Hey working mum juggling all the things. If you’re like me, you’re probably trying to keep many plates spinning. The business plate will keep spinning if you have awesome systems that make the most of your precious time.
How much unproductive time do you think you have on a weekly basis? Are passwords hard to find? Do you waste time trying to remember how to do something you did a month ago? Perhaps you spend 15 minutes every morning working out what it is you should be doing.
Good systems = efficiency. As mums with home based businesses we can often only rely on ourselves to make every aspect of our business run smoothly. There is no team, no boss and no HR department implementing systems and policies on our behalf.
I work during school hours which means I have 4-5 hours in my working day. I know I need to work effectively in those hours, be focused on the right tasks and have the outcomes I need to keep moving my business forwards.
Before reading on, it is a good idea to assess what you are spending your time doing. You might be surprised. Use this FREE Daily Time Tracker for at least 2 weeks and jot down what you do every half an hour (be honest). To truly become productive, you first need to know where you can make some changes.
Here are my 5 time saving hacks for your business.
TASK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM & GOAL SETTING
I use Asana (free version) and I love it. Becoming familiar with a task management system will greatly improve your productivity. If you are a paper and pen person that’s fine as long as your system is working efficiently.
For me, I add all my tasks to Asana, and I mean ALL of them. That includes any personal tasks for the week. For example, if there is something on at school that I want to attend, it goes on my daily task list because it will need to be factored into my day. One of the reasons we work from home is to have the flexibility to be there for our kids, so respect the occasions your kids need you and plan accordingly.
Why do I love Asana? I love being able to see the whole month laid out in front of me. I love being able to swing tasks across to different days if they didn’t get done. I love being able to program in repeating tasks that happen daily, weekly or monthly.
Goal Setting – create a system that sets out your quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. You can use my goal planner here. Your daily tasks will come from your goals. Having the goals in place will ensure you keep inching forward in your business. Make sure your goals are achievable. As a general rule you want:
Annual Goals: 7-10
Quarterly Goals: 2-3
Monthly Goals: the tasks it takes to complete a quarterly goal
Weekly Goals: 3
Daily Win: 1
Create a repeating task in Asana (or whichever program you use) to remind you to set your quarterly, monthly, weekly goals.
I use Quickbooks. For years I persisted with the story that my business wasn’t big enough to warrant paying for an accounts system as I diligently filled out my Excel spreadsheets and manually produced invoices in Word. Boy am I glad I woke up to the idea that an automated system would allow me to be much more productive. Quickbooks does not cost the earth and what it gives me in return is invaluable.
My system is to have a repeating task in Asana once a month to check off my expenses and balance my accounts. I invoice each Monday morning. At the end of the financial year, I have all the data I need to send off to the accountant for processing. Honestly, do this for your business if you haven’t already.
SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT STRATEGY
One of the biggest stumbling blocks I come across when I work with mums in business is social media. The problems are generally; finding time, knowing what to post and when, understanding the different platforms and serving rather than selling.
Here are my 3 golden rules to save time and consistently produce content for social media
- SYSTEMISE YOUR DAYS: This is what works for me.
- Monday – content production
- Tuesday – scheduling, promotion & collaboration
- Wednesday – strategy (working on the parts of my business that are going to keep it moving forwards)
- Thursday – accounts & admin
- Friday – catch up day
- BATCH YOUR WORK – batching means to group similar tasks together and do them at the same time. Imagine writing all your blog posts for the month and scheduling all your social media on one day? How much time would that free up for other aspects of your business?
- STRATEGY – for your social media to be consistent you need a strategy. Create a task in Asana to remind you to work out your content strategy quarterly. Commit to posting a certain amount of times per week, know which channels you will use to serve your audience, then work out what your posts will be. If you blog then set out what posts your will write for the quarter and your social media will flow from there.
WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS, TEMPLATES & PASSWORDS
There are many tasks in our businesses that we do on repeat. Some things are weekly and some happen every 3 months or so. For all the tasks you do more than once, even if it is once a year you should have a written list of how to instructions. Think of it like this. If you were out of action and needed someone else to come into your business and run it for a week, they should be able to read your instructions and do your tasks.
For example, do you occasionally use the Ads Manager in Facebook and each time you go back to it you have to remember what to do? Write down instructions to follow each time instead of having to work it out all over again in 3 months time.
Templates are useful for repetitive tasks. If you find you always send the same email replies; create a template. If you create the same Pinterest Pins or Instagram posts then have a template ready to go. Think about where else in your business you repeatedly do a task that could use a template?
Passwords can be stored in a cloud based program like LastPass. This will save you heaps of time searching for passwords and can be accessed from anywhere by using the app on your phone.
EMAILS & G-SUITE
Are you a gmail user like me? I have my emails stored in folders and try to keep my Primary tab limited to 20 – 25 emails. This helps me feel more organised and less overwhelmed.
Any emails relating to social media go into my Social tab and any emails that i’ve subscribed to go into my Forums tab. The search facility is a great tool for finding emails that you may have tucked away in a folder and will save you time looking everywhere for the one thing you need.
I check my emails first thing in the morning then close it down to be checked again at lunchtime.
Other G-Suite products I regularly use are Docs, Sheets, Drive, Keep, Calendar. There are so many useful tools for your business and by having your information stored in the cloud, it is easily shared with colleagues, collaborators or online.
Hopefully this post has highlighted some ways you could save time in your business. Is there anything else you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments below…..
Remember, if you want to do an audit of your current habits then use my free Daily Time Tracker. (Google Sheets)
Much love for now…