When you are an entrepreneur, solopreneur, or small biz owner, you do all of the things. As you’re taking care of tons of tasks, in tons of different departments, you already know that every minute counts. While there are plenty of game-changing record setters out there who are productivity czars, we all carve out our own way to get more done in less time.
The team here at The Legal Godfairy put our heads together and have crafted these productivity hacks, mostly based on how we personally extract maximum productivity out of our days. When the clock is tick-tick-ticking, you need a plan to make those seconds count. Time is money, so score that green as you conquer the clock using these productivity hacks. You got this! 💪🏼
1. Productivity Hack 1 = Prioritize Tasks
First, any productivity or time management method is going to start in the same place: putting tasks in order of priority. This is as much an energy management and exercise in self control as anything else. When you own and operate a small business, it’s easy to gravitate towards the tasks you like most, or that offer you easy wins. While there is something to be said for a quick check off (more on that in a minute), let’s really talk about the practice of prioritization.
Plan your day ahead of time — Yes, entrepreneurs are great at withstanding risk and winging it, but that’s not how you can live everyday if you want to be truly productive. You need a plan. It doesn’t have to fit a mold or be super complex, but whether you like a bullet journal, a whiteboard, a digital calendar or a punch list, find a way to standardize the structure of each day. Your day should be planned according to time. This can be broken out anyway you want, for example:
- Morning, afternoon, evening
- By hour on the hour
- By half-hour, or even twenty five minutes, like the Pomodoro Technique
The only rule is that you need a structure that makes sense in terms of your obligations and responsibilities, and that it allows for everything you need and want to do in a given day. Once you have that plan in place, you can prioritize what gets done when.
Write down your three most important tasks, easiest to hardest — Once you know what you’re doing broadly everyday, and at what time, you can set your tasks in order of priority. For instance, say you have these three tasks during the first work block of your day:
- Figure out if my logo needs to be trademarked
- Review resumes for virtual assistants
- Post an Instagram story
It will make you feel instantly productive to do the easiest and simplest thing first, then progress to the more difficult tasks. So, you may want to post an Instagram story as you’re drinking your espresso or chai. Then, review resumes for VAs, after which you do your logo trademark research. The early win will give you the feeling of accomplishment (you checked it off – confetti time!🎊), which provides emotional momentum into the more difficult tasks.
All of this prioritization, within the structure of your schedule, has the potential to exponentially improve how productive you are on a given day, sis. And it’s only the first productivity hack.
Next up: assignments and task management.
2. Productivity Hack 2 = Define Your Own Assignments
So, let’s just start this one by saying: we get it. You are the business. The business is you. It’s your baby, your love, your dream. All of this is great, because it means your heart is in the hustle. But it can also be a huge trap. When you have this much skin in the game, it’s easy to do it all. Think for a minute about what it means to be your own boss:
👉 How would you assign the tasks in front of you to someone else?
👉 How much is reasonable to do per day?
👉 What are the most important things, and the less important things?
This is a good second step of your task prioritization, but in terms of amplifying productivity, you need to take it a step further.
Let’s talk about time management — Believe it or not, just because you have a plan, doesn’t mean it will happen (did you laugh?). You already know that. But, truly, managing your time each day is a discipline, and as a coach or a consultant or a freelancer, here’s what we know: it’s a lot easier to try to do it all than it is to say no. But if you are going to build an actual empire, empress, you need to say no, you need to say when, and you need to own your time. Take the same attention and care in structuring your own time, then guard it like treasure.
Protect your time (there’s software to help) — Once you have timed tasks scheduled out in your day, the biggest threat to productivity is disruption. It’s the endless email check, or the social media scroll, or the text reply. Want to know how to fix it? This is almost too easy: change your notification settings. Use all the mighty power of a digital calendar, push notifications, Slack notifications, and whatever else to segment your tasks into the allotted time slots. Then, stick to it.
Don’t be instantly available all of the time — Especially if you’re just starting out, it’s easy to say yes all of the time and want to respond immediately, but you are conditioning everyone to assume that you are always available. This will backfire as you scale, and clients may feel they’re getting less from you than they used to. That’s our gentle way of saying: set the boundary, girl, and keep that line drawn in the sand. Really, it’s the only way you’ll focus long enough to do deep work.
Let’s imagine a perfect world in which you have infinite resources of energy and creativity. Even in that world, one thing is true: you can’t do it all. At least not all at once. A book we love, Atomic Habits written by James clear, talks about the 1% daily improvement. Small, incremental steps in the right direction, over time, yield remarkable results.
