Productivity Hacks For Entrepreneurs (How to make the MOST of your work time)
What’s uuuup? I’m Makayla Ervin. I’m guessing you’re here because you’re avoiding the 9 million things on your to-do list that have you completely overwhelmed and likely lost as to where to start. That’s alright. I won’t tell anyone.
I’m going to help you make the most of your time so that you don’t have to keep putting off what you need to do to push the needle in your business.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a business owner say that they have so much to do and not enough time to do it...I’d be 3 cocktails deep on my private island right now. But alas, I am not so, the next best thing to me is to be here - writing this for you - so that you no longer have to suffer this misery.
Listen, I get it. Mama of 2 and business coach to many (plus, I have a LOT of Grey’s Anatomy to catch up on). Life is FULL - no doubt. SO let me share how I cracked the productivity code and still get ish DONE during my work time - without sacrificing my life.
The first thing you need to do is HYPE YOURSELF UP.
The leading cause of not being productive is not being focused and that lack of focus comes from...you guessed it...being EXHAUSTED. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. ANY combination of these will surely suck your energy and your drive to get anything done.
You will have to take frequent breaks and work overtime to keep focused (which will further drain your energy).
To recharge your battery and open up your energy channels, you need to do something that inspires you and gets you excited to start your work day. I call this “Inspiration Hour” (but it doesn’t have to take an hour).
I begin my work days at 1PM. So usually by then we have done ALL the things including deep cleaning the house, going to the zoo, fetching 6 billion snacks, answering a handful of emergency emails, running 3 sets of errands, ANDDDD a partridge in a pear tree. My hype up seems counterintuitive after all that but you know what? It works like a charm.
Before I begin my work days - I have a dance party. YUP. 30 minutes, my most crunk playlist, and a round brush for a microphone. I. Get. It.
And once I’m done, I am so excited to handle anything that will come my way over the next 6 hours.
Now yours doesn’t have to be that extreme. In other seasons, I've read a book, listened to a podcast or watched a Youtube video. Whatever can help you reset and transition from whatever life looked like 30 minutes ago to being in the zone and ready to get things done...that’s what you need to do.
Let me know in the comments what you will do to hype yourself up before work this week!
Second thing is - eliminate distractions.
YES I’m talking about your phone. Mainly...But there are many other distractions when working from home. You know what your kryptonite is.
Part of being your own boss is...being the boss. If you were working in the office, would your boss be cool with you pausing your work every 15 minutes to hop on Facebook to see if Susie posted the pic of her new haircut she was hinting at earlier? No.
She would probably implement a new phone rule or worse...fire you.
We won’t be doing any firing today but - it is important that you diagnose the problem at hand.
If the phone is the problem put it out of sight. Turn off the ringer and set little milestones for yourself to be able to check it. Like…”Once I’ve planned 2 weeks of content I can check it for 15 minutes. “
If kids and other family members are the distraction, make sure you have appropriate childcare or a spouse to tag in for you while you’re working. Set strict rules on when it is and is not okay to interrupt you while you’re working.
A little tip on this - YOU are the first person who is going to take your business seriously. So until you tell your kids and your husband and your grandmother that you cannot come see the cool bird outside or answer the phone for the 3rd time...they won’t stop asking you to.
This is a hard one but you have to realize that the weight of the world is not falling on you. You have to step back in order for others to step up and so that you can exert some of your incredible energy into this dream of yours.
WHEW. End rant - for now.
Number 3 is...Create a Top 3 (Hey, that’s fitting.)
The most frustrating days for me are those days when I work my butt off for 6 or more hours and then still feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. (Those exact days are probably why you’re here!)
But even when I’m super focused and work to the bone for all of that time - it’s still possible for you to not really do anything that contributes to the growth of your business.
Sure you may have tweaked your branding or fixed up your website. But did you REALLY do something that was adding more clients to your roster or making more sales in your business?
The best way to avoid this pitfall of “purpose-less hustling” is to designate 3 non-negotiable items at the top of your agenda each day that will contribute to the growth of your business. These can be 3 things in your funnel, they can be the same 3 things every day, or they can change out between several key things. But the point is for you to have these things and do them immediately after you hype yourself up and then remove all distractions.
You can check things off the list and if there’s something else more “fun” that you want to do after, it will encourage you to go faster and check those things off quickly so you can get to the fun stuff.
For instance. For me, working with my clients is the fun part. I could sit in my emails and on coaching calls all day long with them. DUH - it’s why I’m a coach. But, If I’m not careful to balance my time, I’ll risk spending all of my hours coaching and no hours creating new content and connecting with more people like you who need the knowledge that I have.
Trust me, I’ve fallen into this place before.
So, if you knock out those 3 at the very beginning, you can work on your “fun stuff” guilt free and knowing that your business will still grow because you’ve taken care of the important stuff first thing.
Number 4 Time Block.
