It’s 8.30am, Monday morning.
You’re sitting at your desk, compiling your ‘To Do’ list.
It’s busy and you need to prioritise your schedule.
The plates start spinning.
The phone rings.
You need to concentrate but you have to answer.
Time is ticking.
WHERE DOES TIME GO?
How many of you have difficulties managing your time?
Perhaps you’d like to be more productive but are unsure how to squeeze a few more minutes out of your day?
Last week I was at my desk just after 9.00am on Monday morning with my cup of tea, feeling positive, pumped and looking forward to the week ahead!
By 11.30am I was still in my pyjamas, my hair was a mess, my mouth was dry (it was well past my coffee time), my head was pounding and the phone starting ringing just as I was getting creative with one of my client’s social media platforms.
If you suffer from ‘plate-spinning syndrome’ as I do, there are solutions available to help you.
It’s possible to claw back some time each day and become more productive simply by changing a few ingrained habits, or making use of what technology has to offer. You don’t have to make radical changes; often it’s a question of becoming more aware of where those wasted minutes are going.
When I used to commute to work I regularly stopped at a coffee kiosk to grab a cappuccino in a desperate effort to wake up. The coffee only cost about £2.00 but when I added up how much those coffee stops were costing me per month, I was shocked.
Similarly, you may think a few minutes spent here and there on Twitter or Facebook won’t add up to much in terms of time, but together they’d probably amount an hour’s wasted productivity per day.
Time Management Solutions
Since starting my business I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some ‘movers & shakers’ who consistently produce informative, entertaining and imaginative work which attracts and engages their followers. I always value their advice so I decided to ask them what their ‘secret sauce’ was and how they manage to be so super-productive.
Wade’s story is inspirational.
Just a few years ago he was working as a miner in Virginia, spending all day confined in tiny underground spaces in dangerous conditions. After a fairly foreseeable accident at work which put an end to his mining ‘career’, Wade taught himself how to blog for a living and is now an influential writer, speaker, podcaster and relationship marketing expert.
Take the time to listen to his advice: it works!
✥ Wade’s Productivity Tip: Social Media
“One thing I really love that saves me time is the ‘Mention’ app. I enjoy (and make it a point) to reply to everyone who mentions me on social media. I think its important for engagement. Mention allows me to do this and it does all the work for me as far as locating people who have said something to me. A great time saving tool that encourages engagement.”
Martin reminds me of a Chess Master who’s at least 10 moves ahead of everyone else in terms of planning and strategy. He’s a Google Plus expert with over one million followers, author of 8 books and Star Wars geek, but despite a heavy work schedule Martin always finds time to encourage and support entrepreneurs. How does he do it?
✥ Martin’s Productivity Tip: Preparation
Martin clearly believes that the key to maximising your time is in planning and preparation, and writing everything down in a good, old-fashioned notebook,
“Buy a Moleskine book. Empty out your mind into either
a) a list of to-do’s, or
b) state of play, of projects.
Best app to get work done I’ve ever used.”
3. Jeff Sieh
[Creator and host of the Manly Pinterest Tips Show and Podcast: a show dedicated to adding testosterone, one pin at a time to Pinterest.]
Over the past few years Jeff Sieh has carved out quite a niche for himself on social media with his Manly Pinterest Tips and podcasts. Last year saw a distinct rise in men opening accounts on Pinterest.
“Pinterest reported that it saw a 73% increase in male users, year-over-year, in 2014.” – (Social Media Today)
I can’t help thinking that Jeff had a lot to do with that increase.
✥ Jeff’s Productivity Tips: Email Management & Pinterest Automation
“The biggest tool I’m in love with right now is Todoist. It allows me to sync my ‘To Do’ lists across devices and my phone. But the biggest killer feature is the ability to add tasks right from my gmail inbox that links to the original email. That saves me tons of time in my workflow and I also don’t have to chase down pesky emails!
Since I spend so much time on Pinterest, my go to tool for that platform is Tailwind. Not only to they have great analytics to help me find out what is working for me on Pinterest, but the ability to schedule pins is second to none. Couldn’t live without that tool!”
4. Ian Cleary
[Founder of Razor Social and influential blogger, Ian regularly speaks internationally on social media tools and technology.]
