In today’s episode, I’m sharing with you six simple time-saving tips for entrepreneurs.
If you feel like there just isn’t enough time to get everything done, this is going to be really helpful for you.
Let’s dive in!
It can be really easy as a business owner and entrepreneur to believe that there just is not enough time for us to do all the things we need to do to achieve the goals that we want to achieve.
However, we also need to make a decision about whether we want to keep that belief. Do you want to continue to believe that there’s just too much to do and not enough time? Or do you want to let it go and find a way to prioritise and get the things done that are going to move your business forward quickly?
What I wanted to do in this episode was just share with you my six simple time-saving tips for entrepreneurs, so that if you are finding yourself really struggling to get everything done in the time that you have available, you can take your power and control back and make some important decisions about how you are going to move forward.
Rather than keeping yourself trapped in this cycle of believing that there’s just not enough time, take back that power and accept and acknowledge what limited time you have available, and how you can maximise the effectiveness of that time.
Here are my six tips for you…
If you missed last week’s episode of the podcast, I shared with you my quarterly business plan on a page process. That is one of the most powerful ways that I can help people to prioritise their strategy and actions in their business.
Not everything is urgent and important.
Not everything is a priority.
Priority is singular. There hadn’t been a plural of the word priority up until the 80s when they started saying priorities.
Priority is the original word. It means THE most important thing.
When it comes to focusing your time and ensuring that you are saving time in your business, be clear on: What is the most important thing for you to achieve or do today?
I use a simple planning system that, with just a little bit of time and energy, helps me to focus on the exact things I need to get done each day.
The more I talk about and teach the Heart-Centred Business Planning system, the more that it magnetises and draws people into learning about and playing with this system and this process. Its job is to make it clear as you sit down to work in your business, what is the most important thing for you to do today?
The more that you can have that answer in front of you quickly and easily, the less likely you are to get distracted by the things that keep you busy but don’t necessarily move your business forward.
Remember: Prioritising is an action word – it is something that takes practice, and it’s a skill that you need to develop.
It’s no good to keep saying that you’re bad at prioritising, and continuing to embed that belief about yourself.
Instead, tell yourself that you are learning to prioritise. You are practising. And then get on with practising!
It’s not something you’ll naturally be good at. It’s not something that comes to you when you’re born.
It is something that is a skill that you need to learn and develop.
If you need help with learning how to prioritise and practising that skill, get the help that you need. It is something that’s going to be critical to your business as you move forward.
You are the CEO of your business. This is a skill that’s non-negotiable.
Do what you need to do to learn what you need to learn.
2. Set boundaries
I love using a timer for this (whether it’s a timer on my phone or on my watch). I am someone who very consistently is asking our friend Siri to help me by setting a timer for something.
When I sit down to do something, I set boundaries around how long I’m going to give it.
I talk about this quite a lot in planning as well. There are a lot of people that I work with in business planning who actually spend more time planning what they’re going to do than actually doing it.
The antidote to that is to boundary your planning time.
There are people I work with whose newsletter takes them four hours a week to create, write and get it out. The powerful way that we reduce the time that they spend on that task is by setting a boundary and setting a timer.
Practice getting things done quicker and quicker.
Remember Parkinson’s Law: A project will expand to take up the time that is given to it.
If you allocate four hours a week to writing your emails, you will invest four hours a week writing your emails.
If you want to reduce that time, then set better boundaries around that time. Allocate three hours and get what you can done in that time.
The next week, allocate two hours. Then 90 minutes. Then 75 minutes… and so on.
The more you create boundaries around your time and your tasks, the more you will find you’re able to actually focus and get it done. Particularly if you turn off those distractions, you’re very clear on the one thing you’re going to get done within that timeframe, and you sit down and actually focus on that thing.
For those people who are working with ADHD or other neurodiversities, I find this is really helpful because it allows you to get into hyper-focus time without letting it absorb and take up all of your day.
Setting those timers and boundaries is a great hack for those people who may struggle with focusing at all, or going into hyper-focus mode.
