I used to spend an extremely long amount of hours each week working, but I have really cut back.
Has my income taken a hit? Nope.
Instead, I am trying to be smarter about the way I work.
It does help that I completely eliminated my old day job, but I have also learned how to work smarter, instead of working harder. Yes, I still work hard, but I am more smart with the time that I do have.
Below are my tips to work smarter when you’re self-employed.
Have a plan.
I always have a plan of what I need to do each day, each week and so on. I schedule everything onto my phone, and onto the notepad on my phone. This way I can easily see what needs to be done. I also never forget what needs to be done.
Without my lists and plans, I would be completely lost! I also really need it because I have a horrible memory…
Work when you work best.
There is a time when everyone works best. For example, I know online freelancers who can only work in the morning, and then I know others that can only work at 2 a.m. Everyone is different, and you should figure out when you work best so that you aren’t wasting a ton of time.
I like to work a little bit right when I wake up. However, I know for a fact that working when it’s super nice out usually does not work out well for me. I get preoccupied with wanting to do outdoorsy stuff, and it takes me 10 times longer to complete any work that needs to be done.
Also, I know that working late at night is not for me either. I used to be able to do that, but it doesn’t work well for me anymore because I am usually just too tired.
Get rid of anything that is causing you to slow down or procrastinate.
Do you have a lot of distractions around you when you are trying to work? I know I do!
It’s a big time suck too. I’ll open up the fridge or look to see what’s on TV. Heck, sometimes I’ll even work out or clean. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like what I do – I just get easily distracted and other things will continually run through my head until I do it.
So, what I try to do now is seclude myself. I won’t turn on the TV, I’ll work out first thing in the morning, and so on.
I try to eliminate all distractions so that I can really work.
Hire out what you need to.
I’ve used this example a few times, but it is a great one. When I used to work in retail management, there was a person who owned a store next door. It was a sports store that probably had a few hundred thousand dollars worth of inventory.
This store didn’t last very long. I can’t remember how long it was, but it was only around for just a few months. This guy poured his life savings into his new business.
Yet, he never hired a single employee.
He did EVERYTHING.
When I say everything, I really mean everything.
He was the cashier, he was the customer service, he cleaned the floors, handled all the inventory, did the accounting, was the manager, and everything else that you can think of.
His store eventually closed because he was too cheap to hire anyone, and he also never wanted to hand over any responsibility to anyone. He had no trust.
Fact is though, that if you have a growing business, ONE DAY you will have to have someone help you out. Whether you hire someone for just a few hours a week or if you have a 100 person company, a growing company will eventually need more help.
You might need a cashier, a virtual assistant, an accountant, a lawyer, or something else. If you can’t do something 100%, then you should always think about hiring the job/position out.
If you think that you can almost do something well, then you should research the pros and cons and really think about what you value.
Are you trying to work smarter?
Photo via Flickr by Purple Slog