6 Ways to Work Less but Get More Done
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Everyone shares the same 24 hours in a day and yet some entrepreneurs simply get more done than others. Is it just a case of some people work harder than others?
We’ve all heard the saying, "work smarter, not harder," but many successful entrepreneurs have come to realize that productivity is part effort and part efficiency. Working smart is just as important as working hard, but often times we default to working hard because we don’t know how to work smart.
This article shares six different ways to get more done every day while working less so you can work smarter, not just harder.
The biggest struggle among unproductive entrepreneurs is learning what daily tasks can be outsourced and figuring out how to outsource them.
Virtual assistants (VA) can be a valuable asset to your business and a great way to buy back time. How much money are those tedious and repetitive tasks costing you?
If you’ve considered outsourcing some of your work, but don’t believe there’s anyone competent enough to do your work other than you, you should consider at least testing a VA before settling on that conclusion. It’s not hard to find a great VA if you are able to over-communicate what you need, and define clear outcomes.
If you have a team or partners, utilize them. Don’t be afraid to delegate work and responsibilities to team members when you need to.
You don’t need to be the superhero of your business. Prioritize what’s important to you, and delegate the rest. It’s all about delegating the right tasks to the right people. This involves matching the requirements of the task you’re delegating to the abilities of the person you’re delegating to. At first, you might want to start with delegating smaller tasks to your team.
Once you’ve built up enough confidence in your team, you can begin delegating entire jobs.
3. Focus more. Do less.
The key to getting more done is doing less. Don’t believe me?
Think of the last time you had several projects on your plate. How long did it take you to complete all of them?
Now consider the time you poured all of your attention into one project. How much better did that go?
Take on as few projects at a time as possible. Steve Jobs said it best during a conference in 1997, after he brought Apple’s project count down to 10 from 350.
“When you think about focusing, you think ‘Well, focusing is about saying yes.’ No. Focusing is about saying no,” Jobs said.
Say no to more things than you say yes to. Choose your projects carefully and purposefully. A general rule of thumb is to focus on one thing at a time. Have one goal, or one big thing, that needs to get done everyday, and focus on that.
4. Schedule breaks into your routine and work.
Momentum is important when it comes to productivity. However, entrepreneurs that rely on momentum to get more done tend to burn out faster. I’ve found myself trying to do more only to wind up actually accomplishing less.
Scheduling breaks into my routine has proved to be extremely valuable. I’ve been able to maintain momentum while working on tasks without burning out or losing focus and doing busy work.
Techniques such as using a Pomodoro timer allow for you to have regular breaks without having to consciously think about it, or remind yourself to take a break.
How much of your daily work life or daily routine can you automate?
Maybe there are emails you regularly receive that can receive an automated response. Maybe there are tools, such as Meet Edgar that can help you automate your social media marketing.
Use technology and the amount of tools available on the Internet to help you automate aspects of your life and business. There’s always potential for you to automate some aspects of your business.
6. Streamline as many processes as possible.
Look at the repetitive processes in your business, and see where you can either improve efficiency.
For example, you might interact with dozens of customers everyday, answering their questions. One of the most common ways to streamline customer service is to have prepared responses you can easily use for the most common questions you receive.
Other ideas may include reducing staff meetings; only checking emails once or twice a day at set schedules; consolidating software; or shortening your to-do list.
Look for the things that are redundant, unnecessary or creating delays in your business, and begin to eliminate.