When you're in the thick of things, it's sometimes hard to step back and take a breath. You feel like there are a million tasks to do and it's already the end of the day. Stress.🤯
Here are some simple processes that you can incorporate into your business and life to help you save time and feel less overwhelmed.
Create as many templates as you can. If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over, make it easier for yourself. These templates could be for cold emails, customer comms, social media posts. Literally anything.
Start by making a list of the times where having a template would be useful. How many situations do you have? Pick the top three and start building them out.
The templates I mainly use are for Twitter posts or email comms. There are three things I think about when writing a template, this helps me stay focused on the task.
- What am I trying to achieve with this message? It helps me to understand why I’m creating each message. I don’t want to be nagging people for the sake of it. So take a quick step back and ask yourself, is this message needed?
- Are my points clear? In templates and comms in general, try to be as clear and concise as you can. You don’t know how long someone will spend looking at your comms, so don’t make it a chore for them.
- Is my personality coming through? I don’t want the template to feel like a generic message that has been sent a million times before. So I make sure each template I create has a bit of ‘Lyd’.
It may take some time to pull together the initial templates themselves. But with each use, you’re saving exponentially more time.
Another positive of using templates is consistency. They make sure that you are using a consistent tone of voice throughout all comms. This will mean that your brand is consistent and as strong as ever 💪
Let it all out
Prioritisation is hard. It’s even harder if you don’t have the right processes in place.
When I was a Project Manager a lot of the time it seemed like everything on my list was a priority to someone. This drove me mad and there were many times where this would lead me to feeling overwhelmed. After a few freak outs, I decided I needed to change my approach.
At the beginning of each week I dump everything in my brain out onto paper. This included my to-do list, tasks, challenges, anything that was taking up too much space. I would go through my brain dump, making a point to understand each task. Noticing that most of the tasks were a lot smaller than I expected, which automatically made me feel less stressed. Once I had a grip on the tasks, I would breakdown who the task would affect and how. If I don’t manage to create the project plan today, will this affect the meeting I have with Millie tomorrow? This helped me see the bigger picture, understand what I could put on the back burner and define what ACTUALLY needed doing.
Understanding each task and knowing how and when you're going to achieve it will help you structure your time and prepare for the week ahead.
Tim Ferris, author, podcaster, investor, entrepreneur (the list goes on). Has three brilliant questions that help him prioritise:
1. Even if this project fails, will I develop relationships and skills that will persist past that failure?
Tim is reminding us to look at the bigger picture. Yes, the initial project may fail but there could be benefits of the project that flow into other opportunities. You’ll win in the end!
2. Which of these (projects/tasks) if done, will make all the rest easier or irrelevant or unimportant?
A lot of the time, tasks interlink with each other. You may do a task and gain insights that will make the rest of the tasks easier or completely redundant.
3. What makes you excited?
Follow what you enjoy. What can you not stop thinking about? Follow that excitement, it will take you on a brilliant journey.
Look at your brain dump and ask yourself the above questions. This will keep you focused, and you’ll know longer be wasting time on unimportant tasks.
Automation is key
Your computer is a beautiful thing, so let it do the work for you. Automate where you can. A saving grace, which I've only just started using, is Clean. Clean moves all those annoying files and screenshots from your desktop into folders. Not only hidden away, but also organised by month. So you get a clean desktop every day and find the files whenever you need them.
Not only does Clean save you time, it brings you joy knowing you will no longer have to look at a desktop that is chock-a-block.Another automated process I have recently welcomed into my life. Weekly Monday morning emails. Not just any Monday morning email, but one that encourages me to think about my plan for the week.This email includes three simple questions that get me thinking about the week, but also the bigger picture. The questions include:
- What’s the most important task to get done?
- What tasks make all the others redundant?
- What needs to be done now?
Having this in place means I’m already thinking about my priorities and tasks for the week ahead.This automation will help me hit the ground running and will save time getting my head back into ‘work’ mode.
Once you've got your tasks straight for the week. Simply block out the time you need for each task in your calendar (making sure there are breaks between each task of course!).
I tend to block my time out at the beginning of the week, once I’ve done my brain dump. This helps me understand what I need to achieve for the week ahead and how much time I have. I look at my calendar with a cup of tea in hand and start blocking. Spend 10-15 minutes every Monday on this and it will save you time in the long run. The time blocks will help you stay focused on the task at hand and will stop you getting distracted.
Delegating is cool 😎
In any business there are too many things to do at any given time. Some are important, some are time sensitive, others both. It can feel like there's not enough time in the day. Especially as a solo founder or at an early stage company. Make use of delegation.
You might not have employees or coworkers to delegate too, but consider part-time, external resources like Virtual Assistants and or agencies to help you along.
Found your resource? Here's how to make the most of them:
Understand what can and can’t be delegated
Of course not everything can be delegated, there will be tasks that will need your oversight and input. But there will be many different day-to-day activities that you can easily delegate to someone who can help tick them off of the list.
Start by taking note of everything that you have going on. Use your brain dump from earlier to help define these tasks. Once you have your overview, decide what tasks make sense to be delegated. Remember don’t hold on to tasks just just for the sake of it. Your third party help will be able to take your tasks and run with them. So don’t worry!
Share your processes and expectations
Once you have defined what tasks can be delegated, define your desired outcomes. Be clear in what you expect and share the processes you would use to achieve these outcomes. Creating a set of step-by-step instructions for each task, to help them carry out the task at hand. This will help reduce confusion and miscommunication.
Make sure to have a clear communication channel between the two of you. It’s important to have a safe space where questions can be asked if needed. Having this space will allow you to track progress and ensure efficiency.
Once you have delegated tasks, you'll have more time and head space to crack on with what you enjoy. Whilst the smaller tasks will be getting finished without worry!
Let me know if you have any tricks that help you save time!
Spend your time wisely ⏱