UGH, I know. THat’s the worst - huh? People are always saying it but it never makes sense right???
Let me help you out. I HATED time blocking when I first heard it. I’m too scatter brained to pin everything down into a categorized day. Because - what if I forget a social media channel on social media day and then I have to wait a whole ‘nother week or risk it cutting in to my recording day.
It. Stressed. Me. Out.
But it doesn’t change the fact that time blocking works because batch working (which is the mother of time blocking) is scientifically proven to just….make more sense for humans and our complex brains.
The way most of us function, we work better when we are on a roll. Meaning that if you can dedicate an entire day to social media content, you’re going to get into a flow and it’s going to roll out of you much easier than doing one post per day in the middle of your day.
For instance, right now I am writing this on my content day. My content day is part of my show week where I batch create ALL of the content that will be on this show for the entire month.
That doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything else. It means that I’m strategically placing my tasks throughout my day where they will flow BEST. (In about 30 minutes I’m wrapping my day up with a coaching call - see?)
There’s flexibility in time blocking - meaning you can block hours, days, weeks, even MONTHS as it makes sense for you. It’s NOT easy at first because you’ve been working in chaos for so long, you kind of have to reign it in as you go. But I promise if you commit for 30 days to staying the course and trying to make it work for you, you will find your groove and see a huge improvement.
“Just because you CAN do it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD be doing it.”
-Christina Caley, Bins and Grins Professional Organizing
Number five is...outsource the time bandits.
A wise friend of mine (who is also the queen of organizing - Chrissy Caley) once said that “Just because you CAN do it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD be doing it.”
I know the struggle of not wanting to trust ANY of your business baby to anyone. It’s so valid. But rest assured that many an entrepreneur have gone before you and endured the pains of hiring and training someone new.
It’s SO hard watching them do it not as well as you would’ve, but nice to be able to breathe a sigh of relief that you didn’t have to do it yourself. Plus - everyone starts somewhere...
Then if you stick it out for a few minutes, you’ll have the pleasure of watching them do it BETTER than you would’ve. Watching them put their own spin on your business and making it even MORE incredible than it was before. (Because that’s usually what happens once they learn how!)
Outsourcing is an amazing thing. But it involves letting go and giving up your death grip and trusting that everything won’t crash and burn.
It also takes time to outsource. SO many entrepreneurs make the mistake of outsourcing everything all at once to a VA and then getting upset when it’s too much for them to handle (I made that mistake...I’m ‘so many entrepreneurs’)
My best advice for avoiding this (and I’m wishing I could turn back time and watch this myself before ever delegating) is to write out everything you WILL delegate once your business takes off. All of the roles you will have in your business AND YOUR LIFE (housekeeper included).
Will you have one social media girl who handles it all? Or will you have someone specific for Instagram and Pinterest and Facebook? Will you have a separate ads manager? Will someone just come clean your house or will you have an organizer too?
If you could have ALL the help you desired what would that look like? Write it out and start outsourcing things little bits at a time as you can. Don’t wait until you’re so overwhelmed that you have to throw it all on someone else, that’s not fair.
Write it out and ask “what can I get rid of FIRST?”
THIS is how you can ELIMINATE overwhelm as an entrepreneur and put an end to feeling like you’re being pulled in 15 MILLION directions every single day. You. Must. Have. A. Plan. that you can uphold long term. Because if you’re burnt out now and your business is not where you want it to be, Imagine what it will be like once you’re really running (assuming you can still get there with all of the pressure).
Let’s do a quick recap so I know you’ve got it all.
First, hype yourself up. DO a dance, read a book, listen to Jenna Kutcher or Rachel Hollis for 30 minutes so that you can well up with energy and reset your mind for the important work that’s ahead of you.
Second, cut out all distractions. If it’s hard for you to put your phone away - all the more reason to put it away. I don’t know what else to tell ya sister. Self. Con. Trol.
Third, Create your top 3 non-negotiables that you MUST accomplish before you start doing anything else for your business. Remember these are things that are directly related to client creation and money makin’.
Four is time block, batch work, organize your life, whatever you need to call it so that it appeals to you and you implement it - for 30 days. Let me know how it works for you.
And finally five, outsource the time bandits. Get anything off of your plate that you can. However you can. Whether it be service trade or paying someone cold hard cash. Just do it, you can thank me later.
And truly sister, if you’re feeling stuck despite the fact that you know rapid growth is possible in your business, you need to CHECK OUT MY MASTERCLASS FOR LIMITLESS FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS. This class outlines the ONLY FIVE THINGS you need to focus on to take your business from where it is currently to where you dream it can be “one day”.
So often we are spilling our energy into areas that aren’t making us money and you’re too valuable for that. If you have a dream and you’re just lacking the “how” to get you there, I’ve got you. This same system has helped coaches, ecommerce businesses, workshop leaders, event planners, and even home bakers take their big visions, put them on paper and see them through.