You get eight hours a day but have twelve hours’ worth of work. How do you manage to get everything completed without burning out? You committed to giving it your all when you started, or when you started your business. How to you stretch the time? You don’t. You work smarter and more productively.
- Work from your strengths
- Take Breaks
- Minimize distractions
- Delegate what you can
- Leave work at work.
Prioritize what the most important tasks. Try to keep it to three. Set all other distractions away until the priorities are complete. If you need structure, then calendar your big tasks. Set a particular time frame to work on them. Scheduling will allow you to focus on the task at hand and not be drawn to the little things just now. These priorities can be a project with a deadline, a meeting, important phone calls, or writing. It depends on what type of work you are in and what your job responsibilities are.
Working from your strengths means knowing your time frames when you are strongest at certain tasks. I know I write better in the morning. I do all my typing and writing tasks them. I am better at communicating and working on the phone in the afternoons after lunch. The afternoon is when I speak with clients, prospects, and make sales calls. This schedule works well for me because of my strong times for different tasks allow me to reach my height of productivity. If you are working at your highest potential, then you will get thing accomplished in less time, thus wasting less time and getting more completed in your 8-hour day.
Take breaks. Breaks are an important part of the day. They allow you to step away from a project or assignment completed and set your mind to a new task at hand. Breaks are good for you physical, mentally, and emotionally. They break up the day into manageable sections of time. I see people that sit in one spot for 4 hours without breaking. I ask why, and they say that will not be able to get back on task. I say they are on the road to burn out.
I take ten minutes to check for family emergencies and messages, walk outside and stretch my legs. I come back in feeling more refreshed and focused then if I hadn’t taken a break. Breaks give you a chance to rest your mind, your eyes, and move your body. When is that not a good idea?
Minimize distractions. Email and the phone referred to in the business world as time vampires. They will suck your time dry. Set aside one- or two-time blocks to check and respond to important emails. Then shut it down. They will be popping up on your screen all day and will pull your attention away from what you need to be doing. The phone is the same. Everything your cell phone gives an alert it pings or vibrates or lights up. The distraction is not what you need when you are focusing on a task. Put the phone in your desk or purse. Let your friends and family know what your break and lunch time is and expect them to respect that. Give them your work number for emergencies.
For clients, you can put an autoresponder in your email or set your voice mail to let people know when you are available. Believe me, if it is important, they will leave a message. In the meantime, you get your work done. If you have an office with a door and you do not want to be disturbed for a little while, then place a polite note on the door and close it. Your coworkers will understand. Setting healthy boundaries around your work life is just as important as with our personal life.
Delegate what you can. Delegating is not about dumping the work you don’t want to do on someone else. It is about giving responsibilities to those who are better suited to do them. I lawyer should not be answering his phone and setting his appointment. Delegating is good leadership and team player strength. You do not have to do everything yourself. It is easy in small business to think that if you want it done right, do it yourself. A Lawyer answering his phone, at $200 per hour, doesn’t make sense when a receptionist can do this for $13 per hour. Time is money. How do you want to spend yours?
If you do not have a staff, then you can easily outsource in today’s virtual marketplace. Outsourcing will save you time to be productive in the areas you need to be working on running your business successfully.
Areas you can outsource:
- Receptionists to answer your phones
- Setting appointments
- Checking emails
- Writing promotional materials
- Social media
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- The list goes on
Leave work at work. When your day is over at the office, leave work at work. I know if you have a high stress job, it can be difficult, but you need to find ways to do just that. You need a break after hours, and your family needs you present. The thing I do is I listen to books on my way home. They take me to different places and times. I enjoy them. By the time I get home, I am ready to focus on my family, my dog, and the events of a family evening. I’m not sitting at home stewing over what didn’t go right that day at the office.
What if you work from home? Schedule your work time. When it is over, turn off your phone (you have voice mail) and shut down the computer. Close the door if you can.
I keep a weekly calendar that lists 7-days by hours. I have my times blocked off as “ME” time, work, family, and my coaching. They are all color coded, and everyone knows when I am at any task. It asks them to respect my time in my home office, my alone time, and when I am available for family time. It also holds me accountable to them that I do not go over, unless they are busy, which is easy to do with a side job.
Monday is business day at Exceptional YOU since your work life is a part of the whole Holistic focus of a balanced Life. I hope some of these tips are helpful. Please leave a comment below. If you have more helpful suggestions, please share.
Love and Blessings,
Ashley J Spurgeon