How can you make the most of time, increase productivity & stay sane as a solopreneur?
Having enough time is probably one of the biggest challenges facing solopreneurs. Running a business on your own is definitely not easy, but at least there’s little time to get bored and, on the good days, it can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. If you want to reduce the bad days though, when it all feels too overwhelming and exhausting, check out these 10 tips to help you make the most of time, increase productivity and stay sane!
It’s not always easy being a solopreneur
It’s difficult to always be productive and focused when there’s so much to do every day. I really understand this challenge because, as a Virtual Assistant, I run a business on my own, and I also work with solopreneurs. Being a parent as well as running your own business throws an extra challenge into the mix too.
I’m not sure if I always achieve the sanity part, but I’ve done a lot of research into productivity tips, and tried out a lot of tools and apps. Below are the top 10 tips I’ve found most effective for solopreneurs to maximize productivity, stay focused, avoid overwhelm and burn out, and basically stay at least a little bit sane.
1. Find your favourite Project Management tool and use it every day
I use Trello to create lists of what I need to do each day – client work, working on my own biz, working on my travel blog, and a personal errands list. I also have longer-term goals lists, which I break down into daily tasks. I’ll confess that I only started using Trello about six months ago. I previously used handwritten lists and the sticky notes on my laptop, but it got to a point where I realised this wasn’t working, and I needed something a bit more hi-tech to keep me organized.
Trello really is amazing. It’s helped me to keep on top of everything, stay focused and feel like I’m managing my time more efficiently. It keeps me on track and stops my mind wandering off and getting distracted by other tasks, and it makes everything feel more manageable.
If you’re not a fan of Trello, there are plenty of other free online project management tools. Asana is another popular one.
2. Break down big tasks and prioritize
Avoid overwhelm by breaking down big tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. It really helps you to see the progress you’re making. I find that prioritizing my tasks each day, and getting the most urgent ones out of the way first, helps me to stay relaxed and feel like I’m on top of things.
Not sure how to prioritize because everything feels urgent? Try making a list of what you do every day or week, and then look at which of those tasks actually generate income. What do you absolutely have to do to keep your business running and making money? Everything else can wait or be outsourced for someone else to do.
3. Schedule your time in a smart way
Block off time each day or week to get the important tasks done. I work best in the mornings, so I always block off mornings for client work. Once I’ve finished all of my client work, I can then work on marketing my VA business or on my travel blog.
4. Minimize distractions
Disable notifications from all your apps and social media channels. Turn off Facebook and emails, or anything that you really don’t need to be checking.
5. Stop multi-tasking
The brain works best by focusing on one task properly. You’re not going to achieve your best work if you’re not concentrating fully on it. I know it’s hard when you’ve got so much to do but, if you follow some of the other tips here, stopping multi-tasking and focusing on one thing at a time becomes a lot easier.
6. Use the right apps and systems for you and your business
Take time to think about and research the right technology and systems to use for your business. There’s an app for everything, so whatever you’re struggling with, there’s probably something out there that will make things easier for you.
7. Spend less time on email
I seem to be forever signing up for useful checklists, tips and tricks, and e-books, then ending up with an inbox full of updates from various people. While their emails might be useful, I could waste half of my days reading them all, so I save them into relevant folders to read when I have more time. You could also do an inbox clean up from time to time, unsubscribing from all but a few mailing lists.
Throughout the day, I try to minimize the amount of times I check my email, as it only leads to being distracted and ending up doing something totally different from what I had planned. Some people recommend only checking emails twice a day.
I also make a habit of not checking my work email outside of my official office hours, so I do actually get some time to myself and to spend with my daughter. It’s a really good idea not to check your emails first thing in the morning. It’s healthy to take time for yourself at the start of the day and not launch straight into work. Have a coffee, do some exercise, or whatever you have to do in the morning to get ready for the day ahead. Don’t let your emails govern your day right from the start!
You don’t have to do it all! This is probably one of the best ways to avoid overwhelm and hold on to your sanity: pay someone to help you! Give some of your long list of tasks to someone else to do. There are lots of things you can outsource, such as bookkeeping, admin, social media marketing, blogging, web design and maintenance, marketing and branding. Focus your time and energy on your strengths, what you enjoy, and what helps your business to grow and generate more income.
9. Take regular breaks
You’ll quickly wear yourself down if you don’t take breaks from working. Stepping away from your work and computer for regular intervals throughout the day refreshes and recharges you. It helps you to work more productively and efficiently, as well as not go crazy! Make time to de-stress by doing something totally unrelated to work, something that calms, relaxes or re-energizes you.
10. Think about tomorrow
Take a bit of time at the end of each day to plan what you need to do tomorrow. It really helps to prepare you for the day ahead, stay on top of everything, and start the next day in the right frame of mind – positive and ready, and happy to be a solopreneur!
Feel like you might be ready to outsource some tasks to free up more time for yourself?
Take a look at some of the social media and blogging tasks I can take off your hands to help keep you sane!
Make the most of time and enjoy your solopreneur life
It should be fun and rewarding being a solopreneur, and it can be if you make the most of time you have, get organized and maximize your productivity. You want to stay excited and enthusiastic about your business, and have energy to grow it and see it flourish. That’s why you need to use your time wisely. Time is your most valuable asset as a solopreneur, so you don’t want to be throwing it away and not using it to its full potential.
Do you have any hacks or tips that help you to stay productive, focused and on top of things? How do you make the most of time? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear some more tips.
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