Who Else Wants To Work Less And Earn More?

Do you fret over time?

Do you feel there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done?

Are you worried your business isn’t moving forward because you’re too tied up with the day to day stuff?

If so read on.

In this post I’m going to reveal 10 incredibly simple, but very powerful strategies you can use in your business to work less and earn more.

But first I need to tackle a dangerous myth…

There’s no such thing as time management

You can’t manage your time.

You really can’t.

No matter what you do that clock will keep ticking. There is a finite amount of time available each day and we all have the same allotted to us.

Which means if you want to grow a super successful micro business, you must stop trying to manage time.

Instead start managing yourself.

And you will if you try these 10 smart working practices – that are guaranteed to supercharge your productivity and ensure you get more done in less time.

Let’s get going…

1.  Set goals

If you have no end destination, how do you know where you are headed?

Goals keep you focused, forward thinking and set you up for greater success that your peers.

It’s critical you set stretching targets for the next year. Write them in the present tense. Keep them with you so you can regularly return to them and use them to track your progress. And if you’re a visual or creative person, vision boards can work exceptionally well.

2. Get organised

How’s your diary looking?

Do you have a single point where you can check your commitments, view your appointments and see deadlines at a glance.

By having commitments clearly identified you can also get smarter with your scheduling. Perhaps you can meet a customer after your networking meeting. Maybe you can visit the bookshop and feed your mind in between appointments. Be alert and aware for opportunities to maximise time away from your office.

3.  Use lists

If you do nothing else, this is the one tool to start using today.

Lists are so simply but incredibly powerful. Try this:

  • Create your yearly targets
  • Break those down into monthly goals at the beginning of each new month
  • Identify what you need to achieve each week and create your 7-day to do list
  • Finally, for each day develop a structured, prioritised day list.

And the best bit is ticking off those tasks as they get completed. It’s a great way to boost your confidence and create a visual record of what you have accomplished. In addition, as you get more stuff done, you’ll feel compelled to do even more.

4. Plan tomorrow before you finish today

Each morning you need to hit the ground running.

Time is valuable and you can’t afford to waste it faffing and pondering over what you’re going to do that day.

Instead make the last task of the day planning tomorrow.

It’s really easy and takes no more than 10 minutes. Simply look through your list of weekly targets and identify the most important and pressing tasks. Then write them on your day list.  Next add any day to day stuff so you don’t omit anything important. Finally sleep on it.

When you sleep your subconscious mind will sift and sort through next day’s tasks. Somehow you will uncover the right idea, find a solution to your problem and work significanlty smarter than you ever could planning on the hop.

5. Avoid distractions

I know it’s easier said than done! Distractions are everywhere.

But here’s the real killer. It’s when you kid yourself by engaging in “work avoidance strategies” and confuse busyness with productivity.

You don’t need to check your email every 5 minutes and you certainly don’t need to have a continual eye on your Twitter stream. Whilst these tasks are important, you need to make a time and a place for them. Otherwise you will sweat the small stuff leaving the high value work left on the shelf.

And the result? Your business at best stagnates, at worse starts peddling backwards.

6. Eat your frog

Procrastination is the disease of the poor. So stop it!

Have you noticed how you are more likely to put off the challenging, tricky and difficult jobs? You know the ones because they make you feel uncomfortable and take you out of your comfort zone. But here’s the thing. It’s exactly these type of tasks that enable you to gorw and develop your business.

Here’s an alternative approach…

Instead of putting off this type of work. Make it the first thing you do each morning. Remember your daily lists. Resist the temptation to stick the easy jobs in first. Yes you might achieve them quicker, but your “frog” – that tricky, unpalatable task will sit there looking at you. It weighs you down and sucks your energy. Just knowing you’ve still got to do it makes you feel tired

So instead do it first. Get it over and done with. You’ll feel so much better, lighter and more motivated for the rest of the day. It really works. And if you want to learn more about Brian Tracy’s ideas, I’d highly recommend his book Eat That Frog.

7. Tightly schedule each day

Back to our day list.

So you’ve identified the tasks you need to do each day and you’ve prioritised them so you tackle your frog first.

But that’s not enough.

In addition write down a start and finish time. If you have a deadline you’ll motivate yourself to stay focused and prevent that job extending endlessly. At first you might under or over estimate how long a task will take you to complete. But over time you’ll become acutely aware of how long specific jobs will take.

8. Start a power hour

Smart business owners see themselves as a marketer of their business not doers of it.

That’s because marketing is the single most important thing you can do to find and keep customers. And after all, customers are the lifeblood of your business. Whether it’s writing a sales letter, a guest blog, your own blog, creating a video, planning your strategy or researching your market, all these jobs are critical and essential to the success of your business.

But have you noticed. Because these jobs aren’t always urgent, they frequently get left?

You can change that by scheduling in a daily power hour.

During that one-hour slot work solidly on a high value task that’s closely linked towards your business goals. Ideally you want to do this every day  and it works best for me if I do it first thing in the morning (it’s often my frog).

To do this properly you need to shut off all distractions, set yourself a timer and then sit tight and focus.

This smart working practice could literally transform the fortunes of your business. Try it and see for yourself.

9. Prioritise your high value tasks

Are you confusing busyness with productivity?

As a micro business owner it’s tempting to get swept along with the day to day stuff. You end up fire fighting, dealing with immediate phone calls and  before you know it, the day has evaportated and you’re unclear exactly what you have acheived.

When you are in this zone, you are in danger of damaging the future success of your micro business because you are not focused on the tasks that keep you current and help you to grow.

