I am probably not the only one with a never-ending to-do list. The world is moving so fast, and it has become increasingly difficult to keep up. The distractions are endless, and our attention spans are dwindling. Now more than ever, implementing strategies to manage our time better is of the essence.
Here are 10 time management hacks that have helped me tremendously in my business and life:
1. Automation. The key to time management in this digital world is automation. There are simple ways that you can automate processes to save you time and energy. For example, in your Gmail settings, select the "unread first" option. This feature will sort your unread emails and place them on the top of your email feed allowing you to sift through your email quickly.
Instead of searching for emails, label or create folders for important conversations for easy retrieval when needed.
Set up canned responses (a Gmail functionality) for any regular outreach that you make. I set up canned responses for most of my business related emails like pitches and client agreements. Instead of looking through my sent inbox and revising a forwarded email, I just use a canned response which saves me time and also keeps me organized.
Setup downloadable links to pitch decks and any marketing materials that you often share. I have links to my professional profile and my deck directly on my website. If you want to keep your documents private, set up the links in a non-visible webpage that you can share with folks. You can also upload your documents to an organized google drive.
I use the todoist app to keep my to-do list attached to my Gmail. I add items to my todoist, as I browse through my mail and assign deadlines to my tasks. Although I'm a paper and pen to-do list gal, this is the only app that I have found gives me a similar feeling to writing and scratching off an completed task.
For social media management, I use Mosaico. Mosaico allows you to plan your Instagram grid and add comments to your posts. You can upload your images automatically to IG and copy and paste your pre-written captions directly to your IG.
If you are continually booking meetings or appointments, manage your calendar through a time booking service like Calendly.
Automate your invoices via Quickbooks Online or send your agreements via DocuSign. There are a ton of free apps available to help you to automate your life and business. Take advantage of them!
2. Prioritize and delegate days to specific business oriented tasks. After I complete the absolute most urgent tasks of the day, I will only focus on the theme of the day. Monday’s are always my research day, Tuesdays & Wednesdays are for business development, Thursdays and Fridays I focus on content creation, Sundays are for social media. This method of prioritization allows me to touch base with every critical area of my business and to manage my time efficiently.
3. Place your phone in a different room. When I am overwhelmed with a deadline, I place my phone in another room to avoid distractions, or I turn it off. I refuse to check my chats until I have accomplished a significant amount of work.
4. Close every single tab on your browser other than the tabs you need for your current task. Admittedly, I am a HUGE browser tab abuser. I have a history of having many tabs open at a time. In fact, most people who know me would be surprised that I have cleaned up this bad habit, I have! Since implementing this method where I only have a maximum of 2 tabs open at a time depending on that task, I have been much more clear-minded and focused.
5. Get Organized. Organizing and decluttering your workspace, computer, drive, files, etc. at least once per month will have a soothing effect on your mind. If you write your notes on a dozen different notepads, you are creating unconscious clutter in your headspace. Organize your records, files, and workspace so that you can find things quickly. This practice will also help your state of mind. Clutter often creates internal chaos as well. This simple hack will add so much time to your workday.
6. Ask for help when you don’t know how to do something. Delegate. Don't try to figure out technical things on your own unless you think knowing them will add to your business or career. Practice asking for help. Either call a helpdesk or someone you know who is well-versed in the matter. You will never know everything there is to know, and it is in your best interest to find ways to delegate the tasks that will keep you from completing the functions that will move your business or career forward.
7. Maximize your commute. Do not fall into the pit of browsing your social media feeds during your commute. Instead, use that time to learn something new about your industry through books, articles or in audio form.
8. Designate time to mindless social media or internet browsing during your breaks. I use the Pomodoro Technique which breaks down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. A great app to use to employ the Pomodoro technique is Focus Keeper. During my allotted breaks, I will catch up on my social media feeds and headlines.
9. Purchase audiobooks or watch youtube videos to save on reading time. I do a lot of my research through audio or in podcast form. I love to listen to podcasts to learn new concepts and find this to be an excellent time-management tool. You can save a ton of time by consuming information in a different format.
10. Use the voice-typing feature on your phone to write notes and any content ideas that come to mind. If you have an idea for an article or if you are writing a book, use transcribing apps like Evernote to quickly turn your thoughts into words with minimal effort.
Excellent time management is one of the pillars of success. Time management is so important, especially when you are hoping to scale a business or to accomplish a goal. I promise that if you use these methods consistently, you will start to see significant progress and movement forward in your goals.