Ian’s expertise lies in social media and how to achieve the best results from smart tools and technology. Ian is a regular contributor to the New York Times, Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner and Venture Beat.
✥ Ian’s Productivity Tip: Minimise Distractions
“I use RescueTime to track where I’m spending time on a daily basis. Using this I realized that I was wasting too much time on email and I have significantly reduced this time since then. It’s a very useful tool and it saves me a lot of time!”
5. Ande Lyons
[Founder and Chief Possibility Officer of Possibility Partners.]
Ande provides tips, tools and resources for start-ups and early stage entrepreneurs to help them launch, brand and build their business without spending a fortune or wasting time.
She is a huge source of inspiration for entrepreneurs and is always busy interviewing guests for her “Possibility Partners TV Show”.
✥ Ande’s Productivity Tip: Focus & Mindfulness
“My favorite app is the Mindfulness Bell. It increases productivity because it helps your ‘state of mind’. You can set the bell to go off every hour as a reminder to be PRESENT… to practice awareness and self love… to bring your focus to gratitude and appreciation… to get off social media and other distractions and return to your wonderful work”.
According to Vertical Response, 66% of small businesses spend more time on social media than they did a year ago, with most time spent curating and sharing content.
So next time you click over to Twitter, ask yourself if it’s really necessary or could you be putting your time to better use? We all do it, believe me!
[Based in Melbourne, Australia, and owner of Click-Winning Content]
Melinda provides “results-driven online marketing consulting, optimisation and training services to Australian businesses, specialising in Google AdWords, Analytics and Google Plus.
As a busy entrepreneur herself, Melinda has some great time-saving strategies.
✥ Melinda’s Productivity Tip: Templates
“Create templates for all the emails that you send regularly and save them in Google Drive. Open Google Drive at the start of the day so that the templates are handy to copy and paste as needed.”
Email is still one of the most popular marketing tools and we certainly spend a heck of a long time each week sifting through our messages.
McKinsey & Company discovered that, “On average, workers spend 13 working hours each week” dealing with emails. So if we can streamline the process somehow using Melinda’s tip, or Jeff’s Todoist app, we may save ourselves an hour here and there.
[Currently Chief Marketing Officer of Weal Media. I am a web designer, branding enthusiast, blogger and social media junkie. Creativity is my fuel, social media is my game!]
Dustin is here, there and everywhere on social media and certainly has a full work schedule at Weal Media. Like me, Dustin probably spends most of his day in front of a screen, which is intensive work.
In an effort to pump out work and meet deadlines it’s easy to overlook our own personal health, which is counter-productive in the long run.
✥ Dustin’s Productivity Tip: Balance
“My best advice is to incorporate a ‘Pomodoro Technique’. This is a time management practice of breaking your day into 20 or 25-minute chunks to accomplish maximum focus/productivity. I use the amazing FocusBooster app to break my day into 20-minute chunks since I work in front of a computer all day.
They say that you should take a visual break every 20 minutes and let your eyes rest by focusing on something at least 20ft away for 20 seconds. This is called the 20/20/20 principle. So I’ve adopted that and incorporated it into my daily Pomodoro method for maximum productivity and minimum eye fatigue.”
✥ My Productivity Tip: Virtual Assistants
What can a Virtual Assistant do?
Just about everything an office-based PA can do apart from make your morning coffee, filing and photocopying. Save yourself time by outsourcing jobs that take up too much of your time or you simply don’t want to do. You can even transfer your telephone calls over to her during busy times so you can focus on urgent projects.
If you’re considering hiring a Virtual Assistant, I’d recommend that you carry out an initial search on LinkedIn. Key areas you’ll need check are:-
- Work history
- Relevant skills
- Recommendations from previous clients
Once you’ve narrowed down two or three possible candidates, arrange a face-to-face meeting if you live nearby. Failing that, schedule a Skype call or a Google Hangout during which you’ll need to cover the following points:-
- Charging rates
- Invoicing (can the VA work with you on an ad hoc basis or will you have to pay up front for a set amount of time per month?)
- File sharing
- Confidentiality and security
- Turnaround time for projects
If you’d like to have a chat with me about hiring a Virtual Assistant, please do contact me for an informal chat on 07739 988 561 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can ask me for general advice and will be under no pressure to use Virtuoso Assistant.
I’m always happy to help.