There are only so many hours in a day and so many things to do! Whether you're a solopreneur or juggling some serious projects with your team, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the little stuff and always never-quite-finish your daily to-do list. Not to mention those few precious minutes of self-care for meals, showers, and maybe even exercise in a day.
So how can you do more with less? We've perfected more than a few methods, and, yes, espresso is a major factor. But so is active time management to make the most of every hour in your day to start finishing those to-do lists.
Get pumped! Not just with caffeine, get your body moving in the morning. Some people like a blast of cold water at the beginning or end of their shower. Some go for a quick run. Some bust out a few deep squats whenever they start to feel sluggish. The key is to get your blood pumping. When your blood moves faster, it's flowing through your brain more quickly, which means thinking smarter - not harder.
Get energized if you find yourself dragging yourself out of bed or getting the "2 PM feeling". Literally.
Stop getting distracted with all the little stuff on your to-do list at the beginning of the day. Those big tasks start looming, and you never feel like you'll get them done. Instead, turn your to-do list on its head. Make it top-heavy. Tackle your most significant task of the day first thing when you have the most energy, then save the little stuff for when you want to work through lunch or wind down at the end of your day.
What are the tasks you absolutely cannot delegate? Prioritize the things that only you can do. This is important whether you are a team member finishing your part of a project or a business owner deciding what tasks can be offloaded to your leaders and teams. Prioritize the things only you can do so that no one is ever waiting on your work, and anything left on the to-do list can be done by anyone who finished early and can pick up some slack.
Speaking of not getting caught up in the little tasks, hire a virtual assistant. These are capable online people who can handle your data entry, filing, scheduling, and other minor functions that might otherwise eat up your valuable time during the day. Virtual assistants are often young people practicing business skills, people catching a few extra hours of work on a personal schedule, or even retired admins who like to do a few hours of what they do best.
Don't be afraid to automate. Set aside a little time each month to try out automation tools and methods until you find the perfect toolkit for your workflow. In marketing, this might be scheduling your content with an auto-poster. This might be a set of reminders or on-time data transfers.
Anything you find yourself doing the same way over and over can probably be automated with the right tools. If you're not sure what automation to use, try a few keywords in Google that describe the tasks you tend to repeat. When you automate those tasks, you'll find hours open up in your daily schedule.
Time is money, and your time is valuable. It may be time to delegate if you're taking on tasks that aren't in your wheelhouse. Many companies, for example, outsource payroll or IT - specialized "departments" that you don't need an onboard professional to achieve the best (and most affordable) results for your company. eCommerce brands often delegate their shipping concerns to a 3PL partner who can take a massive amount of logistics work off your hands.
When you're ready to get head-down into your work, post both a physical and virtual "Do Not Disturb" sign. Going uninterrupted is the best way to create flow hours for yourself. Put your phone on silent and set it away from you so little app notifications don't interrupt your flow. Close your email and messaging apps and set an "away" message where necessary. The vast majority of both work and non-work communications can wait until your 2-4 hours of solid flow-time are over, and you've done some of your best-uninterrupted work.
If you, like most people, find yourself communicating and message-checking more often than necessary, give yourself time windows to do this. Tell yourself you will check your email once every two hours, between the X:00 and X:15. Use this time to give quick answers, mark emails you need to think about and check your messenger updates. When the window closes, so do your email and messenger apps until the next window.
Knowing that there is a window coming up and one just behind you is one of the best ways to resist the urge to check - and interrupt your flow - when you're doing good work.
Finally, don't forget to reward yourself for achieving efficiency. Are you really doing more work with less time? Did you work faster today than yesterday? Did you achieve two solid hours of flow-time without checking messages or finding other distractions? Did you successfully automate a new task to save yourself time? Then reinforce yourself with a reward.
Take a leisurely dinner with your favorite show or person. Or, if you feel pumped, take yourself to the gym for a cardio workout that makes you feel even better. Or you might snag a candy bar from the vending machine and dive back into a project you've got flow-momentum with right now and save the big reward for your complete-project victory party.
Rakuten Super Logistics is here to help you automate and delegate your eCommerce shipping needs. That takes one more big task off your plate so that you can focus on optimizing your workflow and taking care of the tasks that only you can do. Ready to achieve more with less time? So are we. Contact us today.
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