Organizing Your Working Day: How to Improve Your Efficiency
Being your own boss can be great, but it can be difficult to adjust to the fact that you have to actually be your own boss. Those in traditional employment often have their tasks laid out for them – those who work for themselves have to lay out their own; then they have to complete them.
However, not all tasks can be completed in one day, or even in one week. As such, prioritization, structure, and discipline are key to success. Full-time and part-time freelancing are becoming more and more popular – sound organization can put you ahead of the curve.
In this post, we’ll talk about the importance of efficiency, and give you some easy tips on how best to organize your working day. We’ll also introduce some tools that will help you manage the balance. Let’s jump in!
Why It’s Important to Maximize Your Efficiency
Inefficiency is a term frequently used in the corporate world to describe things like overstaffing and redundant procedures. While your business might not need to ‘trim the fat’ in the same way, the essentials of inefficiency are true from the startup to the multinational: poor communication, poor use of time and poor use of money.
If you’re self-employed, you can have single unproductive days for almost any reason; even a bad night’s sleep can take its toll. However, continued inefficiency is generally due to a larger problem. This can include anything from having a messy work space, or can be down to poor client communication and bad planning.
Let’s say you wake up on Monday and leap into an exciting job due on Wednesday. In your haste, you forget to work on a quick job due on Monday afternoon, which leads to a missed deadline and an angry client. Even the most clear-headed can make such an error – but mistakes like these can be avoided by some simple organization.
Ongoing issues with organization can cost small businesses and individuals dearly. Not only can it negatively impact your relationship with your clients, it can also reduce the quality of your work and hurt your bottom line.
3 Ways You Can Organize Your Working Day
By making a few simple considerations towards planning and structure, you can keep on top of your tasks. Here are three tips to help you get started!
1. Be Realistic About Your Workflow
Being realistic about what you can and can’t do – both as a business and a human being – will make your life far easier. Although it’s a pain to turn down jobs, rushed a project will reflect far worse on your business in the long run than politely declining it. If you can’t do a job, you might consider recommending someone who can – they may well return the favour one day.
By setting yourself straightforward, realistic parameters, you’ll never bite off more than you can chew. As such, think about the hours you want to work, the time your projects will take, and keep deadlines at the forefront of each working day.
Once you’ve thought about your workload, it helps to set it out visually. Evernote is a great tool to do this. It will keep your projects in one place, and help you to calmly prioritize and clarify them.
If you’re looking to delegate or plan a job in stages, you may want to try Trello. This handy program lets you coordinate projects via virtual post-it notes – moving, assigning and actioning them as necessary, or keeping them on the backburner until a later date.
2. Create Targets and Schedules (And Stick to Them)
With your day-to-day workflow taken care of, it’s time to look at the bigger picture: what do you want to achieve this month, or even this year? Perhaps you want to bag a certain client, finish a large batch of work, or earn a certain amount. Whatever the goal, setting yourself targets (and schedules for meeting them) is a great way of gliding smoothly towards the finish line.
A straightforward Google Calendar will ensure that you can keep your eyes on the proverbial prize – whether it happens to be a week or a year away. It’s easy to annotate and works brilliantly across multiple devices, so you can access it even if you’re not at your desk.
Another useful tool is Wunderlist, which will help you to slowly chip away at your tasks and keep you moving towards your goals. After setting your to-do lists and due dates, you’ll receive handy updates and notifications to keep you on track throughout. What’s more, you can easily categorize your lists and share them with others.
3. Use a Time Management Tool
Finally, using a time management tool will ensure that you’re able to keep distractions to a minimum and track the time you’re actually working. This is important for ensuring you’re invoicing correctly, working productively, and maintaining your records.
One such tool is Focus Booster, which breaks all work into 25 minute chunks. This is also known as the Pomodoro Technique and can help you stay focused on your work and maintain a healthy work/life balance. Its dashboard will also visualise where there’s room to improve your efficiency.
When it comes to ensuring that your time is properly logged and billable, then Hiveage’s integrated Time Tracker is just the ticket. It allows you to track your hours, including expenses, mileage and rates, before converting them seamlessly into an invoice.
Disorganisation and inefficiency can have a very negative impact on your business — creating a cycle of wasted time and missed opportunities. By keeping on top of your workflow and time management, you’ll be able to boss being your own boss!
In this article, we’ve discussed how you can improve your efficiency and better organize your working day. To do this, you’ll need to:
- Be realistic about your workflow.
- Create targets/schedules and stick to them.
- Equip yourself with time management tools.
Do you have any questions about managing your time effectively? Let us know in the comments section below!