I don’t know about you, but this past week has been jam packed. I just onboarded all the new Dare to Grow students so I hosted lots of coaching calls, we just got a 5-month-old puppy, and my boyfriend has been working extra long hours. So I’m trying to get as much done as possible, keep my work days short, and still be a rockstar coach for all my students.
While strategies are important, sometimes it’s the little things that help the most. Like those hacks that you didn’t realize were hacks until somebody pointed them out to you.
This week I’m sharing a bunch of mine so give ‘em a shot and let me know how they work for you!
Resources + Links
- 100 journal prompts: http://xosarah.com/the-solopreneur-success-journal/
- 7 more productivity hacks: http://xosarah.com/productivityhacks/
- Zapier (to connect apps/platforms together)
I realized recently that I do a lot of little random things throughout my days that help me stay on track and finish my to-do list more quickly.
Things that help me stay focused during those blocks of time that the dogs are chill or just cut down on how long each task takes.
I’m always asking how things can be easier. How can I be as effective, but do the work in less steps or less time?
So today I want to share some of those hacks with you!
One thing I’ve learned about productivity is that task switching can eat through your entire day. Studies have shown that it takes about 20 minutes to mentally move from one task to another. For example, moving from designing graphics to writing emails to scrolling through Instagram. Every time you switch tasks you’re throwing away 20 minutes.
To avoid throwing away too many transition hours I do some tasks on the same day every week.
On Mondays I schedule Instagram posts, Tuesday and Thursday I have coaching calls, and on Fridays I do bookkeeping.
This means that I have a few days each week with no meetings schedule where I can work for hours at a time without any interruptions.
Another thing that can eat through your day is the process of getting ready to work.
Maybe you sit down to work simply because it’s time, but then you start scrolling through Instagram or checking email, looking at stats, researching ideas. Things that feel like work, but aren’t.
And they waste a ton of time.
To start on your actual task list first, try adding a ritual or habit to get you in the mood. Maybe it’s the ritual of making a cup of coffee before you sit down at your desk.. Maybe it’s taking 3 really deep breaths before you open your laptop.
I journal and meditate in the morning to get myself in the right headspace to be productive. (Here’s the journal I’m using now)
Essentially, you’re adding a trigger that helps transition your mind into the zone where you can be focused and creative. Sort of like Pavlov’s dog. After a while that trigger will make starting your workday not only easier but something you crave.
Once Im into my workday and I’m creating content for emails, blog posts, social media posts – I’’m not writing in ConvertKit (affiliate link), WordPress, or Instagram. I don’t even write my IG posts in the Instagram scheduling app (Planoly – affiliate link).
Instead, I write everything in Google Docs. Why? Because it’s waaaay easier to 1. See what I’ve shared recently, 2. Plan in batches so my content has a flow, and 3. Go back and find things they I want to repost or repurpose.
I’m not accidentally losing posts because an app crashed or I forgot to save. And I’m not rewriting similar posts instead of resharing or updating the original.
If you have a difficult time getting tasks done quickly, a roadblock is a great way to speed yourself up.
This is like time-blocking where you give yourself a certain amount of time for each task, but instead you’re adding a hard stop at the end like scheduling a meeting or an appointment.
That saying if you give yourself 6 hours the task will take 6 hours, but if you only have 1 you’ll get it done it 1 is really true. If I have a hair appointment in the middle of the day I will work like a machine in the morning so when I come back I can have a chill end of the day.
Another simple hack is to set lots of notifications and alarms.
I’m big on getting things out of my brain and into my calendar, but I found that just having something on my calendar isn’t enough. One of my goals is to be focused for a long as possible and every distraction stops my flow, even checking the time.
So every night I check what’s coming up the next day and set alarms. I set an alarm to wake up, an alarm for when the maintenance guy is coming, an alarm to give the dog his meds.
And all those weekly coaching calls – I have alarms set so every Tuesday and Thursday I get a notification about 20 minutes in advance.
Which means I don’t need to keep an eye on the time and I’m distracted less. I can work and work and work and not think about that call until my alarm goes off. 20 minutes gives me enough time to get ready, set up my computer and be on time, every time.
Another time-saving hack – stop doing so many 2 minute tasks because with every 2 minute task you still lose time in the transition.
Every week I have 3- 5 coaching calls. Usually I would be downloading every call recording from Zoom, uploading each one into Dropbox, and then adding the links into a course lesson.
Instead I created folders in Dropbox for every group and put the link to those folders inside the course.
So Tuesday students have a folder, Thursday students have a folder, Fast Track students have a folder. Then I hooked Zoom to Dropbox (this is a feature in Zoom) which automatically uploads all the recordings into a main Dropbox folder, so all I have to do after each call is move it to the appropriate folder.
Now this doesn’t seem like a huge time saver, but if you’re able to simplify processes for 5, 10, 15 tasks you could eliminate an entire days worth of little tiny time suckers!
Zapier is a great tool for this because it allows you to connect multiple apps together that don’t innately connect or connect apps that do connect but allow them to take different actions.
For example: I’ve used Zapier to connect with ConvertKit and tag students that sign up for an unpublished course. Or, when I have people fill out a form, it can add that info into a spreadsheet and automatically tag subscribers.
It’s crazy to think that such small adjustments make that much of a difference but they really do!