You might have caught yourself spending far too much time sending invoices, reconciling payments, responding to emails, doing marketing, creating processes, setting up systems, learning new things, unlearning old habits, trying to network etc etc etc.
The activity that you’re probably best at and what you went into business for in the first place might have taken a backseat and you don’t spend as much time on it as you’d like.
Fear not, take it from the German - efficiency is in my DNA - here are my top tips to work more effectively and efficiently in and on your business.
Use time-saving tools
Nowadays there are so many tools out there - a vast amount are even free to use - that can make your life easier and save heaps of time.
Disclaimer: All of these tools will only bring you benefit if you do commit to them and do use them regularly and as intended. It takes time to get used to something new, to create a new process and new habits around it. The beginning is always hard work and might seem like a “waste of time” or you might catch yourself thinking “oh I might as well just do it how I’ve always done it”. Don’t fall into this trap! Hang in there, learn the new tool, give it some time, and you can thank me later.
Create processes and systems
Those tools can help you with certain tasks, but the most important point in this is to stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Over the years I have many times started a process but then never actually used it. I would create a mean as spreadsheet (I’m German afterall and clearly we love our spreadsheets and everything organising) but then completely forget about it and never come back to it. Only remembering it when I’d next find some time or be in desperation to sort something out. Or even worse, not remembering it then and there, (re-)creating basically the same thing again to only later on be stumbling across the original…. Cue the forehead slap.
If it takes 2 minutes or less - do it now!!!
This is a great tip that I’ve learnt from Tim Ferris in his book “The four hour workweek”. You’ll also often hear me say this ol’ classic by Benjamin Franklin:
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today - Benjamin Franklin
Oftentimes, this is particularly effective when it comes to tackling your email inbox. A lot of tasks that get thrown to us in emails (aka someone else's agenda) can be dealt with quickly, answer the question, pay the invoice, delegate to someone else, put it in the calendar etc.
Proceed with caution though: Sometimes we might think it’s going to be a quick task but in reality it takes a lot longer OR we get sucked into something else while “quickly” taking care of that < 2 min task. I believe it is something that you’ll learn over time - what is best to do right now and what you can do later on.
Above all, I believe the most important aspect to working efficiently (and living that is) is to be intentional in everything we do. Be intentional in how you’re spending your time, be present where you’re at when you’re there. Don’t sit with your kids but think about work and don’t do “personal” errands when you’re on work hours. Don’t do something that won’t bring you closer to your goals (insert mindless facebook or instagram scrolling). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t be on Facebook, don’t binge that new series on Netflix (I watched season 1 of Emily in Paris in one day) but be intentional about it in order to make the most of your time.