I know a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs that wish they had more time in the day. So, I will be going over some tips and tricks to help you get just that!
1. FIRST 30 MINUTES
So, for the first 30 minutes of your day it is really best to plan out your day, make a list of everything that you need to do, and set the top three priorities. HomeGoods has a lot of awesome notepads and fancy pens that you can grab to make your note-taking more fun! If you put a star next to the top three priorities and you end up getting those done, you won the day! Anything that you get done on top of that will be bonus. I love lists… I make a bunch of them on my phone all day when inspiration strikes me and I have 5 different colors of Post-It notes… Don’t be daunted by the whole list, just focus on one thing at a time.
2. ZONE OF EXPERTISE
By nature we are all only good at a handful of things. This is our zone of expertise and the things that we love to do. If we focus on only those things, we won’t get burnt out as easily. It is hard to get used to, but do all of the things that you love and try to outsource the rest. I am guilty of am always wanting to do everything myself so if you are in the same boat, know that you aren’t alone. We have to get out of this mindset if we want to be successful. No 6 figure company was ever built by just one person. Get used to partnering with people who are great at the things you aren’t. If you need help doing anything that freelancers can help you with there’s a website called Fiverr, which is amazing. There are people that can design things for you, help you with logos, branding, transcriptions, etc. Starting at only $5! There is another site like that as well, but starting at more than $5. That one is called Upwork. What can you think of that you would rather not take the time to do? Make a list of everything that you love to do and a list of everything you don’t love to do. Outsourcing them all at once will be hard. Work one one at a time. Sometimes it will take a few tries to find the right person or business to partner with, Just know that it’s totally worth it. If you need something more consistent, a virtual assistant may be helpful for you!
If you have a distracting work environment, you need to do your best to make it your ideal workspace. I worked hard to make sure I have a studio that is separate from my house. If I were to work out of my house I would be distracted by EVERYTHING. I would want to clean and do laundry and make food and pet my dog and just completely be distracted. My house is also pretty small and I don’t have the room for a shooting space or a desk. When I get to the studio and I know I want to get a lot done, I light one of my favorite candles or incense so that my senses are calm and focused. Everyone is different, so find out what works for you! If you do work out of your home and want to try something new, I would try to find a Starbucks or somewhere you can work out of that you can either bring headphones, or kind of just zone out. (Starbucks is great because they have Wi-Fi and coffee… two great things!) There are also many places that have become popular lately called co-working spaces. People pay a small fee and have access to meeting rooms, working spaces, kitchens, etc. Also, you have the chance to meet some awesome, like-minded people!
4. GET BETTER AT SAYING “NO”
Another thing that you need to do is to learn how to say no to things. I know that all of us want as many opportunities as we can get our hands on, but we need to prioritize and sometimes we can take too many things on ourselves, so we need to look at our opportunities and find ones that we can say no to and feel good about it. Only take on clients or opportunities that you feel passionate about and that value you for your worth. Prioritize your life and just make the most use out of your time. You will see and feel an immense difference when you aren’t taking on jobs with your ideal client. We have all worked with people that we knew were going to be a pain or knew were going to haggle us on price. Know your value, be able to speak to it, and go after the clients that will LOVE to work with you.
5. SLEEP SCHEDULE
Don’t overestimate sleep. Most human beings need about seven to eight hours of sleep or else we won’t be productive. It is also important to try and get to sleep at about the same time every night so your body has a set rest period. If you just feel exhausted all day long you’re not going to get much done, so you want to make the most of your time by getting some sleep. Your day will be completely different when you start having a great relationship with your pillow. There are so many studies that show how getting more sleep effects your life span, stress level, mood, and a lot of different medical benefits too!
6. SET A TIMER
From mundane tasks like going through emails, anything that just sucks up your time, I set a timer for a set a amount of time each day. I got the timer idea from one of my good friends who’s also a photographer and it completely worked for me. Tim Ferriss (an amazing author who I’ll be talking about more later) only checks his email twice a day 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you tell people that, they know when they’re going to get a response out of you and you won’t be distracted by a million emails. Setting a timer for 15 minutes so you can get as many emails done in that time is great. I have been a serial-procrastinator since high school and I work great on deadlines. One of the hardest parts of running your own business is self-motivating and setting your own deadlines. You have to make your own schedule and stick to it instead of clocking in to a corporate job at 9 am, taking lunch at noon, and clocking out at 5pm. So, setting a timer for mundane tasks can be awesome. Another thing that has helped me immensely is the fact that I have Gmail. Gmail actually helps me prioritize my emails because they break it up into separate inboxes (primary, promotions, social, and updates) and when I’m checking my emails during my work hours, the only two inboxes that I end up checking are primary and updates. If I didn’t have that separation I would get distracted and see, ooh! 20% off of something that I don’t need but I really want because it’s shiny and I’ll just go off on a rabbit hole.