The high value work in your business is what moves you closer to your defined goals. What’s it for you. Is it:

  • Working on your blog
  • Submitting that guest post
  • Honing your presentation skills
  • Developing that new product or service so it’s ready for market
  • Researching and understanding your target customer
  • Writing that sales letter
  • Creating an incentive to grow your email list

Whatever it is for you, make time for it. Hey use your power hour to move forward at a much greater pace.

For sure you may have to stop doing some stuff. You may find yourself saying no more frequently. But in the longer term, your business will become fitter, smarter and more profitable.

10. Just do it

All these ideas are great. And they all work. I’ve tried and tested each and every one of them.

But here’s the deal. Until you start implementing any of this stuff it’s just theory. It’s just potential.

To really see the benefits of these ideas you have to take action. You have to make commitments and you may have to step out of your comfort zone.

But is it worth it?

Oh yes. In fact if you’re serious about working less and earning more, implementing these ideas is a must.

So are you in?

I am 🙂

Over to you

The success of your business is firmly in your hands.

If you keep doing the same as you’ve always done, I can pretty much guarantee that this time next year your business will be very much like it is right now.

In comparison, if you step up today and take massive action. If you commit to doing something different. You are guaranteed to set your micro business onto a different course. So what are you going to do? What bad habits will you banish? What new stretching goal will you set yourself? How are you going to work less and earn more? Please let me know in the comments below.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Take a hard look at your attitude to time. Are you wasting it? If so decide today which of these 10 smart working habits you are going to implement and start now.

Paul Cox

I’m a dad, husband and MICRO business owner which for anyone are 3 big plates to keep spinning. So I took the most time consuming task – paperwork and accounts in my B2B promotional gift company – and developed software to do it quickly and efficiently and SpinLessPlates was created. To discover how SpinLessPlates features could save you time click here, or read more time saving tips and boost your micro business efficiency on the more time work less blog.

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Comments

  1. Great post Paul, I get really bogged down with distractions… take today for example, the dog wrecking my bed this morning, having to take him for a walk, the washing, the lunch when my partner comes home! I love working from home, but somedays think I’d get much more done if I worked away from home. I am going to try and take your points from this post and see how I get on… 🙂
    Jo Harrison recently posted..How to Fully Utilize Google Plus for More Traffic and IncomeMy Profile

  2. Hi Jo
    Thanks so much for reading the post and commenting.
    Glad you liked it.
    I find there are always ‘things’ that come up when you work from home.
    Poorly girls, wooing dogs, deliveries for neighbours, etc but I find a good set of headphones, some music to focus with and selected deafness help a lot.
    And when I feel like renting desk space in an office I usually take a break, play with the girls and then go back to work.
    Always good to get a reminder of why we do what we do.
    Paul Cox recently posted..6 Sinful Work Avoidance Strategies That Eat Time And Destroy ProductivityMy Profile

  3. Very good article Paul and useful tips. Just a small comment, if I may. I feel number 9 is very important and should come sooner. I did a time management course several years ago (or should I now call it a self-management course?) and the main lesson for me was that in the list of tasks you should always include first those that are important but not urgent. These should take 80% of your time. Since then I have always tried to follow this rule.

    • Hi Giuseppe
      It is a brilliant point and one that I will remember in future posts – always put the most important points at the top of the list.
      Thank you.
      The 80% rule is a classic isn’t it. Listening the Jim Rohns Challenge to Succeed this morning and his philosophy on how successful businesses become successful are full of classics as simple as this
      Thanks again for you brilliant comment
      Paul
      Paul Cox recently posted..9 Reasons Lists Will Increase Your Small Business ProductivityMy Profile

  4. Hi Paul, wow there are so many cracking ideas contained in this post. As a micro business owner it’s so crucial to be able to make the most out of each working day, and to manage yourself so you actively create time to focus on the high value work that will grow and develop your business. It’s those daily disciplines and holding yourself accountable that are key. I’m excited about trying out some of the stuff in this post and I’ve got a feeling the power hour is going to make the most difference to my business.

    Exciting stuff 🙂
    Georgina El Morshdy recently posted..10 Crucial Questions To Ask Before You Start Your BlogMy Profile

  5. I have one rule. Stop stressing about rules. Business is constantly moving, your schedule will move and shift, especially if you’re a new business or into a growth phase.

    Diary time every week and month to go somewhere that isn’t your office/desk and just be. That’s when the big picture wants come out, and that’s when you write most of this. Then it’s just Do Next Thing day to day, which is much easier!

    She who gets overwhelmed by posts like this now matter how true they may be 😉
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..Thinking about your tax return?My Profile

    • Thanks for your comment Rosie.
      Understand your comments but of course can’t agree.
      By only doing the ‘next thing day to day’ and not focussing on tasks that move your business towards your exit goal then you move more sideways that forwards.
      Its a little bit like driving from London to Glasgow but looking at a map through a straw.
      You will get there in the end but you will go down a lot of dead ends and make a lot of wrong turns first.
      Paul Cox recently posted..9 Reasons Lists Will Increase Your Small Business ProductivityMy Profile

  6. well done on your first ever blog post!!

    A great one, full of excellent tips which really make a difference in making yourself more productive!
    Claire Boyles ( recently posted..Shhhhh! It’s a Top Secret #Bubblemission!My Profile

  7. Janine Beattie says:

    Paul, great blog. And great top 10 tips to focus and stay focussed, I find I am so easily distracted that it is easy to not get anything done! Eat that frog! Love it! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] A list of ways to work less – and more productively – from Microbusiness Hub. A great list, although I did a double-take when I saw “eat that frog.” From “Who Else Wants To Work Less And Earn More?” […]

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