So you’re trying to get your business off the ground but you’re also being pulled in a million different directions and you have little time to dedicate to it. It seems like you’re moving at turtle speed and you’re frustrated that your goals are taking so long to achieve!
We’re here to say: WE GET IT. We have 4 young children, we homeschool, and run several businesses from home. Life is BUSY.
So how do we manage it all and still ensure we're spending lots of intentional time as a family? Well we don’t do it perfectly, that’s for sure. But we HAVE figured out a few hacks that help us to be as productive as possible with the time that we DO have and still be completely present with our children during the time in between!
So here they are:
01. Batch Working
Multi tasking can be great but from personal experience, we’ve also found that it can really be distracting and get in the way of our productivity. Batch working is something we have only recently started to do effectively and it’s increased our productivity immensely! This is the idea that you group similar tasks together and choose specific times to work on ONLY those tasks. For example, if you’re a photographer like us, some of the additional tasks of running your business may be: editing, blogging, responding to emails and running your social media accounts. With batch working, you would dedicate one day or a large block of time to one of the above tasks. So you would spend one full day editing sessions, another day preparing blog posts, another day, or block of time, planning out social media content. You get the picture. And when you are working on that one specific task, it really helps to eliminate all other distractions. Close all other windows in your browser, turn your phone on silent, etc., and focus focus focus on knocking out the group of tasks you’ve set out to do!
02. Phone settings
When you’re able to during work time, put your phone on silent and set it aside! Our phones are great tools but every time you pick up your phone, you get distracted from the task you’re doing. If you’re like me, you get sucked in so easily by seeing one notification pop up and then you start aimlessly scrolling and before you know it, 15 minutes goes by. If you don’t want to turn your phone off altogether, then turn off all notifications for emails and social media. This will not only ensure that you don’t get distracted while working, but ALSO, while you’re wanting to be present with your family. Only open your email or instagram etc., when you have time to actually respond to those emails and messages. This is an obvious one we know, but likely a good reminder of how distracting and time consuming our phones can truly be!
03. Systems and Organization
Staying organized and putting systems in place is something else that has been a game changer for our productivity. When we keep our files and folders organized and labeled properly from the start, both on our hard drive but also within other programs. this saves us SO much time in the long run! And taking the time to implement systems and work flow ensures that we know exactly what we’re doing when and helps to eliminate the overwhelm. For example, when booking clients for our photography business, we have a sales tracker that we update right away with the clients info, date of inquiry etc., We then go back to this tracker several times a week to make sure we’re up to date with responses, deposits paid, etc.,
04. Setting Boundaries
If we’re being completely transparent, it’s HARD to balance running a business while raising four young children! (Especially in the middle of a pandemic!!) But we’ve found that putting boundaries in place for both when we work but also when we’re committed to being present with our children, has been KEY to not only keeping our priorities in check but ALSO being more productive with the time we have to work. We've tried the whole "work here and there during pockets of time through the day" thing but it never ends well and everyone gets frustrated. We've discovered that focused time dedicated to our work (even if it's only 2 straight hours after bedtime at the start will get you SO much farther!)
While we realize this set up may not be possible for everyone at least in the beginning, this is how we do it: we've split up our work days right down the middle so that Ron works mornings and I work in the afternoons. In the mornings, I homeschool the children, get them outside for some play time and of course make ALL the snacks and lunch. When I’m with the children in the morning, I’m fully present with them and I have chosen not to do any work at all. I know that whatever work tasks I need to get to that day will happen during my dedicated work time in the afternoon so I leave it until then and I go HARD during that time. The same is with Ron. When he gets home after lunch, after a solid morning of work time, he takes over and is able to be completely focused on the kids. This has been SUCH a good set up for us and ensures that we keep work and personal life separated by having those boundaries in place.
This may not be something you’re able to do right away, but as soon as you’re able, OUTSOURCE some of your work! Perhaps the easiest tasks that can be done by someone other that you? Communication? Editing? Social Media Management? This will allow you to focus on your zone of genius and save you so much time in the long run. There are soooo many parts to running a business and so many tasks to keep up with and while we waited much too long to do this ourselves, we’ve discovered that it’s SO worth it as soon as your budget allows to ask for help from someone who is likeminded and reliable! You’ll be so thankful you did!
Well there you go, that’s our top 5 tips for becoming more productive. Thanks for taking the time to read. We hope you can apply some of these tips to your own work time to be more productive and efficient when working!