Working Smarter When You’re Self-Employed

Working Smarter When You're Self-EmployedHow many hours do you work each day? How about each week?

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

 


Comments

Working Smarter When You’re Self-Employed — 18 Comments

  1. The “work when you’re at your best” tip has really been golden for me. I find these days that I’m at my most productive within minutes of waking up in the morning so I tend to do all my “creative” work first thing. I can pump out some good quality content in record time at 6 in morning, but if I leave it till mid-afternoon not only is quality compromised but it takes me so much longer to complete.

    In essence, I put my “most important” projects first, then move onto the less brain-intensive (social media activity, admin etc.) and get finished by early afternoon. Then I have the afternoon to myself to relax.

    I find that just working the mornings I still get just as much done as if I start a little later and try to force myself to work all day long. It was quite a realization!

  2. Definitely looking to always work smarter given my full time employment..

    Do you have tips for creating a system to outsource and how to actually focus on producing strategic gains for your online business rather than commenting all over the place? I tend to get very distracted :O ha

    Great post Michelle and good luck with everything coming up over the next few weeks

    • Haha sorry I don’t have any tips for commenting. I comment all over the place too, but luckily I enjoy it 🙂

  3. You’re so organized! I’m finding that creating a schedule is a bit difficult. I’m just starting out, so I’m not inundated with things to do yet, but moving has also thrown me off. I have to work on getting back on track with waking up earlier and scheduling in writing.

  4. In addition to making sure I know what I need to accomplish each day, I also try to do the most difficult thing first. I know if I’ve left something challenging until the end of the day, it usually doesn’t get done. I end up with an, “Oh well, I’ll just put it back on the to-do list” attitude. But if I do it first thing (often before I check my email) then everything else feels easier for the rest of the day!

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  6. Great post! I’ve been thinking about writing about this same thing, as I am continually striving to “work smarter, not harder!” I try to combine tasks as much as possible (I need to go to the post office and I want to get a run in- turns into I’ll run to the post office and back, etc).

  7. Great post Michelle! I think I need to get much better at being willing to hire things out. It’s hard for me to relinquish responsibility, though my goal is to hire out pretty much everything on a long-term basis. I also wish my 9-5 job had more flexible hours. I work much better at certain times of the day/night and wish I could take advantage of it.

  8. I agree that it’s important to eliminate distractions! Its easy to get pulled in a million different directions when you work at home if you’re not careful. There is always SOMETHING that needs to be done over here, or something calling/emailing me.

  9. I have been working much smarter here lately. I used to try to force myself to stick to a 9-5 schedule and it just didn’t work. Now I work for about 2-3 hours when I get up and then I usually get back to work from 7:30 -11 pm. I definitely get more done this way.

  10. “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.”

    THIS!

    Creating margins in life is the way to go! Work is work, walking the dog is walking the dog, hanging out with friends is hanging out with friends. It’s a lot easier than constantly juggling every aspect of your life at once.

  11. I sometimes find myself guilty of spinning my wheels a bit and I’ve been trying to work smarter too. I find the Pareto principle a good rule to follow. If 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your effort, it makes sense to spend more times on the most productive tasks and reduce or eliminate time spent on the rest.

  12. I’ve been trying to figure out lately when I’m most productive and how I can play it up to my strengths. I now know my power time to get ish done at work is 10am-2pm and I am now only trying to schedule being off site two days a week, so I’m hoping I can keep it up!

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  14. I just wrote about how I can’t do everything. It was bringing down my productivity honestly. Great post! I agree with every single thing said.

  15. When work is on the internet, it can be hard to eliminate distractions. Even though I only use twitter for the blog, I feel like I’m constantly inundated with information. Some of it is interesting and I get distracted. Just have to work on my focus, I guess!

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