Are you struggling to get things done in your business?
You only have so many hours in a week, right?
In this post, I'm going to show you how to get more done in less time so you can get back to doing what you love – making your art and products.
My name is Mei Pak and I help makers, artists and creatives make a consistent income from selling their handmade products online.
Work in Batches
My very first tip for you is to do your work in bulk, or in batches. Like an assembly-line.
You're taking advantage of what's called “economies of scale”.
What this means is that it takes longer to do one type of task and it will save you time and effort when you do, say, 10 repetitions of that one task.
So for example, let's say you make dog treats. It takes just as much time to make one dog treat, as it does to make two dozen dog treats.
Let's take that a step further.
Compare making two dozen dog treats with making 6 dozen dog treats.
You might need to triple your recipe and it might take you slightly longer, overall, but when you calculate how much time it took to make each dozen, it will actually take you less time.
So try to do things in bigger batches.
Overall it may take more time, but when you take a magnifying glass and look at the time for just each item, it took less time to make each thing.
You're saving time by being more efficient.
Social Media Strategy
Another thing you can do in batches is your social media content.
Instead of posting a new photo to your Instagram once every day, why not take a couple of hours in one sitting and create posts for the next 30 days?
It might take you 15 to 20 minutes to create one post, but with batching, you could create 30 posts in 3-5 hours, making it between only 6 to 10 minutes per post.
When you've got a new product line to photograph, you're dedicating an entire afternoon to photograph every single product in your collection.
You're probably already doing some batching in your business, so think of how you can batch other tasks in your business, and let me know in the comments what you come up with!
Responding to Emails & Comments
If you're not already doing this, I highly recommend batching the task of responding to comments and emails.
That means don't check your email multiple times a day because every little switch you have to make between doing one task and moving to another will take time for your brain to adjust between the previous task and the next one.
If you're checking your email just once or twice a day then you're only doing two switches and you'll save some time.
Use Templates & Scripts
Use templates and scripts as much as you can in your business.
You can use templates for things like:
- Social media captions
- Product descriptions on your website
- Customer service emails
- Pitch emails for doing media outreach.
This makes it so that you're not starting from scratch every time.
When you start from scratch, you'll have to spend quite a bit of time thinking through everything. You don't have to do that so much when you can start with a template.
For example, you might get customer service email questions from people asking if you can rush order a certain product in your shop. If this is a question you get pretty frequently, turn that into a template. This allows you to have the overall structure of the email already written and you can just copy and paste that into the response.
Then you spend a little bit of time personalizing the email to your customer. That will take so much less time than you starting from scratch writing that email every time.
Work in Chunks of Focused Time
Work in smaller chunks of focused time. If you haven't heard of this before, it's called Parkinson's Law.
What this means is work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
Let's say you've got the task to write 5 new product descriptions for your website. If you give yourself 5 hours to do it, you're going to take all five hours to do it. If you give yourself 2 hours to do it, you're going to get it done in 2 hours.
It's kind of like that phenomenon with toothpaste. When you have a fresh tube of toothpaste, you might be more generous with how much you use in the beginning, but when you're starting to run out of it, then you start to skimp on it to make the toothpaste last longer.
Here's how you can make this work for you right now, today.
- Make a list of your tasks, and think about how much time you need to do all of it.
- Cut the amount of time you've given yourself by half
There's a cool thing that happens when you give yourself a tighter deadline, you become more focused, but it doesn't necessarily mean you'll produce lesser quality work.
Our brains are not designed to be working at a high level for too long, so you need breaks in between.
When you have too much time, your brain gets distracted. You might find yourself going on Facebook or chatting with some friends.
Try working, instead, in smaller chunks. Take breaks in between each chunk so when you're starting a new chunk, you have renewed energy to take on the next task.
This is exactly why, if you have a day job or you're a stay at home mom, and you just don't have that much time to work on your business, that's okay!
You don't really need that much time.
If you can find a half-hour in the morning and another half-hour at night then you can actually get a lot done.
Provided, of course, you know what you need to do during that time and you're using that time wisely on things that will move your business forward, and not just doing busy work.
Use a Strategy
Finally, you really need to work off of a strategy for everything you do.
Take the time to plan what you're going to do before you do it.
Write down, or at least mentally make note of, all the things you'll need before you start. How much time will you need? How are you going to tackle your tasks? That way when you get started, you don't have to wing it.
Planning also helps you NOT waste time.
For example, when I'm creating my YouTube videos, I know exactly what I'm going to say before I start recording. It saves me time rather than not knowing what I'm going to say, and then turning on the camera and figuring it all out on the fly.
You might be spending more time in the planning stage than the actual doing, and that's okay.
A lot of the times, the actual doing doesn't actually take up that much time.
When you're publishing a post on Facebook or Instagram (you've got your photo and your social media caption written out) the act of actually uploading the photo, typing in your caption, and then hitting publish takes all of 2 minutes.
But it's the process of taking the photo and thinking of what to write in your caption that takes up the bulk of the time.
Get in the habit of planning things out first and combine that with doing things in batches and you'll be saving a ton of time every week.
An advantage of working in these ways also makes you more consistent in your business.
Now you've got 30 social media posts scheduled and ready to go every day. You're not going to miss a day because, let's face it, some days we just don't feel like being on social media.
Instead of letting your emotions run your business, which makes you inconsistent, you're now operating from a place of systematic efficiency.
That's going to do wonders for your business.
Let me know in the comments which of these four tips sound most exciting to you right now and I'll see you in the next post.