If you’ve been struggling with finding ideas to increase efficiency and make time for your business, then you’re in the right place. Here, I’ll be sharing ways to increase efficiency that have worked for me, and those that work for other successful entrepreneurs.
As entrepreneurs, most of us have so many things tugging at our time. I’m sure you can probably relate. We may have:
- kids (maybe even primary responsibility like single parents or stay home parents)
- home management
- community service
- parents (maybe even dependent parents)
- and so many other things
“As a result, it can leave you wondering, “How can I spend time on my business when I have all of these other things I need to do?!!!” With so many things to juggle and trying to keep everything afloat, you can struggle with:
- Low productivity
- Low quality
- Or, paralysis from overwhelm
None of these options are ideal. I know many people who have been in this situation, and I’ve been in the situation myself.
I was in the military for almost 9 years. The large majority of the time, I was a single mom. Added to that, when I separated the military, my husband had started his construction company which was very dependent on his time, and I had a second baby! This scenario left me as the primary caretaker for the kids and the home because we believed that was best, but I still had a dream! I wanted to start my own business, and I’m still working my dream to build it into an enterprise.
I remember feeling tugged in different directions when I had to:
- Make sure clothes were washed
- Clean up after messes
- Change diapers
- Homeschool or send kids to school (I’ve done both)
- Make sales
- Do business presentations
- Take care of loved ones
- and the list goes on and on
This tug still exist from time to time, so I know how personal life demands can stack up, and how conflicted it can feel when you’re trying to grow a business and maintain your home at the same time. It can even make you irritable from time to time because you can get overwhelmed! As a result, I wrote this post to explain some things I’ve done that have been helpful for clearing time to allow me to work on my business.
If you’d like to view this content in video, check it out here:
Top 7 Things That Have Added Efficiency in My Personal Life
Being honest, what works for me may not work for you. You may want to be perfect in all walks and you may think some of my decisions aren’t something you can do, and that’s okay. I just want to share some things that have been helpful for me and others in hopes that it might be something you could consider or try also.
The ultimate goal here is to relive more of your time, so you can grow your business–this may not always be pretty or best case scenario, but we have to make sacrifices for things we really want, right? “Eat the meat and spit out the bones” of my tips here, and bend them to suit your needs. Without further ado, let’s dive in…
1. I Don’t try to Get “A’s” in Everything
Some people try to be the best at washing clothes, the best at folding clothes, the best at washing dishes, the best at vehicle maintenance, the best at homeschooling, and the best at sales and business. I commend them for that, but unfortunately, I haven’t seen that work for anyone.
In fact, many successful people I’ve seen do the contrary. For example, Dean Graziosi says:
“If you put your energy and focus into the things that you’re good at and become great at them, you can eventually pay for someone else to do the things you are not good at. This one strategy will help improve more than just your bank account. It will improve every area of your life.”
In other words, you have to be okay with being imperfect (or even bad) at some things, then when you focus on what you’re best at, it will open up opportunities for you to team with others who are good where you’re weak.
2. I Study Ways to increase efficiency on Day-to-Day Tasks
There are tasks I do like:
- Getting dressed
- and so on
While it might seem funny to study these tasks, you’ll find that when you do, someone does them different than you–that’s definitely been the case for me. From studying these basic things that many people often overlook and think “it’s just life”, I’ve learned about things like freezer cooking, efficient methods of cleaning, I’ve questioned things like “should I cut my hair or not”, and “should my morning makeup regimen take one hour?”. Just analyzing the basics has often times made me change my habits, and the habit changes have compounded into more time to work on my business.
Take this how you like, but I’ve:
- Cut my hair
- Made my morning regimen very basic
- I don’t try to pick new and unique outfits every day of the year (and maybe not even every day of the week!)–Sometimes, my motto is “as long as it’s clean”
- Not folded clothes
- I’ve been a subscriber of services like 5DollarMealPlan and MyFreezeasy
- I order my groceries in delivery or pickup most times
- I sign my kids up for recreation activities (especially ones with wi-fi)
- and put off other tasks to prioritize my business first.
Like I said, you may not want to make the same choices I have, but sometimes, something has to give! You decide what has to come off of your plate, and this may change from day to day. Be a little graceful with yourself.
3. I Focus on Building a Community Support System
This ancient quote says, “It takes a village to raise a child”, and I believe it’s true. Parents have some skills that will help their kids to grow, but there’s other skills they’ll learn from people in the community.
