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5 Tips to Gain More Free Time

Productivity Tips

Life’s short, and I’m always looking for ways to cut out wasted time during the day. One of the keys to increasing profits and freeing up your time to spend doing things you want to do is maximizing your efficiency.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra 15 to 20 minutes a day?  It doesn’t take much to get there.  Here are 5 tips to help you shave off a few minutes from your day.

Manage Your Email

You likely get several emails per hour, many of which are spam or articles that don’t need to be dealt with right away. With time at a premium, it makes more sense than ever to customize your email to get the messages you want and filter out those you don’t.  Did you know that you can set up your preferences in Outlook (and Gmail, etc.) to allow emails only from your contacts to get to your inbox, with the rest going to a folder of your choosing?

Most of us also have more than one email account, and these can be a pain to check individually. Programs such as Outlook can help you manage multiple accounts and let you customize to your heart’s content.

It also makes sense to schedule your email time. I usually start the workday with email because it gives me a chance to get into the business mindset without diving in the deep end too fast. I turn OFF the automatic send/receive function in Outlook so that I eliminate those pesky email pop-up alerts. I’ve found that I get much more done and concentrate on the task at hand when I block out time just to check and reply to emails instead of answering them as they come in.

Automate Repetitive Tasks

Did you know there are loads of programs and software that do a great job of automating a lot of your daily tasks? For example, QuickBooks can perform many automatic tasks from entering recurring bills and customer invoices to many common banking tasks.  Just downloading your bank and credit card transactions instead of entering them by hand can gain you several precious minutes of free time a day!

Tending to your business’s social media accounts takes a lot of work, and it can be a huge time drag to log in every day and update. With programs like HootSuite or TweetDeck, you can input and schedule your Facebook posts, tweets, and more weeks ahead of time, all without having to log in.

Break Like You Mean It

Taking five or ten minutes to grab some coffee, stretch your legs, or even discuss the game is not only good for your mindset, it’s good for your work. Taking a break can also be a great way to clear your mind when faced with a problem you can’t tackle.

Getting away from the task at hand and doing something else not necessarily work related can give you a fresh, new perspective when taking the task up again.

Eat Your Frog Early

Have you ever heard the saying, “run until you can’t run anymore, then run some more?” It isn’t just useful for joggers. Before you go on your lunch break or leave for the day, is there something small you can do that only takes up five or ten minutes? Doing it before you leave not only scratches another task from tomorrow’s to-do list, it can be a massive source of stress relief.

Mark Twain once said: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. Get your “frog” (i.e. the one thing you are dreading that day) out of the way early and you’ll be happier and more productive throughout the day.

Outsource It!

Outsourcing day-to-day tasks like bookkeeping, taxes, accounting, writing, and administrative tasks has many benefits. The most obvious is that you free up your personal time and have more time and energy to apply to what you are best at (and what makes you the most money). Another hidden bonus of outsourcing certain tasks is that whomever you bring on to help just might be better at that task than you.

Outsourcing tasks that I don’t enjoy makes me much happier and I enjoy going to work more when I eliminate things I don’t like to do.  A good place to find freelancers for a variety of projects is Elance.

Remember that your time has value!  You will maximize your profit by focusing your time on high value tasks, and learning which low-value, non-enjoyable tasks can be outsourced to others.

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