Setting timers is a really powerful way to set those boundaries and ensure that you don’t get sucked into the vortex there.
Practice playing with different boundaries and setting timers for tasks in your business.
I used to think that recording podcast episodes was a whole day’s exercise. Today, I’ve set a boundary of 90 minutes of recording podcasts, and I’ll probably get two or three podcasts done in that period of time.
Once that 90 minutes is up, the 90 minutes is up.
I can then make a decision: Is it important and a priority for me to continue going if I’ve got myself on a roll? Or am I going to honour that boundary and stop for today, knowing that I’ve got podcast recording time set in my calendar for next week?
Set those little boundaries.
It could be around some of the weirdest and most wonderful things. You might set a timer for 15 minutes of emails in the morning, and then 25 minutes of social media time.
Just setting those timers and setting those boundaries allows you to allocate appropriate times. And it really does save time! You’ll be surprised what you can get done in those limited timeframes that you set for yourself.
One last thing I want to say about this is to remember The Pareto principle: 20% of what you do gets you 80% of your results.
When it comes to setting those boundaries and timers, the resistance is often that the job won’t be good enough and it won’t be perfect. But I think we need to become really comfortable with just getting it done to that 80% standard.
Your 80% standard is someone else’s 150% standard.
We all set very high standards for ourselves. You need to remember that your half-assed is someone else’s best effort.
I understand that we want to show up and create quality content and give quality results. But what you can create in 20 minutes is 80% of the way there. Getting to the 100% mark where it’s absolutely perfect, will take you an extra eight hours. Is that eight hours well spent? Or would you be better off just getting 80% of the way there with a 20-minute timed boundary?
Then you get it out in front of the world and let go of that perfectionism.
Remembering: Good enough is good enough.
One of the biggest time-saving tips for entrepreneurs that I can give you is letting go of perfectionism.
3. Batch like-tasks together
Today, I’m batching up some podcast episodes.
Not only that, when I batch up podcast episodes, I get in real content creation mode.
I will be in content creation mode for an extended period of time today. I’ve got 90 minutes set for recording podcast episodes, but the next 90 minutes are clear in my calendar. I can make a decision then about whether or not I’m in the mood for creating more content.
I might sit down and create some Instagram posts, or maybe I’ll take some selfies while I’ve got my lipstick on that I can use on an ongoing basis in my business.
I’m in content creation mode, I’m in being of service mode, so it’s a really good time for me to batch up those activities that are similar seeing as I’m in the right zone for it.
Doing a few Facebook Lives goes really well with my batching. Writing email sequences goes really well with my batching.
I find that grouping like-tasks together can be really helpful.
Similarly, if I’m working on admin stuff behind the scenes in my business, and I’m in tidying/decluttering mode, I will group decluttering tasks together.
I might set a timer and do 30 minutes of digital decluttering in my Dropbox or inbox. Then when the timer goes off, I’ll do 30 minutes of decluttering in my office. Then 30 minutes of decluttering my calendar and cleaning out a bunch of stuff that I pencilled in but don’t necessarily want to do anymore.
I’m batching up all my:
- Decluttering tasks
- Content creation tasks
- Admin tasks together
- Client-facing time
I’m someone who likes to have two client-facing days a week, and three non-client facing days in my working week. (I work five days a week at this point in time.)
For me, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are NOT client-facing time. They’re behind the scenes, creating content and doing admin-type things.
This allows me to be in the right zone, and batch those things up together.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are my client-facing times. On most Tuesdays and Thursdays, I generally have three sessions a day. It may be one group call and two VIP calls, or two group calls and one VIP client.
I don’t have a lot of client-facing calls in a single day. I’m not saying that nine client sessions back-to-back is a good idea for me, because it definitely isn’t. But I do like to keep my client facing days batched.
Other people like to spread their client facing days out, and that’s not something they want to group together or batch. That’s totally fine! Just get really clear on what tasks go with what.
When you’re in the mood for one thing, what else are you in the mood for that you could batch up and do together?
