Top 5 Tips to Work Smarter Not Harder
Yes! While running around like a chicken with its head cut off may seem to be the answer for some people if you want more time towards your larger projects and less stress it is important that select what tasks deserve attention. Otherwise, everything will pile up on top of each other making things worse instead of better which leads me to my next point...
One of the best ways to do this is to keep a planner or project management software. I use ClickUp. Inside your planner (digital or written) you will want to record all of the important things you need to do. Your To-Do list should include dates and be organized by importance- always handle the most essential tasks first.
However, your business might be growing too rapidly for you to keep up with or you're running out of time to commit to it. That is when you need to work smarter, not harder. There are plenty of ways to do this. In this article, you'll find the Top 5 Ways to Work Smarter, not Harder.
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#1. Get Rid of Distractions
First, get rid of distractions while working. We are all guilty of checking our cell phones at work- but this can be very harmful to productivity. This is especially true for solopreneurs, who do not have a boss to tell them to get back to work. You will need to take responsibility for yourself.
Mute your phone during your working hours, turn off the notifications on your phone and email on your computer, remove the TV from your office/studio, etc. There are plenty of time management apps as well that you might want to consider using.
Since you will likely be working from home, you will need to be more disciplined with yourself to complete work.
At first, it can be hard to break distraction habits (like social media). Start by muting your phone and setting it aside while you work on essential tasks- this can make a world of difference for many people.
#2 Develop Your Time Management Skills
Of course, every solopreneur is going to need solid time management skills. Here are some quick tips to build your time management skills further:
- Start projects early
- Prioritize important tasks
- Plan ahead often
- Make a daily To-Do List
- Take breaks
- Schedule and plan around deadlines
- Keep your work areas organized
- Track when you are most productive
- Use apps to set reminders and timers
For the most part, time management requires that you sit down and work. You will need to set aside time to be productive, but this can still be hard for many people. We like to procrastinate, which can be a difficult habit to break.
Always start working at the same time each day. Take consistent breaks, then end your working hours at the same time. By following a routine, your brain will be encouraged to boost your productivity. If you do not have a routine, it would be best to plan one before you become an official solopreneur.
Taking breaks often will help keep your mind fresh and encourage you to be more productive. The Pomodoro Technique is simple and easy to follow. Simply set a timer for 25 minutes, work that entire time, then take a five-minute break. You will repeat this process until you are done with the project- you will be surprised at what a difference this can make!
For more about Time Management, you can download the Daily, Weekly, Monthly Checklist here. For a deeper dive, take the course called "Get More Time To Create in Your Studio" available to Art Business Members.
#3 Use Technology
You can also outsource some small groups of tasks using apps or ai. For example, you could use a social media bot to respond to your messages. This will give you more time to work on other, bigger projects.
One of my favorite technology that helps me create blog posts, emails, art product descriptions, and more is Jasper.ai (affiliate link). Check out these product descriptions that were written 98% by ai.
Apps are also extremely helpful for any solopreneur. A time management app like ClickUp (affiliate link) can track how you are spending your time and help you correct your habits where needed. This process can allow you to create a more effective workflow.
Overall, every solopreneur has a wide range of technology available to them. You can make use of apps and ai to help outsource your work, as well as review the way you are currently spending your time.
These next two are about getting help. Whenever I do hire externally to complete tasks I look at the cost/benefit ratio and ask myself:
- Is this task a direct revenue impact?
- If I were to do this task, how much time would it take? And is it the best use of my time (see question #1).
- Will it cost me more to do it myself in time than it is worth to pay someone else?
If the answer is no to any of the above, 90% of the time I'll outsource the task.
For example: creating infographics.
- Can I do it? Yes.
- Does it generate revenue? No.
- Is it the best use of my time to spend 3 hours creating a graphic or can I pay $10 of Fiverr for someone else to do it?
The answer is to get someone on Fiverr to do it or skip it altogether because it doesn't add to the bottom line.
#4 Hire a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is someone who can help you with small tasks remotely. They will schedule meetings and appointments, make phone calls, manage emails, and do other sorts of planning tasks. They are much like an office assistant, although they work from their home.
Here are some examples of what a Virtual Assistant can do for an artist:
- Research google trends and suggest keywords to use for a blog post
- Research trends for potential artwork
- Write long-form blog posts for you so that you can reuse them
- Proofread your content before publishing
- Document your SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)
- Research galleries that meet your style
Virtual assistants can be essential when you have too much work piling up on your plate. Instead of responding to dozens of emails yourself, the assistant will do it for you. That way, you can put all of your time and focus into the bigger tasks that help your business grow.
You might be surprised at how much time you spend making calls and responding to emails. Once you get those nonessential tasks out of your way, your business will grow so much faster.
#5 Outsource and Delegate Work
Next, you can outsource and delegate some projects to freelancers. If you are starting to have less time to manage your social media- hire someone to do it for you. Professional social media managers can improve your engagement and post content as needed. You will notice more growth when a pro is helping you out.
You can hire designers to create the iconography for your business, have someone else caption or translate your video content, hire a writer to make your blog posts or art descriptions, and more. If you have a task that is too time-consuming or too difficult- there are pros online who want to work with you.
The best part, you can do all the hiring online. UpWork, FreeUp, and Fiverr are just some examples of online platforms. These sites have tons of freelancers looking for work opportunities- you will be sure to find someone to fill the roles that you have.
Overall, it is important that solopreneurs feel comfortable delegating or outsourcing their work. As your business grows, there might be too many projects for you to manage all at once. By splitting up the work among others, you are ensuring that you have enough time to complete your essential tasks.
ALSO, CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE "Get More Time To Create in Your Studio" and collect the free Daily, Weekly, Monthly Checklist"
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