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As an entrepreneur juggling multiple businesses, I’ve come to understand the value of time and the necessity to work efficiently. Over the years, I’ve honed some handy techniques that have helped me greatly streamline my workflow, minimize distractions and maximize my productivity.
Here are my eight favorite hacks for working efficiently, which I’m confident can help empower any entrepreneur to take charge of their time and achieve more with less. I use these methods every single day while running my cat brand tuft + paw, and they’ve worked exceptionally well for us.
1. Batch emails to reclaim focus
Email can easily become a constant source of interruption, stealing precious time from focused work. To combat this, adopt the habit of batching emails. Utilize tools like “batched inbox” to set specific times for email delivery, limiting it to twice a day. I like to dedicate focused time in the morning and the end of the day for email management, which frees up the rest of the day so I can concentrate on essential tasks and projects.
2. Create email filters for “unsubscribe”
Maintaining an organized inbox is so important for clear thinking. Set up email filters that direct any email containing the word “unsubscribe” into a separate “newsletter” folder. This declutters your primary inbox and your mind space, allowing you to prioritize and address critical emails more efficiently. When you have time, you can go through your newsletters and pick and choose what you want to read.
3. Batch similar tasks together
Context-switching between different types of tasks can be mentally taxing and inefficient. Embrace task batching by grouping like-tasks together in your to-do list or project management tool. For instance, on Asana, I schedule all email marketing tasks for Wednesdays and all my media buying tasks for Mondays. This approach can save you significant mental bandwidth and help you maintain focus on specific activities throughout the day.
4. Silence Slack and phone notifications
Phone distractions can be the biggest productivity killers, so for the love of God, turn off Slack and phone notifications while you’re working — there’s nothing like the “knock knock” sound of a Slack message for breaking your concentration and momentum. By silencing these notifications, you create an environment conducive to deep work. If you can maintain a deep work state for, say, 40% longer every day, you can see huge benefits for your business over time.
5. Prioritize communication and avoid being a blocker
Quick, effective communication is vital for smoothly running a business. Structure your day so you’re not a blocker to anyone else doing their job. In my instance, I make it a top priority to address emails, chats and messages from my team at the beginning of the workday. By promptly responding to your team’s needs, you remove potential blockers that could hinder their progress. Once you’ve dealt with immediate communications, you can immerse yourself in deep, uninterrupted work.
6. Limit meetings and opt for efficient alternatives
Meeting fatigue is a real thing, so try to schedule as few meetings as possible. Meetings often consume significant amounts of time and, just as often, yield minimal results. Furthermore, most people hate meetings but still suggest them because they feel obligated. If someone suggests a meeting to me that seems unnecessary, I usually respond, “I’ve been trying to reduce meetings — any chance we could do this via email instead?” People are usually more than happy to oblige because they didn’t want a meeting either. It’s a win-win.
7. Embrace asynchronous communication
Today’s work world is so interconnected, but more often than not, these connections end up being distractions. To take tip #6 a step further, I recommended implementing an asynchronous communication platform wherever appropriate. Tools like Loom, where you can play back video messages at 2x speed, or threaded discussions in project management platforms are so much more efficient than live Zoom calls or continuous Slack chats. This allows recipients to process and respond to information at their convenience, promoting a more flexible and productive workflow.
8. Reserve Slack for urgent matters only
Slack can be a fantastic tool for real-time communication, but it can also lead to constant interruptions. Only use Slack for urgent matters, and encourage your team to do the same. By setting this norm within your company culture, you create an environment where everyone can focus on their tasks without feeling overwhelmed by constant notifications. If every little message is urgent, then nothing is urgent.
As entrepreneurs, time is one of our most valuable assets, and we need to treat it as such.
By implementing time-saving practices, you can reclaim focus, minimize distractions and achieve higher levels of productivity. Remember, efficiency is not just about doing more work in less time, but rather about achieving better results with the time you have. By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can unlock your true potential as an entrepreneur and, by extension, unlock the potential of your team.