That’s a great thing to look at when thinking about these time-saving tips for entrepreneurs.
This is such a major one of my time-saving tips for entrepreneurs. It’s probably the most powerful one because one of the most powerful things you can do is cross things off your list.
You might have had on your list for three years that you want to write a 12 email onboarding sequence for people who join your mailing list. In the meantime, you’ve just got a single email.
That single email is doing its job and people reply to it. It might just need a little tweak or a little change. Why not eliminate the 12 email sequence task, and instead, set a timer for 15 minutes and look at how you could update and improve that single email. Then leave it. It’s done.
If it continuously falls to the bottom of your list, either it’s not a priority, or you’re in avoidance mode.
Sometimes it’s just not a priority for you to get it done.
Sometimes you know you’re never going to finish it. It’s okay not to finish things!
I think one of the biggest things I’ve ever done for myself from a mindset perspective is forgiving myself for being a starter-initiator, and not being a completer-finisher.
There are dozens of projects, freebies, tools, templates, courses, books, ideas, businesses and websites that I have started over my nine years as an entrepreneur that I have never finished.
I’m cool with that.
I used to see it as a moral failing that I wanted to start so many things and had so many ideas that I never finished.
These days, I’ve recognised that that’s actually one of the joys of being an entrepreneur.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m such a great entrepreneur and I’m really good at ideation strategy and helping people get clear on what their pathway is. I’m really good at coming up with stuff, I’m a really good wordsmith, and I’m really good at creating content.
Rather than seeing my inability to finish things/my resistance to finishing projects as a moral failing, instead, I just see it as one of those personality traits that makes me a really good entrepreneur.
It also means that I’m really clear on what I need from my team. My team is full of completer-finishers, and people who can help me to overcome some of those challenges when there is a priority.
It also gives me permission to not finish things.
I definitely grew up with the belief that if you start reading a book, you have to finish it; if you go to a movie, you can’t walk out halfway; if you start watching a TV series, you have to watch the entire thing.
I think Netflix has really helped me overcome this because there are so many things that I’ve started and then realised that it really isn’t a priority for me to finish it.
I’m allowed to do that.
The plethora of options that we have available to us – especially with streaming and content consumption – means that more and more we’re not necessarily worried about not finishing stuff.
When I think about my upbringing, books were something that we had plenty of, but it was limited supply. There was a limit to the number of books that we had available to us. You didn’t want to take any of them for granted, and you needed to finish everything that you started.
I remember several times as a teenager where I would read a book and then realise that it was the first book in a series, and I would feel obligated to finish the entire series, even if I didn’t enjoy it. These days, I am willing to let go of things more.
There is definitely some mindset work around that. I’m allowed to not finish things, and it is NOT a moral failing.
It’s the same with telling my audience about something that I want to do.
Before COVID, I was talking about running a summit for some of my clients. Then COVID hit, all of these summits started coming up, people got a little summit-weary, so I changed my mind about running a summit. That took a lot of forgiveness for me to let that go and accept the fact that it was a shiny object that didn’t feel right to me anymore.
Sometimes we feel like we’ve made this giant commitment, and people are going to hate on us if we don’t follow it through.
We have a lot of stuff from our upbringing or from our experiences when we first joined the workforce, about what it means to not finish something. We so often believe that we’re letting everyone down by making a strategic decision to eliminate something from our to-do list.
That’s not always the case.
Even if some people are disappointed, you need to make decisions about what is a priority for you and what isn’t. You’re allowed to change your mind.
That’s the fourth of my time-saving tips for entrepreneurs. Go through and be brutal with your to do list. Allow yourself the freedom and the gift of crossing a bunch of stuff off it.
The more you focus down on nailing a few things, the more effectively you’re going to be able to really achieve those big goals that you want to achieve.
I think a lot of people leave this longer than they should. They figure that since they can do it themself, it would be a waste to pay someone else to do it.
But for most people, you are ready to outsource far more than you’re outsourcing right now.
