Anyone who has a small business knows time is precious. With so much on our plates, we need some powerful productivity tips to help us get more done in less time.
These days, our time is monopolized by so many things, it’s hard enough to keep our heads on straight, let alone grow a business.
When I was working full time and trying to build my own business, I had to get creative to find ways to save time (or else sacrifice time with my husband, and boy did that make him grumpy!).
In this post, I’m sharing the seven best strategies I’ve found for being more productive and getting things done faster. Because nobody wants to be working late into the night, using toothpicks to pry their tired eyes open. (Ouch!)
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1. Batch Your Photography (and Everything Else)
When you’re focusing on the same task for a longer period of time, you don’t need to switch gears in your head AND you get more efficient at it because you’re in a groove. That automatically saves you time right there.
When you’re getting ready to take a photo for social media, you already have your background set up, your props prepped, your camera or phone out, and your lighting ready. Why not get all the photos taken that you can?
If you’re using your phone, be sure to take both a square size photo (for Instagram) and a longer photo (for Pinterest).
Or, you can just take one longer photo, make a duplicate, and crop it into a square for Instagram. Whichever is faster for you.
In that same vein, sit down for one hour and write out all your Instagram captions for the next month. If you already have your photos taken, that knocks out all your Instagram posts that month in one fell swoop.
2. Repurpose Content
One of my favorite ways to do this is to re-use photos I’ve taken for Instagram posts (or Pinterest) as backgrounds for my Instagram stories.
If you blog, you can use short excerpts from posts you’ve already written as social media captions or pin descriptions.
If you’re worried about oversharing the same content, I promise your audience doesn’t see as much as you think they do. And even if they do, they probably won’t notice if they’ve seen it before.
Think about how much information (photos, videos, text, etc.) we consume on a daily basis. It’s a miracle I can even remember my own name!
3. Create Templates & Autotext
This one took me wayyy too long to figure out. But once I did, I was amazed at how much time (and sanity) it saved me.
Whenever a new customer had a question about shipping costs, I found myself typing out the same paragraph from scratch every single time. If that doesn’t drive you crazy…well, then you must have nerves of steel.
You should keep a text copy of any writing you’ll need to use more than 3 times. This includes emails, pitches, product descriptions, customer service responses – anything like that.
Use Microsoft OneNote to create a section on your computer with all your templates organized in one place.
If you use your phone a lot, like I’m forced to do (I’m looking at you, Instagram), you should set up keyboard shortcuts.
To do this on an iPhone, go to Settings –> General –> Keyboard –> Text Replacement. Tap the ‘+’ in the top right corner, then copy or type your text into the Phrase field.
In the Shortcut field, enter the shortcut phrase you’d like to use that will trigger the entire phrase to appear. For example, I use ‘newcust’ as a shortcut for information I typically send new customers on Instagram.
Then hit Save, and you’re ready to use your new keyboard shortcut!
4. Set up a Shipping Station
If you sell physical products, set up a shipping station with everything you need to package your orders.
Mine includes scissors, packaging tape, brown wrapping paper, twine, Scotch tape, and Thank You stickers. You can find links to some of the packaging materials I use here.
Having everything set up in one place will make you more efficient when shipping out your orders. Plus, you’re less likely to procrastinate if you don’t have to set it up again every time.
5. Automate Pinterest (& Instagram) with Tailwind
Tailwind has been a HUGE time-saver for me.
One of the main traffic strategies I focus on is Pinterest, and Tailwind makes it so quick and easy to schedule pins. It takes me less than an hour to fill my queue for an entire week.
You can batch-schedule pins, and if you’re part of any Tailwind tribes, you’ve got a ton of quality content already curated (with keywords!). It’s just waiting for you to select a board to schedule to.
Tailwind can even schedule your Instagram posts, too. I haven’t used that feature yet, but I definitely plan to in the future!
Tailwind is $15/month (or $10/month if you pay annually), but you can get a FREE trial here. Check out my Ultimate Strategy Guide to Using Tailwind for Pinterest so you can get the most out of it!
6. Make a Weekly Plan
Pick a time once a week to plan your to-do list for each day that week. I’ve found the best time for me is in the morning, when my mind is fresh and not distracted.
If you do this ahead of time, you won’t waste any more time trying to figure out what to do once you finish each task. You’ll already know.
Plus, if you break your monster to-do list into smaller, daily chunks, it won’t feel quite so overwhelming.
7. Set up Email Filters
Email is a huge time suck. There’s no doubt about that. Most of the emails I get aren’t urgent, but somehow they usually distract me anyway.
If you’re anything like me, it’ll help to set up filters to go to different sections in your inbox.
Anything that doesn’t need a response right away should be sent to a category or label that’s separate from your main inbox.
For example, I get emails from Tailwind that give me updates on my Tailwind Tribes analytics. I get excited when it comes to analyzing my results (nerd alert!), so I always want to open these, but I don’t want it to distract me from what I’m doing at the moment. So I’ve set a filter to send emails from Tailwind to a folder I can look at later.
Gmail already does this for auto-generated social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, but you can go into more detail and set up filters for specific senders.
These time-saving tips have been so dang useful for myself, so I truly hope you choose to implement at least one of them.
Higher productivity means more time for creativity in your business. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome to me!
Now that you’re armed with these productivity tips, you’re ready to wrestle that massive to-do list.
If getting your business organized is on the list, I’ve got you covered! Here are 9 ways to get your business organized this year.