As busy entrepreneurs, time is our most valuable resource. We never have enough time and we are always longing for more when our to-do list starts stacking up. But the tricky thing about time is…we can’t create it or change it or magically find ways to go back in it (unless you are Albus Dumbledore of course ⏱️💥)
So, if we can’t add more time to our day, what CAN we do?
We can implement strategies in our business to be more efficient, consistent and mindful of how we are spending each day.
Over the years, I’ve compiled a list of time-saving hacks that work for me and my businesses and I want to share with you here. While this isn’t a magic wand or miracle solution to our busy lives as entrepreneurs, these strategies have saved me hours (like THOUSANDS of hours) in my business.
I’ve become more aware of where I am spending my time (and wasting it). And, I’ve learned how to set priorities in my personal life and business so I can focus on what’s important. Because, when I save time in my business, I have more time for the things I love in life. Family, friends, happy hours, vacations, hobbies, sleep…freedom from my to do list 🙌
And that’s the true entrepreneur dream that I live by here at Laura Lee Creative. Less work, more life!
So without further ado, my list of 25 time saving hacks for busy entrepreneurs!
#1 – Create a Morning Routine
Create a morning routine with a checklist of things you KNOW you’re going to do (make your bed, prep a smoothie, brush teeth, journal for 10-minutes, etc). Now imagine doing all of that and crossing it off on a to-do list! You’ve only been awake for 20 minutes and you already got 7 things done!! Seriously. Don’t blow this one off, it works.
#2 – Create Your To-Do at the End of the Day for the Following Day
When everything is fresh in your mind at the end of the day, grab your notebook and make a quick to do list for the following day. Then, the next day, you don’t waste any time backtracking and figuring out where to start. It’s all right there for you as soon as you open your computer.
#3 – Batch Tasks
Let’s face it, multitasking doesn’t work. You end up spending more energy trying to switch your brain off and on to each different task that it reduces your productivity significantly. Instead, take your list of tasks and batch those that are similar into one time block (more on that below). That way, you are in the zone and focused the entire time on one set of tasks that are related to one another (e.g culling, social media content, blogging, etc)
#4 – Take breaks
It’s easy to work work work work work when we’re at home. Especially when we run a business, because us working usually has a direct result on our income. Plus, there’s usually a lot on our plate! BUT, I think it’s so important to take breaks, because honestly, our brain cannot focus all day long!
#5 – Automate Client Work with Workflows
Oh boy! You’ve probably heard me say it before but automation is your KEY to success in saving time, money and sanity when it comes to client work. Do yourself a HUGE favor and take a look at a few other posts I’ve written about workflows. They are a LIFESAVER for any business owner, especially creatives.
Laura Lee Creative Blog Resources – Workflows:
#6 – Set a Timer
Multi-timer or Focus Keeper are my go-to apps for timing myself on projects and tasks. Not only do I use a timer to track how long it takes me to complete a task, I also set time limits for myself and work diligently to “beat the clock”. I’ve even found that the quality of my work is BETTER when I am laser focused and working towards a goal!
#7 – Use Email Templates
I made a hard rule for my business that if I had to write an email more than once, it became an email template. Now, I have a WHOPPING 174 email templates for my business. With the template, I can easily tweak and customize every time I send it out. This way, I don’t waste HOURS in my email inbox every day. Just a few clicks of a button and I can get through emails in a flash.
BONUS FREEBIE: Click the image below to grab the exact written copy for all 10 email templates that every photography must have! I’ll email you a PDF with the templates inside so you can start using them today!
#8 – Delegate
Delegating is such an important skill not only in business but also in your personal life. Are their things on your plate you can delegate to your assistant (or to your husband). Just remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Ask for help 🙂
#9 – Eliminate Distractions
This is a big one. And as I’m writing this blog post, I’m sitting out by my firepit and there is SO MUCH white noise! It’s delightful!. The world is quiet, and I can write in peace.
A few other ways I manage my distractions are:
- Newsfeed Eradicator: This hides your FB newsfeed and replaces it with an inspirational quote.
- Do not disturb: When I want to buckle down and do work I put my phone on do not disturb.
- Self Control App: SelfControl lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.”
- Put headphones in – it blocks out all the little noises popping up around you that can break your focus
#10 – Find Your Most Productive Hours
We all consider ourselves either one or the other: a morning person or a night owl, or maybe even somewhere in between. There are certain times of day I’m better at writing, and certain times I’m better at creating. And then there are certain times I dedicate to email when my brain doesn’t need to focus on things like writing or being creative!
