Productivity: (noun) the effectiveness of productive effort, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.
Or: how much you get done.
But anyone who’s ever run their own small business (you) whilst raising kids (probably you too) will vouch for me when I say that being reasonably productive is pretty hard – even on a good day.
And on the bad days…forget it!
Those days when we’re feeling depleted after juggling all the things it’s easy to drift from task to task or get stuck on a loop checking email, social media, and the stats on your website traffic when you suddenly realize you’ve lost hours doing nothing and it’s time to pick the kids up.
So how can we stay on track and get all the things done?
To help me stay super organized and get at least something done in my business each day I use and recommend the following tips and tools – I hope you find them useful!
1. Plan ahead
There’s been many a night I’ve laid awake thinking about all the tasks ahead of me only to get completely sidetracked in the morning and not get any of the important tasks accomplished. So I find it helpful to plan my workday out the night before with a list numbered in order of priority.
I work around my kids schedules and nap times so my workdays have become very limited in the time I have to actually get anything done.
I have a longer window to work in the morning, which is when I usually book shoots in. Any time left over is for working on my business with marketing and admin related tasks. But the window quickly closes by mid afternoon when my kids wake up from their afternoon naps.
Once the kids are around there’s no work getting done until bedtime, and by that time I’m completely wiped out. So, instead of worrying about everything I need to do, I make a list of it so I can hit the ground running the next day.
2. Use a system that works
Task and time management are key for productivity and there are some handy software systems that make it all so much easier. If you’re a list lover like me, I’ve got three awesome tools to help you manage your to dos without ever wasting a scrap of paper. These are great if you prefer working online but if not then it might be best to stick to your trusty ol’ post it notes.
Planner Pads is great because it allows you to segment and categorize your to dos. Once you’ve organized your lists you can prioritize and schedule them based on the tasks that need to be completed first.
You can go the digital route and use the app or you can order an actual paper planner. If you prefer writing things down I suggest you stick with the physical planner. I started with the digital version, but I recently switched to the physical planner and I absolutely love it.
Trello is another great way to organize and categorize your tasks. It’s free, but has a paid version with more features if you need it. You can also invite people to collaborate with you on any number of different projects you’re working on.
Asana is a fantastic task management platform that allows you to delegate and collaborate with others. It also has a free version and a paid version with a whole host of incredible features.
3. Prioritize and delegate
You know I’m a big fan of outsourcing, but here is where it really becomes important. I’ve found myself on many occasions trying to do something that I don’t like, don’t do well or don’t understand how to do at all.
Take bookkeeping for example. I used to do my own bookwork (which I hated). I’d spend hours working on it and pull my hair out when the numbers didn’t add up. When I finally outsourced the bookwork I felt so relieved and had more time to do the things that brought in more business – like meeting clients and following up on enquiries.
4. Schedule it in
To make sure you get things done, it’s a good idea to block off dedicated time for it in your calendar. Like the saying goes, ‘if it’s not scheduled it wont get done’. Having the time set aside means you’re more likely to commit to doing the work and you wont get side tracked with other tasks or schedule over it. If you’re serious about your business you have to make it a priority so you can continue to move forward. Scheduling tasks in your calendar is a great place to start.
5. Start your day right
I recently had the pleasure of seeing Mel Robbins speak at a conference (and she was amazing!) I watched a video she shared that talked about how to set yourself up for success each morning.
She recommends giving yourself at least 30 minutes in the morning to do whatever you need to do (and that doesn’t include checking social media!) like a workout, meditation (if you’re into that), read a book for fun, or plan out your day – whatever makes you feel good.
I took Mel’s advice and I no longer sleep with my phone next to my bed. I put it in my bathroom, so I HAVE to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. I now get up every morning at 6 am (ugh) and jump on my spin bike. I’ve learned that if I don’t get up and do it right away I won’t later.
Starting my day with ‘me’ time makes me feel awesome and sets me up for the rest of the day. I can get my coffee and sneak a few minutes of Good Morning America in before the kids get up. I’m not racing and behind already by trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep. It’s so worth it!
I know what it’s like to feel like you’re drowning in your business because there are too many tasks that need to be done right now and there’s too much for just one person. Try a few of these tips and see if they make a difference for you in your business. I know they have made a huge difference in mine.
Let me know any productivity tips you have in the comments below!