I recently ran a series of Business Efficiency workshops for small business owners. The idea is that specialised skills can be outsourced and repetitive tasks can be automated, which enables the business to focus on generating revenue and innovation.
I realised that a lot of this thinking could be applied to life, where we hardly ever have enough time to get everything done and, if you are like me, waste hours procrastinating, looking for things, waiting around and sucked into social media. We often do not have time for the things that are important to us, like exercising, spending time with family and friends and nurturing ourselves (the “revenue” generating part of our lives).
Time is the most important non renewable resource we have and we waste a lot of it by not living efficiently. If you are struggling to find the time to fit it all in, here are 5 productivity hacks that will help speed up your efficiency.
ONE: Weed out distractions
Set aside time to respond to emails in batches. Urgent information tends to be passed through phone calls rather than email, so you probably won’t miss anything. Set up up push notifications for email on your phone if you can’t not look. Being able to quickly glance at the subject lines of e-mails you are receiving throughout the day saves you from having to constantly open up your inbox. If you need an urgent response to an email, write ”time sensitive” in the subject line.
Social Media is a huge time sucker. According to a report released by social media marketing and communications agency, We Are Social, on average, we spend 3h10 on social media a day! Do you spend an equal amount of time chatting to your family, or doing one of the things that are important to you? Schedule time for social media and get over your FOMO!
TWO: Unsubscribe to Newsletters
Unsubscribe to as many newsletters as possible. If you really need to stay subscribed, subscribe under a different email address. This way, you reduce the number of emails coming into your primary email address and can browse through your newsletter email address when you have time.
Evernote has changed my life. I have a bad memory and an inquisitive over active mind, but I no longer have to waste time trying to remember where I have stored or read something because it’s all in Evernote. From my kids’ school lists to my family’s identification numbers, from my shopping list to my blog post.
I use it extensibly to gather information on things I find interesting, using web clips, making notes, storing emails and tweets that spark ideas and of course I use my Evernote email address for newsletters – see the section on Newsletters above.
We use both Slack and WhatsApp in our house and the family jury is still out as to which works better for us. I love Slack as it can integrate with a ton of other apps and services (like Evernote!), I can send documents to my family and it has a really good search function (remember I lose things all the time). We have a channel (group) for groceries which beats trying to put the list together just before going to the shop, a channel for our next holiday and use the ToDo app to keep track of tasks like getting glue for school, handing in documents and fixing the gate.
FIVE: Get Stuff Done
Get Stuff Done usually works with small business owners to help sift through the operational clutter that could overshadow their business. Their huge range of skills can also be put to great use in your home. They can help you with general admin like filing that huge pile of bills, school reports, insurance documents and bank statements that are piling up in your “hold all drawer”. They can also help you declutter, which is key to efficiency, and will come to your home to sort and sell your unwanted items!
To be more efficient, you need to be aware of each moment of the day, clear the clutter and make sure you have time for the things that are important to you. It takes a combination of knowledge and self control – you can do it.