#11 – Time Block
Recently, I created a weekly task template in my task management system, ClickUp. I simply duplicate it each week and write the tasks for each “block” in the subtasks of the card. Or, I can refer to the “my tasks” section of ClickUp for time blocks like writing content. Or, I go to the tasks section in HoneyBook for time blocks like photography client work. Then, I assign actual times to each major task or project so I have a deadline to work towards.
#12 – Done is Better Than Perfect
This needs little to no explanation other than: perfectionism is a time management killer. My business coaches always tell me that done is better than perfect and they’re so right! If we waited around until everything was perfect, we’d never put content out into the world! So get that blog post written, get that instagram post up, publish your website, launch that workshop. Done is better than perfect, and the world doesn’t expect, (OR WANT) you to be perfect anyway. Just SHOW UP.
#13 – Set Deadlines
Just like setting a timer for smaller tasks, I also set deadlines for the larger projects. That way, I know, by the end of the week, I need to have X done. It helps me hold myself accountable for moving the needle forward on everything I am working on in my business.
#14 – Be Realistic about What You Can Accomplish in a Day
Don’t overload yourself. It’s not only discouraging but it also takes away from your productivity throughout the day. Set realistic goals for yourself each day and reach them. You will feel accomplished and motivated at the end of the day to do it all over again!
#15 – Do What’s Necessary and Cut Out the Fluff
Last year, I read a quote that hit me like a ton of bricks: it said “Are you being productive or are you just being busy?” Honestly, a lot of the time, we’re just being busy! Scrolling social media, checking email 25 times a day, writing and re-writing to do lists, reading and writing and rewriting emails 5x over before sending. Prioritize what’s important and eliminate the fluff.
#16 – Create a Someday or “Later” List and a Major Project List
These are all the tasks you want to get done but don’t require urgency. Because despite what you may think, NOT everything needs to be done right now.
#17 – Transfer One Task At a Time to a Paper List
Now, this one won’t apply to everyone but if you can be scatterbrained and jump from task to task without fully completing any, listen up! I take the daily lists on my ClickUp board and write them down ONE AT A TIME on a paper to-do list. This sits on my desk so I’m always staring at it and I’m only working on one “To-do” at a time. Once that item is complete, I cross it off, go to my ClickUp board to see what the next task is and write it down on my paper list.
#18 – Say No
As you increase your client base and build a reputation for your business, you will start to receive more requests from new clients or fellow entrepreneurs who want to work with you. If one additional client or coffee chat is going to distract or divert you from your goals, it’s okay to say no.
#19 – Eliminate negative energy
This one is a bit of a heavy hitter but it’s important. Nothing will drain your energy faster than negative people in your circle or content on social media. Stay focused on positive growth and tune out the negative stream of information (or even people in your life) who take away from your success.
#20 – Get Moving
Whether it’s a walk at lunch time or a morning workout class, you will get your blood pumping and improve your focus throughout the day. No more 3pm slumps or lazy afternoons. Hit the ground running everyday, all day with a little exercise.
#21 – Address problems or issues immediately
When problems arise address them right away instead of waiting (and possibly making the problem worse). Plus, if you have a problem hanging in the back of your head that you need to address, it’s going to suck time and productivity from what you are doing at that moment.
#22 – Avoid unnecessary meetings
Oy – this is also a big one! Make sure you are not filling your day with meetings that can be accomplished with a simple Slack message or email. Prioritize productive, important meetings with agendas + actionables and eliminate the rest.
#23 – Write out your wins for the day
At the end of the day, write a “reverse to-do list”. Rather than everything you have to-do, write out all the things you accomplished! That will be sure to make you feel satisfied when you go to bed, and it’s also awesome to read yesterday’s accomplishments when you’re making today’s to-dos so you can build off of the previous day’s positive momentum.
#24 – Set Reminders
Need to share a file with your assistant? Want to send a thank you note to a client who sent you a nice gift? Set reminders for everything! Hey, that leads me to my new one! You can do this easily in your task management system so you don’t forget the simplest of tasks (or lose that dang post-it note).
#25 – Use a task management system
Simply put, task management systems are the first step to shifting from overwhelmed to organized. And best of all, most of them are FREE. My task management system is the hub for everything related to both of my businesses. I use it religiously to create new projects, organize social media content, store workflow templates, add a simple “don’t forget this” task and so much more.
Read More about Task Management Systems here: Why You Need a Better Task Management System
And that’s a wrap! 25 time-saving tips and hacks for busy entrepreneurs! I hope these are helpful and can give you back more of that precious time you want & need for less work, more life. Have you had success using any of these tips in your business? Share your success in the comments below!