We all want to save time. We’re busy creatives, trying to juggle our online businesses with our everyday lives. Managing a hectic schedule and staying productively on task can be such a challenge… but it doesn’t need to be.
One of the best ways to improve efficiency and get more done in less time is to organize your schedule in a way that works well for your unique situation. Whether you’re a new mom juggling your 9 to 5 job with a side hustle, or you’re a full-time solopreneur, or you’re just interested in taking ownership over your own time once again, you have it within you to save time and energy—without the overwhelm.
Implement these strategies (starting right now!) to streamline tasks with confidence, get control of your day-to-day life and business, and begin saving at least 5 hours each week:
Tip #1: Do the same tasks at the same time of day (or in the same order).
How much time are you currently wasting by consulting your long to-do list and trying to decide which task to do first? Is this something you’re doing multiple times each day, on an ongoing basis? What if instead, every day, you didn’t have to think about what tasks to work on?
That’s the beauty of doing the same tasks at the same time of day. You always know that 8am to 10am is reserved for client work, for example, or that 2pm to 3pm is for posting on social media, and so on.
If it takes you just 15 or 20 minutes every day to decide which tasks to work on, then you can easily save an hour or two each week by implementing this strategy. Five minutes here and five minutes there adds up when you have a lot of tasks on your plate and you’re choosing between them.
Plus, the fewer decisions you have to make, the better. You know how some CEOs dress in the same “uniform” every day so that it’s one less decision they need to worry about? The same principle applies here!
You can also apply this method (with a twist) if you have a lifestyle or business that makes it challenging to do things at a specific time of day, every day. In this case, you can instead focus on doing tasks in a specific order by creating routines. That way, even if your morning begins at 6am one day and 9am on another day, you still have an orderly routine for task management.
For example, you might decide to begin every day (no matter what time of day that might be) with creative work or client projects, and then you move onto checking emails, and then you move onto social media posts, and then you move onto professional development, etc.
Tip #2: Do the same tasks on the same days of the week.
Building on our previous tip, setting aside specific days for different types of work will help you know exactly what to work on, when, and with confidence.
For example, you might decide that you do client work only on Mondays to Thursdays, social media scheduling on Tuesdays, bookkeeping and writing new blog posts every Friday, and so on. Doing this enables you to free up your mental capacity so you aren’t constantly worrying about forgetting about one task or another… plus, it will ensure that nothing does slip through the cracks.
When you consider how much time you’re wasting by trying to keep track of all your tasks in your head, and the mental distractions from worrying about different projects, then you can easily save an hour or two of time—not to mention energy—by implementing this strategy.
Related Post: How to create marketing content twice as fast!
Tip #3: Put together a weekly plan for yourself.
What is ONE thing you want to accomplish each day this week? When you’re struggling to juggle all the things in your life and business, make a point of limiting yourself to just one task per day that you want to achieve. Organizing your schedule in advance like this will help you go into the next week (or month, or however long you want to plan ahead) with confidence and a strategy so that you can make serious progress on your business
Planning ahead with a very strategic, mindful, and intentional purpose will empower you to focus on the tasks that matter the most, each and every day. This is an incredible way to save time and energy, get more done in less time, and move faster with your business, without getting burned out along the way.
Not sure what the best course of action is for your unique business? Mind mapping is a great tool for figuring that out!
Tip #4: Figure out when you are most creative during the day.
Maximizing your time is rooted in maximizing your energy. Think about it: when your “creative cup” is full, you can easily produce high-quality creative work at two or three times the speed compared to if you try to work on creative projects when your energy is low, can’t you?
Everyone’s creative times of day are different, so this is your opportunity to check in with yourself to figure out your most creative hours of the day. Once you do that, you can begin adjusting various parts of your schedule to maximize that creativity. This could involve changing your routine (such as adjusting when you do certain tasks or starting to move your appointments and meetings from one time of the day to another).
Adjusting your schedule to maximize creative hours can also include shifting how you think about work. For example, if you are a writer and your most creative time of day is first thing in the morning, but that’s when you like to spend time with your baby, is there a way that you can speak your ideas or “write” out loud into a voice recorder during that time?
Alternatively, keep in mind that some of our most creative ideas can come when we aren’t actively thinking about it. That means that spending time with loved ones during your most creative times of day could actually spark some of your best work (at which point you can make brief notes, or write down your ideas immediately after). Trust in yourself and your creative abilities!
Tip #5: Use a scheduling system that *speaks* to you.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is using the hottest new software… rather than figuring out whether that software makes the most sense for them to use.
Just because a calendar or scheduling system works well for someone else, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be a good fit for you.
When choosing the right schedule for yourself, organize it in a format that works well for your personal learning style, and your unique lifestyle and business. For example, you could use a reusable task list with a dry-erase marker, a paper calendar for your purse or whiteboard calendar for the wall, Trello or Asana, spreadsheets or Google calendars, or even a color-coded sticky note system (my personal favorite).
Play with different systems and think about whether a paper or electronic scheduler works better for you, as well as how often your day-to-day schedule needs to change. When you use a scheduling system that speaks to you, you will be that much more likely to use it consistently—and enjoy yourself while you’re at it (and isn’t that a major part of the reason for why we start our own businesses in the first place?).
If you’re still struggling with managing your schedule, then here are three key factors to base your schedule on:
- What you need to do (these are your non-negotiables, e.g. specific obligations that you have already committed to).
- The most important items in your business (often this is what brings in the revenue).
- What you can get off your plate fastest (so you don’t have to keep it on the roster for days or weeks down the line—which is very important, especially if it’s something you can complete within just an hour or two).
You can then choose where other pieces fit into your schedule from there: what times of day or days of the week are leftover, for example? Or, are there opportunities to get creative and combine or condense a few tasks, or delegate or outsource something?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when you’re applying these time management tips—you’ve got this!
Want to save an additional 5+ hours each week (beyond the strategies you learned here)? Grab the time-saving tips cheatsheet for more actionable ideas
Looking forward to seeing just how many hours you’re able to save each week as a result!
Sagan Morrow teaches busy, time-crunched solopreneurs how to build their own successful home-based businesses—without the overwhelm—through her online courses at SaganMorrow.com.
Specializing in productivity tips and action-oriented strategic planning, Sagan has a decade of experience as a freelance writer and hosts the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Connect with her @Saganlives on Twitter or Instagram (get a peek of her color-coded sticky note system while you’re there!).