As a self-employed small-business owner, you’re more aware than most that there are only so many hours in a day. That’s at odds with the almost infinite number of things you’d like to get done.
Read our top tips on how the self-employed can get a quart from a pint pot.
Going self-employed means being able to delegate. Filter tasks down to team members and you’ll be able to focus on what’s really important on your to-do list. But what are those crucial tasks? Check your to-do list and work out which items only you can do. Then find colleagues or contractors who can do the rest.
Self-employment requires you to go through your to-do list to identify your most urgent tasks. Those that you must do right away should be at the top. Longer-term projects can be listed separately, so they don’t distract you from what’s urgent.
We all like to put off less-desirable tasks – ‘eating the frog’. There’ll be some on your to-do list right now. But delaying them can negatively affect your other work because they’ll always be in the back of your mind. Get them out of the way before lunch and then enjoy the rest of your day.
Multitasking is for mugs. Studies have shown that we’re slower when we try to do two things at once. The highest priority task of any day is the one you’re doing right now. Do it thoroughly, then move on systematically.
For longer tasks that you can’t do all at once, work out how long you expect to spend. Then put a timer on them, so you don’t overlook your other tasks.
On your to-do list, you’ll have quick jobs such as emails and phone calls. Do them right away. You’ll feel like you accomplished something and it will help with your productivity. Then focus on your bigger projects with renewed enthusiasm.
In self-employment, communication is the secret to teamwork. Don’t just rely on emails or meetings. Use a system that lets everyone update their progress. An example could be ground-chatting apps or project-management programs. Many of these can be free or low-cost.
Meetings can be useful, but many are massive timewasters when you’re self-employed. Make sure each one you attend has a clear agenda. Keep a strict schedule outlining which items to discuss when and make sure a chairman keeps everyone on track.
Keep your body refuelled and your mind will thank you. You won’t get much done if you’re always hungry.
Try to resist the natural allure of sugar-rich snacks such as chocolate. You’ll feel great for half an hour, then come crashing back down. Keep healthy snacks such as blueberries, almonds and avocado handy.
The self-employed needn’t spend time on tasks that you can automate. Invest in apps and software that can help. That could be anything from Hootsuite, which can schedule your social media posts to MileIQ, which automatically records your business mileage.
Social media is the land of crazy cats. That can be entertaining but not during the work day. Schedule your business posts with social media management tools like Hootsuite and save your personal browsing until after hours.
Big deadline looming? Going self-employed means you need to focus. That means ignoring all the possible distractions found online. Unless you need the Internet for research, go offline completely at these times and get your projects completed on time.