It’s time for you to make it a priority to get someone else to come in and help you to complete some things.
Free up your time!
A smart entrepreneur transitions from investing time to make money, to investing money to save time.
Let’s say you’re only bringing in one VIP client per month. Even with that, you could be allocating 10% of your top line income to reinvesting into outsourcing in your business.
Outsourced hours have a very strong return on investment. NOT from what the person does, but from what you do with the time that you saved.
The value of outsourcing is not what that person generates and does for you. The value of outsourcing is what that person does and generates for you, combined with what you achieve in the time that you’ve saved.
It has a double return on investment.
That’s where people really underestimate how powerful outsourcing really is.
One of the big returns on investment in outsourcing that I experienced was that it made me prioritise more effectively. When I first started outsourcing, I was just handing over big piles of hot mess to them and expecting them to figure it out.
It really made me review, prioritise and get focused on what it actually is that I want my team to be doing for me. What are the priorities that we’re working towards? And how can we move there as quickly as possible?
Outsourcing is one of my BIGGEST time-saving tips for entrepreneurs.
I facilitate co-working time with my mastermind. In that co-working time, I’m holding space for them to get stuff done, and I’m answering their questions, doing reviews of their sales pages and emails and all those sorts of things.
But I also get a LOT of stuff done in co-working time.
Even when I’m the co-working facilitator.
For me, the power of co-working is simply just that commitment to putting the time aside, and that sense of accountability.
Where I’m not the space holder, I leave my camera on because I know if I feel like I’m being watched, I’m going to stick to the task and get it done.
Sometimes that’s just what I need to make sure that I’ve completed the things that are important and priorities for my business.
If you’ve never done co-working before, I highly recommend you jump into some spaces where co-working is offered.
I know that in the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs group, Claire Riley offers co-working with her Batch It Crazy program. Bev Roberts also has a membership coming out soon that’s focused on list growth, and it’s got some co-working time to get your list growth stuff done.
There are people who run memberships and masterminds with co-working sessions included.
My masterminds also include co-working.
If you’re looking for a space where you can have that facilitated time where everyone’s in the room making a commitment to what they’ll get done in that short burst of time, then I do recommend finding a co-working space or a co-working facilitated digital space and have a play with that.
It is so powerful. I get so much done in co-working.
Those are my six simple time-saving tips for entrepreneurs:
1. Prioritise – what is it that you’re doing?
2. Set boundaries around your time – make sure you use timers!
3. Batch like-tasks together
4. Eliminate a bunch of stuff off your to-do list
5. Outsource – hire team members, get someone else to do things for you
Not all strategies work for all people, but these six time-saving tips for entrepreneurs are things that you can experiment with and try out to help you get more done in less time.
The last thing I want to say is that the clearer your plan and the more confident you feel about that plan, the less likely you will be lured by sexy but ultimately time-wasting distractions.
If you find yourself being lured in to watching a bunch of different webinars from different providers that are all sending you off on a wild goose chase, and you’re feeling drawn out and looking to the external for answers about what tasks you should be doing, ask yourself, what is my plan? Why am I not confident in it? Why am I allowing myself to be distracted from it?
It’s a really powerful journaling exercise that you can do to get yourself back on track and build your confidence in your plan and stick with it.
I’ve got a juicy little call to action for us today!
As a result of this podcast, I bet you’ve got lots of #ButTash‘s and questions, or advice and tips that you want to share with the rest of us. That’s why I’ve created a #PinnedPod post in the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group so that we can continue the conversation about time-saving tips for entrepreneurs.
I want you to come over to that #PinnedPod post, and let us know in the comments:
1. Which of those six time-saving tips for entrepreneurs do you think you want to experiment and play with?
2. What is actually drawing you away from the things you want to be doing in your business?
3. Any time-saving tips that you want to share to help people in the Heart-Centred community
Make sure you come along to that #PinnedPod and share with all of us so that we can all benefit from each other’s wisdom and experience.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my six time-saving tips for entrepreneurs.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.