Added to that, sometimes, you need someone to fall back on. This may be a:
- Family member
- Church member, Sorority member, Person you volunteer with, etc.
- A co-worker
- A paid nanny or babysitter
- Or, someone you meet while out on the town
How the community support system is composed is up to you, but it’s crucial to have when you’re looking to start a business. My mom was a stay-home mom and entrepreneur. She used her community support system of female friends to trade off. They’d visit one another’s houses and clean together, watch one another’s kids, and go on outtings together.
The collaboration with her community meant that many of them were able to achieve professional goals. More than one of her friends were entrepreneurs, and some had no professional goals, but simply wanted “me time”, and their bartering gave them the space they needed to vent and overcome struggles faster as well as climb professional echelons.
4. I Replace Wasteful Habits with Productive Ones
Sometimes, it’s not a matter of getting more time, but simply of using the time you have more productively. For example, we all have the ability to make choices like:
- To wake up early or to sleep in late
- To spend long cooking times or to find more efficient routes
- To send our kids to school far away or to send them close
- To hang around toxic people that make you feel sluggish or to hand around people who motivate you
- And, the list goes on…
In a previous article on the Compound Effect, I described how each choice we make serves as a building block towards or against our end goals. While most of our choices don’t have direct or first-time impact, it’s the compounding of choices that makes the big difference. It’s up to each one of us to choose to walk into the positive compounding where we’re replacing bad habits with good, and inching closer to our goals, or, to walk into the negative compounding where we’re either stagnant or going the opposite of our goals.
5. I Keep My State of Mind Clear
You’d be surprised how much more inefficient we are:
- Right after an argument
- When we have unforgiveness or resentment towards someone
- After being accused or called a name
- When we lack confidence
- In an uncomfortable environment
- When we don’t feel safe (even emotionally or spiritually)
- When we’re scared (even if it’s fear of failure, rejection, or the unknowns)
- Or, simply when our emotions are off
Situations where our mind is congested with negative emotion causes our productivity to be off, which is why people like Lisa Nichols, Oprah Winfrey, and Tony Robbins (to name a few) credit forgiveness, gratitude practices, meditation and mindfulness as being keys to their success.
For me, I like to pray, read my Bible, listen to calming music, pamper myself, journal, or sit in silence, but everyone is different. You have to decide how can you maintain a clear mind, so the negative self talk and negative emotion isn’t clouding it, and making you inefficient.
You choose how you’d like to stay mindful, present, and with a clear mind. it’s subjective, but it works to improve your productivity, and will give you loads more time to focus on your business.
6. Keep a Schedule and Budget
Whether you choose to use Google Calendar, a written appointment book, or a Word Doc taped to the wall, it’s crucial to prepare and plan ahead. When you try to keep all of your appointments in your head, alot of time, you don’t prioritize, little things slip their way in, and before you know it, you’re not accomplishing everything you intended.
It’s important to sit down, write down your tasks, prioritize them by urgent, important, unimportant, and so on, and to make sure the most important tasks take the precedence with your time.
While a budget may not seem like it has anything to do with time, how often have you been asked to do something, and you find yourself trying to calculate your money (or do the math of what you have versus what you need) in your head? It takes time.
Instead, when you do your budget ahead of time, and you’re clear about what you have, what’s coming, and what’s going out, it saves you the time from pondering that stuff on the go. Knock it all out at once beforehand.
7. Create Routines
A genius quote you’ve definitely heard before says, “Perfect practice makes perfect”–this means if you do the same thing over and over the right way, you get better at it. This includes doing your hair, ironing your clothes, your driving routes, your blog post templates, and so much more. If you create a routine and practice doing it the “routine way” every time, you become more efficient, and make more time to grow your business.
I may not always do these things right, and I think most people struggle with this from time to time. It’s something we each have to practice and revisit because things change, so don’t feel bad if you’re evolving right now.
Overall, the goal of this article was to show you some practices that help me to have more time for my business, and I’m hoping that you hearing them makes you scrub your routines, and come up with ideas to increase your productivity. If you have more questions or concerns about this, leave them in the comments section below.
Now, it’s Your Turn…
- What do you do to improve efficiency and make time for your business?
- Do you do any of the things I’ve listed? Why or why not?
- Do you have funny inefficient stories you want to share?
Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.