WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HAD AN ENTIRE WEEKEND OFF?
One where you allowed yourself to switch out of work mode and truly relax – no checking emails or jumping online to manage the tasks you didn’t get around to last week.
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, the idea of taking a full two days off might be laughable. Weekends are for playing catch-up, not recharging: you have too much to do to unplug! Sound familiar? While working through your days off may seem like a suitable solution, the long- term impacts on your health and productivity can be serious.
Instead of forgoing your rest days, why not find ways to be more productive at work? When you learn how to manage your time at work effectively, you can reclaim your weekends guilt-free.
In this blog, you’ll learn why time off is so good for you and how to make your hours in the office more productive.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE FIERCELY PROTECTIVE OF YOUR DAYS OFF
Entrepreneurs have a strong work ethic, which is a good thing. But it can also be problematic. If you don’t give yourself a break, you’re on the path to eventual burnout. Our minds and bodies aren’t designed to power through endlessly. Even though it may feel doable now, your workaholic behaviour is taking a toll.
One study revealed that people who work more than 55 hours a week are 33% more likely to have a stroke than those who work a 40-hour-week. Another found that workaholics generally have lower scores on vocabulary and reasoning tests. After working 49 hours in a week, our productivity drops dramatically.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PUSH THROUGH?
Every time you skip a weekend off and push through, you hit Monday with lower productivity and higher stress levels – meaning you get less done and are more prone to making mistakes. Wouldn’t you rather show up to the office (or laptop) on Mondays feeling recharged and bursting with motivation?
Disconnecting from work is the best way to improve your on-the-job performance. By prioritising rest, you give your brain a chance to reboot, which boosts creativity and problem-solving skills, improves your mood, and helps you have a fresh perspective every week!
If you want to know how to manage your time at work effectively, taking weekends off should be your first action item. Following that, implement our tips below, and you’ll be ready to shut that computer off every Friday without a care in the world.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME AT WORK EFFECTIVELY
Conduct a Time Audit
Not sure where your time goes? Start with a time audit to figure out what activities are high value and where you’re wasting your time. Note down everything you do while at work for a week (even the non-work-related activities like having a quick social media scroll).
Once you’ve tracked everything, you’ll be able to identify how you could better allocate your time. You can see how long certain tasks take and figure out if there are better ways to approach the big time-sucks.
Love Your Lists!
Start every day with an organised to-do list. It can be helpful to create this list before you leave work for the day, so you can get started on it as soon as you arrive at work the following morning.
Making a list doesn’t just help you organise your day; it helps clear your mind. By putting all the things flying around in your brain on paper, you allow space for other thoughts, such as planning and critical thinking.
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, recommends doing a “core-dump,” where you note down every task, activity, reminder, or action item you can think of. Then, you can priortise that list to make it workable.
Get crystal clear on your priorities – your time audit will help provide insight into which tasks are most important. Start by eliminating tasks that you shouldn’t be doing at all (systemise, automate, delegate, or outsource these).
Do the most important and urgent tasks first. Then move onto those that are important but not urgent. Follow up with urgent but unimportant, and finally move onto any lower-value activities left.
When figuring out how to manage your time at work effectively, look into batching similar tasks together. Shifting your focus between jobs only slows you down. Instead of reading and responding to an email every time one arrives, set aside half an hour twice a day to focus on emails.
If you have accounting tasks, writing tasks, phone calls or planning activities, try to group them together and tackle them in one go.
Multitasking might seem like a good idea when you have a million things to do, but don’t fall into the trap! When you try to do three or four things simultaneously, you’ll spend longer on all of them and probably do a sub-par job. Devote your focus 100% to one task at a time.
Sort Your Systems
Scan your time audit to find tasks that are sapping your time that shouldn’t be. Does it take you five minutes to find the right file on your laptop? Are you manually sending follow up emails tracking down late payments instead of having them automated?
Assessing and updating your systems and processes can save you an enormous amount of time, so make sure you identify areas that you can improve in this way.
Learn to Let Go
It's common to handle everything yourself when you’re starting out as an entrepreneur– from bookkeeping to marketing and everything in between. But if you want to grow your business, at some point, you’ll need to focus your energy on core tasks – those things you are really good at that add value to your business.
That means learning to delegate and/or outsource. Letting go of things like bookkeeping, social media marketing, and general admin work can free up hours in your week and ensure you are able to enjoy your weekends! And our team can take on those tasks for you.
Do your clients expect you to respond to emails or calls after hours and on weekends? It can be scary feeling as if we’re disappointing our customers. But, that’s why it’s so important to manage expectations and set boundaries around your availability.
Communicate your work hours clearly to your clients and set up autoresponders on email and phone for after-hours, outlining when they can expect a response.