Time. It’s our most valuable resource. We're not getting any more of it. With apologies to the Rolling Stones, it isn't really on our side. We're working against the clock.
No matter who you are or what your role, protecting your time and spending it carefully matters.
“Time is, hands down, our most coveted, most unrenewable resource.”
– Brene Brown, Dare To Lead
Your business needs you to do things that only you can do. And you're probably not doing enough of those things because you're too busy replying to email, managing people, making small decisions, and more. Want to grow in 2019? How much depends on how you're spending your time.
Jenna Kutcher from the Goal Digger podcast says,
“Where in your business can you only serve your business. Are you working on or in your business?”
If you make one change for your business (or department, or career) in 2019, consider making it about fiercely protecting your time. Spend it wisely, on only the most important things that will move your business forward.
Jenna Kutcher suggests taking a few days to track and catalogue your time. Look for:
- Tasks you do repeatedly
- Things you find tedious in your daily work
- Things that consume your time
- Things that require multiple people to complete them
- Things are you doing over and over
These are all places to look for productivity solutions that don't require you. Here are some areas to consider for improved productivity this year:
Batch & Schedule Work
We waste so much time when we're moving back and forth between tasks. It's massively inefficient and a momentum killer. Try to take tasks you do repeatedly and batch them together. Need to write blog posts? Put a hold on your calendar for a whole or half day and pound them out. Need to create outlines for client resources? When you can batch work together, you get all the time back that you waste jumping around. And you feel massively successful too.
Use project management tools to schedule this time, create and manage detailed project schedules and more.
- Front App -All your emails, apps, and teammates in one collaborative workspace.
- Basecamp - Project management tools to increase accountability and visibility (we used, loved, and then outgrew this).
- Teamwork - Manage detailed task lists, manage files, and consolidate project communication (we use this now).
It is so hard to keep track of work in email. With so much back and forth, and people left off certain email strings that need to weigh in, email can really bog down projects and teams. We use these tools to help us keep our email inboxes manageable.
- Slack - This is an instant messaging tool for all communication that doesn't need an official record. Quick questions, file sharing, cheeky comments all go here. Other similar tools include Skype and Twist.
- Teamwork - We have moved all project communication out of email and into our project management system. All project communication is centralized in one place so people can pick up tasks in the middle of a project easily, catch up on any project communication, or step in to cover with easy access to all the context. No forwarding of emails needed.
If you repeat tasks often, consider automating them this year. If you write the same emails to sales prospects, or to customers who have recently bought your products, automate that work. You can write very meaningful, engaging content to customers and prospects that is triggered by their actions, personalized to them, but that you only have to think about and create once.
- Hubspot - This is a robust and powerful CRM tool that allows you to automate workflows, communications, lead scoring and more. You can use Hubspot to talk to customers, send surveys, qualify leads and much more.
- MailChimp - If you're looking to start with automation with a less powerful and cheaper option, this is a great place to start. You can set up automated email campaigns for a variety of audiences and actions.
Delegate & OutsourcE
Delegate and outsource tasks that others can do as well or better than you, that require multiple people to complete, that require specific expertise, or that you just dislike. This can be to internal resources, or you can hire vendors, freelancers, or agencies to write content, design/manage your website, place media, run events, and more.
“If you’re going to pay someone every day, they should take a load off of your and do it better than you – otherwise what’s the point of hiring them?” – Rebecca Minkoff
Use SHARED RESOURCES
In 2019, you should not be passing documents around and managing versions. Use cloud-based systems that will track comments, versions and allow your team to work from one source all at one time. Two options are:
- Google Drive - Google has versions of Microsoft office products called docs, sheets, and slides that you can store and work on in the cloud.
- Sharepoint - Microsoft's intranet system is slightly clunkier, but allows you to use the Microsoft office suite and corresponding products.
I'm sure we'd all be ashamed to admit how much time we waste going back and forth with people scheduling meetings. These tools (and more) allow you to share a calendar link so that people can book time with you directly and elminate the back and forth.
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