.
Streamlining is probably a better way of saying this, because I do this in every area of my life.
If I need to hit 1 minute 30 seconds on a the microwave, I’m actually going to hit 90 because it’s one less of a button to push. I know it sounds a little crazy, again, I didn’t get here overnight, but this is just how I’ve trained my brain to look at things.
The more I can streamline, the more I can batch things together – anything that I can do to save a little bit of extra time – it forces my brain to get really organized and to just look at things in a different way so that I flow through my day a lot easier.
Tip #3 – time blocking like a boss
If you have no idea what time blocking is or you need some strategies to do it a little bit better, be sure to check out these links.
If you find that you are time blocking but you have a hard time sticking with it, I have a blog that I think you’re really going to enjoy because it solves the question that I get a lot, “How do I stick with time blocking? I always fall off after a couple of weeks or a couple of months.” There’s a really specific thing that you need to be doing to make sure that that doesn’t happen, and I go through that in my blog: 4 Must Do’s For CALENDAR BLOCKING to Keep Working.
But ultimately, if I were not time blocking, I would be a hot mess. I time block everything, personal and professional. I even time block open space where nothing gets time blocked. That’s actually like a time block of its own just because my brain now just functions in that type of routine.
Again, it’s really a lot of training your brain to work more efficiently.
Tip #4 – templates galore
(I had no idea that rhymed until I just wrote it.) I use templates for everything. Anything that I potentially will need to do more than one time gets turned into a template.
An example of this might be a canned response in an email.
If I know that I get certain emails on a pretty regular basis, I’m going to turn that into a canned response so that I just click a couple of things in Gmail and it populates my response. Maybe I tweak a few things and personalize it, but it’s going to save me a ton of time. We think that email only takes a couple of minutes to respond to, but when you time it, it’s usually 15 or 20 minutes to write a good email, and read through it, and then send it. Canned responses are definitely a big one for me.
Graphics are another huge one [visual in the video].
I paid somebody to create me any sort of graphic that I might need, whether it’s for Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or my thumbnails, anything whatsoever starts off as a template that we can then duplicate and tweak based on how we’re using it. That one is huge. I never want to recreate those ones from scratch. It takes so much time.
Another example would be something like website copy [visual in the video].
For instance, I have an A to Z of essential oils on my website. We created the template for those pages first, and then we went in and filled in the blanks. That moved that process along so much faster. It was easy. There’s like 111 oils that I have on that page. In a Google Doc, we created a template. It was actually broken down into a table and it had the name, the title, the this, the that, everything written out, and then all we had to do was take that table and copy it 111 times, and then just start chipping away and filling in those tables, and taking that content and filling it in to the website.
My videos all run off of a template.
My entire workflow goes off of a template.
My video scripting is all based around a template, so that I’m coming in and I already know what needs to be created.
It’s (again) just filling in the blanks. It takes a lot out of my brain so that I’m not trying to create the wheel every time.
I have templates for hashtags, for social media content calendars, for task management. You name it, if I can templify it, I’m going to do it.
#5 – Outsourcing
Number five is outsourcing. I realize that this is very difficult for a lot of business owners. You get to a point in your business where you really need to start bringing in help, but you’re not quite making enough money to do so. But if you brought in help, you could start making money to do so. #catch22
Basically my advice is just as soon as you can afford anything, even if it’s $50 a month, start putting that into outsourcing, maybe outsourcing something like templates, so that it’s going to save you a little bit more time, you can start using that time towards Income Producing Activities, and then you can reinvest what you’re receiving back into more support.
There is a place in your business for doing it all. There’s a place in your business for investing it back into help, to help you to do more of the right things.
We outsource a lot. I have a VA who is amazing. She’s working miracles. We have a video editor now who is amazing and working miracles.
Any time we can ask for support or help or get somebody else who is more skilled than us, who can do something better than us, or faster than us, we’re going to try to find those people because I want to work within my Zone of Genius. My husband wants to work within his own zone of genius, which is not my business all the time.
When we’re trying to fill in gaps just to save a buck, a lot of times it ends up costing us more money because it’s taking us away from actual Income Producing Activities, and into just the day to day processes in our business.
Again, as soon as you can start to budget anything, even if you can only save up 20 bucks at a time to outsource one thing a couple of months from now, do it because you get to get to the point of letting go of doing all the things, again, so that you can focus on the right things.There is a place in your business for doing it all. There's a place in your business for investing it back into help, to help you to do more of the right things. (Tara Wagner) Click To Tweet
Tip #6 – constantly re-assessing ROI
Number six is constantly re-assessing ROI, return on investment. This could be an investment of time, it could be an investment of energy, it can be something that we are investing maybe in terms of advertising or a strategy that we’re using.
I am always tracking and analyzing the data, the analytics, anything that I can to make sure that what I’m doing is bringing the best return possible and working at improving the things that I’m doing to increase that return.
Ultimately, what I’m doing is either eliminating what is not working or realigning myself to what is simply because it’s easy to get off track.
When I can spend a little bit of time to analyze those things and see, “hey, my time wasn’t really measuring up to how I wanted to spend it last week. What can I do to get myself back on track next week?” Those types of things are really important.
I have a blog coming up on doing those types of things, especially in regards to time. The blog’s actually around time blocking. It’s the one I mentioned earlier. If you’re interested in how I do that, how I analyze my time to make sure I’m staying on track, be sure to subscribe to me on YouTube so that you’re able to understand how I’m doing that and maybe utilize that for yourself.
It is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s taken me a long time to get to that process. But it’s those slow course corrections that have really allowed me to stay on track.
Tip #7 – Managing Myself
Then number seven might be one of the most important ones, and it is managing myself. This means managing my expectations, my thoughts and my emotions, and my energy.
There are two ways that I do this.
- one of them is through self-care
- and one of them is through mindset work.
If either of these two things are things that you struggle with, I have a freebie for you in both of them.
The first is called Self-Care in Seconds.
It’s how you can shift your mindset around self-care and also shift your self-care practices so that you can fill your cup in as little as 30 seconds.
The other one is Bottlenecks to Breakthroughs.
It will show you the things that you need to be focusing on in order to uplevel your mindset, start shifting your thoughts and emotions, and ultimately allowing you to have the energy and the focus and just be in the right frame of mind to really rock your business.
I don’t recommend grabbing both of them because, let’s face it, if we do too much at once, we do nothing at all.
Pick the one that you feel like you need the most and spend some time with it. Let me know your feedback on it. You can always come back for the other one. I’m here to answer any questions that you have on it as well.
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About the Author
I’m the breakthrough coach for self-employed women who are barely surviving their business. I help you to identify and overcome your old habits – both practical, as well as emotional and mental – learn a better way of approaching the work/life/family juggling act, and gain confidence in your new role in your growing businesses. Learn more about me here.
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