Two concepts we have been taught go hand in hand are entrepreneurship and multi-tasking. But is multi-tasking all it’s cracked up to be? Here are some tips to being more efficient. Consider these tips suggested ways to save your business, improve your personal life and lower stress levels. They aren’t quick fixes but they are lifestyle changes meant to last not to get your through a rough patch of burnout.
- Stop multi-tasking and try uni-tasking
For me this was exceptionally hard. I am a working mother, need I say more? I am often afforded the awesome opportunity to work from home. When my children’s summer break started this year, I began to try out a new concept to me, The Pomodoro Technique. Feel free to Google it as I am not an expert I am merely a “newbie” follower. For 25 minutes I work uninterrupted then I take a 5-minute break. In which time I check on the kids and their sitter (a 15 year old life saver that has been with me for three summers now), switch laundry, get a snack or go for a short walk. Whatever seems to need attention at that moment in time. After four 25 minute work sessions / break sessions I take a longer break of 20-30 minutes. I am about a month into this new technique and most days I can consider it a success. Notice I said… most days!
- Try time blocking
In addition to The Pomodoro Technique I use time blocking. This concept is not new to me I have done it for many years, before “time blocking” became a thing. I set my day up in 1 hour intervals. I block off any meetings or obligations on the calendar first. Followed by important, time sensitive tasks, exercise, etc. (enter whatever is important to you). I look at the blank times slots and leave them alone! This affords me time to handle emergencies, unexpected time-consuming tasks, or time overruns that I didn’t see coming. Some days the blank spots allow me time to do whatever I want.
- List makers versus non-list makers
Confession… I am a list making junkie! Trust me, I’ve tried not being one and just go with the flow much like my laid back yet productive husband. This being said, step 1 is to figure out who you are and embrace it. Once I just learned to go with who I am, life actually started being better and even more relaxing then before. I just embraced the traits that make me who I am and admitted list making is sickly relaxing to me (most days). I spend 5-10 minutes each morning making my lists and time blocking. I have a master list, running lists of projects, goals and timelines for my business / professional life, my kids, my personal life and more for each week, month and year(s). Each night I write down the things I need to do that are on my mind and may keep me up at night (this literally takes 2 minutes). The funny thing is when I started doing this I began noticing the things that were keeping me up at night end up being insignificant the next day. Throughout the days “to dos” the things that need attention get jotted down in a notebook so they don’t distract me from the tasks at hand. I love the satisfaction of crossing something off and celebrating a good job done.
- Tech Breaks
Last but not least take time to free yourself. My phone, tablet and laptops are all wonderful business tools. They help me in ways I cannot describe. They give me opportunities I wouldn’t have without them. I am very thankful for them. However, it feels freeing and satisfying to put them down and turn them off or whatever works for you. So I block time to uni-task without interruptions from all things tech. An example is my current task of writing this blog. I do my research on the internet; then turn to a pen/pencil and paper to write; then it’s back to the laptop to type and edit. When I am done with this project/task, I will then take the time to tend to voicemails, text messages, emails etc. Trust me, they will still be there.
So how will these tips help you? Easy, you’re a business owner with a lot on your plate. If you could uni-task for just 2 hours and get a project or portion of a larger project done, finished, complete or you work on that project along with 1-3 additional tasks over a 10 hour period yet still not have anything completed or checked off your list; what would you choose? In a situation where saving your business, your livelihood, your financial stability is at stake make your plan then, put it into motion as efficiently as possible. Ready… Set…GO!
by Julie Harvatine
Julie Harvatine is the Director of Accounts at The Waterford Group USA and has a passion for helping business owners. If you would like to speak to Julie she can be reached at 866-324-7789 x112