The summer is blissful, as you’re enjoying family vacations and plenty of ice cream pit stops. But for business owners, there are a few significant negatives that come with this time of year. For my team, this season also involves carefully coordinating our travel schedules and dealing with slowed client correspondence, as they’re off enjoying their own vacations. As a result, we often head into the fall playing catch-up. When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s important not to let the carefree flow of summer impact your motivation so that you can continue to serve your clients effectively. Here are some productivity tricks in order to wrap up the year on a “full steam ahead” note.
Focus on your mindset
As we move through the back half of the year, stop and take a look at what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for you in the past. I’ve realized that Fridays are prime time for well-meaning people to check off their “to-do” lists by sending me edits, requests, and new ideas before their week finishes up. This inevitably leaves me feeling ultra overwhelmed on Monday. Because of this, I try to avoid setting Friday afternoon meetings. I also try to avoid Friday or Monday deadlines in order to create a more peaceful start and finish to the week. By setting these boundaries for myself, I’m able to foster a pace that works for my physical and mental well-being. Sometimes the best productivity tricks involve identifying when you’re not productive.
Eat that frog
Taken from Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog book on how to get more done in less time, choose the top three things you need to get done today that you are dreading doing. Do those first in the morning. That way you’re able to you sail through the remainder of the day with less stress. You’ve removed the dreaded feeling of the tasks that carried the most weight.
Beware of boundaries
Boundaries are one of the most important productivity tricks you can have in your toolbox, as they allow you to focus on only what is important and meaningful to you. The end of the summer is the perfect time to bring your boundaries back into focus. Both for yourself and with your clients and workflow. Remember: it’s both useful and healthy to take some time away from work during the day, whether you’re eating lunch, playing with your pets, or taking a short walk. This keeps burnout at bay and allows you to stay sharp. Know when to hit “pause” for a few minutes.
Focus on gratitude
If you’re feeling overwhelmed as you’re staring down a seemingly endless stream of emails and urgent requests, make it a point to shift your mindset. Instead of feeling sheer panic about how you’ll get everything done, move into gratitude. Feel thankful for the money that’s coming in the door. Appreciate that you get to do what you love each day, and that people are interested in your services. As you sit back into your gratitude, you’ll notice a significant change in both your energy and attitude.
Clean up your act
It sounds silly, but I’m a firm believer that your environment has a major impact on your mental state. This past week, my desk was littered with papers. I had also resorted to using sticky notes when I generally prefer to work digitally. As a result, I felt both scattered and overwhelmed, so I decided to spend a good chunk of the weekend hanging organizers, filing, and putting papers away. It was amazing how much sharper I felt on Monday morning. Checking to see how your environment is impacting your work is one of my favorite productivity tricks. It truly matters!
Identify how you can automate your workflow in order to use your energy most effectively. Yes, the initial act of automating your processes can be time-consuming in and of itself, but it will save you a significant amount of brain power in the long run. Some areas to look into automating include:
- Invoicing: Create recurring invoices so you don’t have to manually set up your invoices each week or month for recurring clients.
- Email autoresponders: If you’ve got a freebie or offering, insert them into an email autoresponder so you’re capitalizing on all leads without having to remember to follow up with each one individually. You can also consider putting together an autoresponder that greets those who have just signed up for your newsletter for a more personal touch.
- Capturing client information: If you’ve got information that you need to collect from new clients, put it into a form so you can easily gather these details and store the information in one place. When new clients make an appointment, you can send them a link to the form and feel confident that you’ll have all of the necessary information available to you prior to your conversation.
- Social media content: Programs like Hootsuite and Buffer make it much easier to find consistency with your content, as you can schedule posts in advance. This enables you to turn strong social media content into a regular part of your routine.
- Website plugins: If you consistently put out content on a platform such as YouTube, install a plugin so that your newest work will automatically pull to your website without you having to remember to update it manually.
- File sharing: Rather than digging through an endless chain of emails hoping to find that one specific piece of information your client shared with you, rely on a file sharing tool like Dropbox to make the sharing of information seamless.
- Bills: If you know you’ll be paying the same bills each month, set them up on auto pay and then forget about them, without fear of service interruption.
Carve out some time for automation now so you can stop doing it in little, time-consuming chunks over the coming months. Trust me, this upfront time investment will be worth it! As far as productivity tricks go, automating tasks is huge.
Asking for help
As entrepreneurs, we often struggle with asking for help, as it can feel like you’re admitting weakness or even defeat. But I can tell you that nothing increased my revenue stream like learning how to delegate properly.
Think of the top six tasks you do on a yearly basis that you simply can’t stand. You can either pay someone to take a dreaded task off your plate, or you can recruit someone who might be willing to share their energy with you. Maybe your best friend is a stay-at-home mom in the market for some part-time work or your mom is retired and looking for a way to stay active and engaged.
The other type of struggle I see comes from those who know they need help, but they’re not sure where to start. If this is the case, begin to carefully observe your own routine. Where do you feel stuck most often? Write these moments down, talk it out with a friend, or meditate on them. What would your best case scenario look like in these moments? If you’re still feeling stuck, I often find that asking yourself one of these questions can help shake some insights loose on where to start asking for help:
What brings me the most joy?
What do I dread doing each day?
When you’ve got some clarity about where, exactly, you need help (and which tasks you love doing and want to keep on your plate), it makes getting assistance much easier.
Normally at the end of these blog posts, I encourage you to take action. Today will be no different, but instead of leaning on our expertise, I’d love for you to take action for yourself!
Write out the top 5 tasks you wish you could hire someone to do in your business. Then, write out who you know that could help you on an ongoing basis. Do yourself a favor and start that conversation! Find out what it would cost, if they’re interested, and then assess whether you can move forward.
Finally, take 10 minutes today to think about how you want the rest of your year to feel. What needs to happen to keep that energy and momentum flowing?