As a busy solopreneur, you already know that there will never be enough hours in a day to check off every item on your never-ending to-do list.
No matter how many emails you reply to, no matter how many blog posts you write, no matter how many projects you complete…there will ALWAYS be more to do. And there will never be enough time to get it all done.
You’ve also probably tried every productivity and time management trick in the book: maybe you’ve experimented with the Pomodoro Technique, perhaps you’ve tried tracking your time with a tool like RescueTime or maybe you’ve even downloaded every productivity app in the iTunes store.
But I bet there’s one thing you haven’t tried yet. One thing that might change the way you work forever.
It’s called energy management.
Energy management means maximizing your energy and the times of the day you’re most alert and creative to get your most pressing work done. It means prioritizing your day based on when your body and mind work best.
The key here is to experiment; it may take a couple of weeks or even months to truly discover how you can make energy management work for you. You’ll need to figure out how you feel doing certain tasks at certain times of day. However, I promise that when you figure out when you work best, you’ll be amazed at the quality of work you can produce and how much closer you can get to your goal in the process.
Three Quick Tips For Making Energy Management Work For You
Accept that you only have so much energy in a given day. Just like there are only so many hours in the day, we also only have so much energy we can expend each day. Find the zones in your day when you can be most productive, but also recognize that you still will not be able to achieve everything in the span of 24 hours. Life is about give and take; energy management also means knowing when to take a break and knowing that another day, another week or another month are always around the corner.
Learn to say no. Saying no is never easy whether it’s to a new project or a social outing. Since I’ve discovered the times that I’m most productive, I have learned to be very strict with my calendar to protect those times. Of course, when it comes to your job or other obligations, sometimes you obviously can’t say no and that’s fine, but the areas you do have control over? Be strict about them.
Experiment to discover the times you’re most productive. If you told me four years ago that I’d be an extreme early bird, setting my alarm for 4:45 a.m. each day to get 2-3 hours of work done before heading to my full-time job, I’d tell you that you are seriously crazy. But I experimented and learned that I could actually be pretty productive first thing in the morning. That’s when I tried setting my alarm a little earlier and slowly began to develop it into a habit. Play around with different times of day and note how your body and mind feel. Don’t be afraid to try a time completely out of your comfort zone.
Have you experimented with energy management? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Want more? Read more about energy management and how it has completely revolutionized the way I get work done here.
How many “productivity hacks” have you encountered or read about lately? They’re prevalent for a reason: every solopreneur is out to do the same — get more done with less, and make the most of our (seemingly limited) time.
The truth is, there are truly great methods out there — the Pomodoro Technique, unplugging, taking breaks, you name it. And different things work for different people. But there’s one trick I’ve witnessed that has worked time and time again for countless solopreneurs.
The key: batching
I’m sure you’ve heard of it before: batching. But what exactly does it mean?
The term “batching” simply means focused blocks of time spent on one task.
Multi-tasking is no longer the be-all, end-all for productivity that it was once thought to be. In fact, multi-tasking is actually a costly habit to form. Instead, adopting a batching process promotes getting your mind into a state of flow, where a singular focus leads to increased productivity.
When batching works best
While batching can be used for any to-do list in your personal or business life, I find that batching works best for me when I have a pretty hefty list full of either diverse tasks or clients.
As a copywriter and editor, I find it particularly helpful when it comes to adopting voices. Singularly focusing on one client means I can adopt their voice through-and-through for a set amount of time. Making a rule that I won’t check email or write social posts during that time keeps me from attempting to switch between the client’s voice and my own.
Even just hopping over to email to respond to something “real quick” means a mindset shift, and a break in your state of flow. Getting back into the groove of that client’s work takes at least 15 minutes. Those quarter hours add up quick!
How you can apply batching to your day
Batching can be applied in a slew of different ways. Here are a few ideas:
– Client tasks and projects
– Content creation for your own business (blog posts, newsletters, etc.)
– Collaborative projects
– Writing and scheduling social media posts
– Reading and responding to emails (Tim Ferriss has been doing this for years.)
– Setting up and improving the logistical processes for your business
You can batch your list out either by the actual type of task (i.e, writing), or by the client. In my case, it certainly works better to batch by client, then further batch by the type of work. So with clients for whom I write blogs posts, newsletters, and social posts, I first batch out a block of time to work specifically on that one client, then within that time, I batch the blog posts, then the newsletters, then the social posts.
Make your list, check it twice… then attack it by batching!