But in order for that change to take effect, you must apply your complete focus to one thing at a time. Multitasking is a myth: you are never doing your best work. We know that’s tough love.
3. Productivity Hack 3 = Outsource Low-Level Tasks
In case you’ve read pretty much any news in the last year, the entire world is immersed in a digital revolution. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more are creating systems that can alleviate the burden of menial tasks. If you want to be productive, you need to dedicate yourself to doing the things that only you can do. Now, it may take some time to hire your army of doers, but you’ve got to start somewhere. We suggest, as soon as possible, that you outsource low-level tasks.
These may include:
- Social media management: post creation, posting, engagement
- Direct messaging
- Email management: list building, copywriting, replies
- Scheduling and calendars (if no one’s told you, we’ll tell you: you shouldn’t be overseeing an endless back and forth of “when are you available?” and “what time zone is that again?” – Hire a VA and/or upgrade your business management software)
Anything that takes you away from developing your dream, and engaging in high-impact tasks, should be increasingly assigned elsewhere. Your time has a different value, and as the owner of the business, everyone’s paycheck is on your plate, sis.
A word about this, and this can be hard for hardworking biz owners to hear: the outcome of outsourcing may not be perfect. But we can tell you from personal experience, perfectionism can hamstring progress. Yes, you want beauty and good and excellence. But you also need to get tasks done, and take your hands off. This will be required more and more as your business grows, and it can feel like handing your baby over. But as long as you’ve done your due diligence and hired the right people, this is a sign of growth, and a good thing.
Trust the process.
Trust the progress.
You’ll be more productive and achieve your goals faster. 🙌
4. Productivity Hack 4 = Find (and Stick to) Routines
A lot of people who are inherently creative may feel completely routine-phobic, but sticking to a routine is one of the only ways to build the real muscle for a real business. This doesn’t mean your life is suddenly monotonous and you are stuck in an endless litany of tasks you don’t love. It also doesn’t mean you can’t burst out of your routine when creativity or inspo strikes. But, you don’t have to take our word for it: no professional athlete, high-performing business woman, or mover and shaker in the world got where they were without routines. If you want to operate among them, you have to do the same.
Routines are unique to you, which may help you feel a little less anxious about incorporating them. They are an intrinsic part of any behavior modification, and can help you leave behind old habits and pick up new ones.
Here’s an example of a routine from a high-performer on our team:
6:00am – Wake up, make coffee, cuddle the kids
6:30am – Get the kids dressed and ready for school
7:00am-8:00am – Yoga or running
8:00am-8:30am – Reading and meditation
8:30am-10:30am – Morning work block and admin tasks
10:30am-12:30pm – Morning meetings: open calendar for clients / client work
1:30pm-2:30pm – Afternoon work block and admin tasks
2:30pm-4:30pm – Afternoon meetings: open calendar for clients / client work
4:30pm-5:30pm – Late afternoon work block and admin tasks
5:30pm-8pm – Dinner and evening family time
8pm-10pm – Kids in bed, reading or TV time
The goal is that you create blocks of time where the same activities happen everyday. The exact activities will be determined based on your prioritized task list, but having space for them is mission critical. Over time, these routines will shape you, which is why they’re effective, long-term productivity hacks. You’ll be surprised at how, instead of stifling your creativity, they create predictability, so your mind isn’t constantly making decisions and is free to operate with optimal clarity.
Bonus: Care for Yourself
It may seem glib after all this talk of performance and productivity, but self care is crucial.
As a start-up owner or operator, you may live on a knife’s edge: will you get funding? Do you have all of the tools you need? What if you can’t keep up? From imposter syndrome to the real risks you’re taking, it is impossible to live with this level of stress all of the time. You can only bring your A-game if you have down time. Take regular breaks. You’ll come back fresh and ready to tackle anything.
The Legal Godfairy: Your Partners in Productivity
You’ll notice a recurring theme about becoming more productive, and it’s not one we made up:
Here at TLG, we work with high-performers all of the time. The clients, coaches, course creators, and creatives who make up our client base are people who recognize the value of partnering with experts. In legal matters, it is the only right decision to make. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to access essential contracts and business documents that are written by attorneys. Protect yourself and give yourself permission to not do it all. Browse our online collection now.
*Disclaimer: This blog post has been prepared solely for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied on for, legal advice. Should you require advice regarding a specific matter, appropriate legal or other professional advice should be obtained.