In a normal day I finish all my work in a few hours. That usually includes writing a few blog posts for my blogs and doing marketing tasks.
But I admit it; I used to be a workaholic.
The month that I created my website bootcamp class and worked on average 12-15 hours a day. I knew it was going to be a tough month when I launched a product without creating it first, but I didn’t realize just how much I would be working.
At first I was able to work a week ahead of time with the material, but eventually life caught up to me and I was burning the midnight oil to get the lessons pushed out the night before it was set to hit people’s inboxes.
I was also working on a few different web design projects at the time so the problem was just that I was trying to juggle half a dozen very time-consuming things at once.
I was all business, 24/7. From the moment I woke up in the morning to the time I went to bed at night, I was working. (Yep, I even read business books before I went to bed).
After a while, I figured out the tasks that I should be working on to grow my business, and I did it, and I cut out the stuff that wasn’t actually making a dent. But I was still only working a few hours a day at most.
So, how did I do it?
1. I automated my social media.
For whatever reason, writing social media updates drives me crazy. Maybe because it’s repetitive, or maybe it’s because I know that only a teeny tiny percent of my audience is actually going to see my updates, I just always found it exhausting. So I set out to find a better solution. Options: hire it out or automate it. Well, hiring it out was definitely not in my budget, so I looked at all the available social media tools and discovered that Postplanner had an option to recycle your messages that you schedule out on social media.
Now that the bulk of my updates are done automatically, I have time to post real time updates of questions, pictures, what I’m working on, etc, and interact with my peeps. And I can recycle updates so more of my audience sees them. So much better.
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2. I started using IFTTT and Zapier.
IFTTT and Zapier are a gift from the gods. Seriously. I’d heard of them for a pretty long time but just started using them a couple days ago and already it’s making a huge difference in my business. I write 2-3 blog posts a week now so I set up a few “recipes” and “zaps” so my blog posts are automatically posted on social media, plus I set some up so some of my Pinterest boards will update my social media pages with photos when I pin something (but not all my boards of course :)).
And I have one set up so anytime I pin a cat picture on Pinterest, it gets sent out to all my social media pages. Professional? I think yes.
3. I stopped counting time spent on Facebook as working.
So even though I spend a lot of time each week networking on Facebook in different business and marketing groups, it doesn’t shouldn’t really count as working. Because let’s be real, half the time that you’re “networking” is just looking at other people’s pretty websites, comparing yourself to someone’s success story, and crying that your cat doesn’t do funny things like the ones in the pictures (maybe that’s just me :)).
4. I reframed what “work” really means.
Things that don’t count as work: scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, searching for the meaning of life and pretending to “work on social media.” Reading emails. Searching for the perfect work music. Getting “inspired” on Pinterest. Reading other people’s blogs. Looking at other people’s websites. Comparing myself. Changing my website for the millionth time this month. Changing my branding or tweaking copy or anything else. Looking at cat pictures.
Things that do count as working: writing blog posts. Creating things. Writing sales pages or other substantial copy. Creating an autoresponder for my email list. Setting up Facebook ads. Doing my accounting.
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5. I grew my passive income streams.
In addition to working with clients, I also sell digital products that I’ve already created, and whenever I make a sale, that’s it. I also get paid for advertising and affiliate income on my blogs. I get paid and don’t have to do any additional work. Which is a nice passive income model that means that as my business grows, my hours don’t also grow. Although I do love working. 🙂
6. I automated my selling.
This one might anger any natural born salespeople out there, but I am so not a salesperson. So I set up an autoresponder on Mailchimp. Now when you join my list, there is a series of half a dozen emails that go out about once a week in addition to my regular newsletter with extra tips, resources, collected blog posts, and my favorite products. Not only does it provide value, it also does the selling for me. 😉
7. I prioritized creation.
Most of what I work on now is finding new products and then listing them on the site or collecting them into a blog post. I used to dread writing my one post per week, but now I look forward to writing 2-3 posts a week (or sometimes more).
8. I automated my marketing and growth.
I’ve been experimenting and testing a lot with different ways of marketing, and I’ve realized that getting people on your list is the most important thing you can do to grow your business. The way I’ve been building my list is by networking in Facebook groups and writing occasional guest posts (not automated), and the biggest traffic generator, Pinterest and social media.
9. I prioritized learning (but stopped counting it as working).
Constantly learning and staying current with business and marketing as well as industry trends is so important. I think you should always be learning. I probably spend about 4 or 5 hours every day just reading articles and books, and I think I’m reading around a dozen different books right now.
So, I hope these tips have helped you save some time and be more productive about how you spend time working on your business. What are your best time management tips? 🙂
If you’d like to learn more ways to improve your productivity as an entrepreneur and automate, simplify, and streamline your business, check out Entrepreneur Life Hacks.