7. EXERCISE BREAKS
In the Japanese culture they actually found that exercise during the work day helps you be more productive and gets all the cool endorphins going through your brain. I have a Fitbit and some of my friends have the Apple watch. They have a feature that will buzz every hour that you haven’t gotten up. If you don’t want to use a Fitbit, you can set a timer for every hour or however long you want, but it will buzz and remind you to get some exercise. So get up and go take a walk, go outside, go get something to drink, stretch, do some burpees, etc. We all hate burpees but at least they’re good for you and if you only do a few you can actually enjoy the work when you get back to it. Don’t try to work for like five hours straight and then take a break, take a 10-15-minute break every hour and you will be way more productive.
8. MAKING HABITS
Making a habit out of things that you don’t like doing… So, I used to hear that habits take about 21 days to form. I just read a study that said everybody’s different depending on what they’re trying to do and who they are, but it takes an average of 66 days to make a habit. So, even if you mess up, even if you don’t do it one or two days don’t be discouraged, don’t stop. You just have to keep going and you’ll just be used to it. Exercise, consistency in social media or blogging, whatever it is that you struggle with, you can make it a habit if you just make a conscious effort to do it daily. If you aren’t ready, don’t say that you just can’t do it, say that it just isn’t a priority for you right now. When id does become important for you, you’ll make it a priority. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. Everyone makes choices on how they manage their time and we can all change to make things that we prioritize a reality.
9. HOW YOU SPEAK TO YOURSELF
Stop using negative language. “I can’t, I won’t, I’m not good enough”All of these excuses make your brain actually think that you’re telling the truth to yourself and makes it a reality. Whatever you say out loud your brain believes. I heard Dane Sanders speak at WPPI this past year and he was talking about negative language and he actually came up with a concept that I thought was amazing and I started to use. Anytime I start saying anything negative I say “…up until now” at the end of it. So, “I didn’t have enough time… up until now” and change it, do something positive and change it. “I didn’t exercise… up until now”, “I didn’t eat right… up until now”, “I suck at running my business… up until now.” Be positive and put a different outlook on things. It’s kind of like a glass half empty, glass half-full kind of thing, but positive intentions mean a lot and you can make amazing things happen if you are positive with yourself and you positively say things out loud. You’re amazing and you can do whatever you put your mind to.
I am a huge advocate for “never stop learning”. I love going on YouTube, watching tutorials, going to workshops, and reading books. I am going to recommend some amazing books to you that I think that everybody should read.
The first one is called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It was made in the ’30s and it is completely still relevant today. It is an amazing book and teaches you how to interact with everyone from friends, to family, to yourself, to businesses. It’s an amazing book and I think everybody in general should read it, not just business owners.
4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, Work smarter and not harder. The New Rich. Systems to automate your business and make it work for you. This book is inspirational on so many levels. I couldn’t put all of his advice into place because he runs a product based company and I run a service based business, but it’s an amazing read.
Show Your Work and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon are two short and small books that will absolutely change your life. He delves into how to express yourself by being inspired by the world around you and being your authentic self. He also slaps you right into place and gives you a million reasons to stop making excuses and get yourself out there. So many people that we know as successes today had to go through failure after failure before they made it. Failure is a part of success. Winners never quit and quitters never win. I keep these books by me while I’m working and sometimes when I take a break I will read part of them to stay inspired or motivated.
Okay guys, I just gave you a bunch of different things that you can put action to, so you can make the most out of your time and start living life better. I am giving you the knowledge and resources. You just have to take it and run. Knowing your path and walking your path are two very different things. One goal I have for this year is to get through all of the workbooks and classes and books that I have bought. Never stop learning and never stop doing what you love. Be your authentic self and you will attract your people to you!!! I will keep making posts to help my fellow entrepreneurs with whatever I have to give. Please like or comment and let me know if you have done any of these things and seen a change. For inspiring quotes, behind the scenes pics, and some awesome photos follow me @caseyjadephoto