Take a look at your list and divide it out by either task or client. Then get out your calendar and batch out blocks of time.
Stick with it, not matter how hard it gets, for three weeks — after all, a new habit takes a minimum of 21 days to adopt, on average. Keep track of what you get done with an app like iDoneThis. Watch your productivity skyrocket.
Batching leads to greater productivity, which leads to happier clients, and a One Woman Shop with more time to read, play, relax, or hey, take on more clients. Not bad, eh?
Note: this e-course is now being offered to our members as one of five yearly e-courses included in membership (along with tons of other perks!). For details and to apply, visit our membership page!
This Productivity E-Course is brought to you by Cristina Roman, founder of One Woman Shop and CMR Strategies.
You’re busy- you don’t have time to find and test-drive new digital tools and come up with time-saving strategies. But we all know that having streamlined, tailored systems for your life and your business is important for being productive and efficient.
Luckily, I’m doing the work for you. For $50, you’ll get a weekly email from me over the course of 16 weeks detailing a strategy or tool that will save you time, get the answers you need, and help you maintain your sanity in your life, career, and business. Sounds good, right?
Here’s a sample of the things you’ll learn in this e-course:
Simplify your process for booking client meetings, coffee dates, coaching calls, and even friend get togethers
Streamline your work and notes across all your devices so you never wonder “Where did I write that down?!”
Ensure that you are effectively using your email inbox- not avoiding it or overusing it
Save time by incorporating small tricks that make your Google searching more effective
Easily find awesome people to collaborate with online to amp up your business or career
Save a few minutes here and a few minutes there (it adds up!) with some simple strategies
And here’s what people have been saying about it:
Cristina shares great tips. I thought I knew a lot of productivity tools already, but her emails always introduce me to at least 1-2 new things each week. This might include a new tool or advanced ways to use existing tools more effectively.
Cristina has an exceptional knack for working smart. She is acutely in tune with emerging technologies, and puts them to great use in her daily work. The tools and tips she shares here are essential for any professional on the go, who is looking to increase the efficiency of their work output!
I’m so glad I signed up for Cristina’s productivity & efficiency tips. I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to productivity tools, but Cristina shared tons of new information and strategies each week that I’d never heard about. I’m already noticing an increase in my work output each week and I can’t wait to see how much these tools improve my business!
I think that this productivity email series is perfect for individuals just starting up who are trying to figure out “best practices” for maximizing their time. It is also great for people who have been doing this for a while and may be stuck in their ways of doing things. Always great to hear what is working for other people and try it out in your own business!
If the price is a concern for you, think of it like this: let’s say your hourly rate is $20. Over the course of the entire course (and afterwards, when you’re still using the awesome tips and tools), you’ll only need to save 2.5 hours to pay off your investment. That’s less than a minute per day to make the investment worthwhile.
Since I believe so strongly in these tips, tools, and strategies, I’m offering a money back guarantee- find out more about my return policy here.
Welcome to Tools We Love, where we highlight some of the tools that make us more efficient, productive, and effective in our businesses. Have a tool that you want to share with the community? Email us!
FollowerWonk is a tool from Moz (formerly SEOMoz) that allows you to search Twitter bios. For those of you who are social media averse, don’t close your window yet- you can still make use of the tool.
We use FollowerWonk for a variety of reasons: to find bloggers to work with, to build the One Woman Shop community (by searching for “solopreneurs,” “female entrepreneur,” and “freelancer” for example), to find local service providers, to find sources for our Prior to the Hire features, to do competitor research for clients, and more.
Wondering how the tool might be useful for you? Use it to find interesting individuals in your industry to form partnerships with, profile on your site (like Rachel does in her PRo PRofile series, pitch about guest blog posts, and get inspired by. You can also seek out relevant individuals to send product samples to or use it get on the radar of corporate PR folks or local media (tweet this)!
Let’s say you want to know who in your area is already offering professional organizing services- if you’re in Philly, you could run the following search:
You may notice that there are a bunch of near-duplicate accounts- sort by Social Authority to separate the legitimate accounts from the spam accounts:
Likewise, if you wanted to find multipassionates to chat with (like we do!), you could search for “multipassionate” and “multipotentialites” on FollowerWonk.
In our opinion, it’s great to use FollowerWonk to connect with individuals directly on Twitter, but we like to take it a step further by searching Twitter bios, following the links in people’s bios, perusing their websites, and contacting them via email for a more personal connection.