There simply aren’t enough minutes in the day. It’s a sentiment that many can relate to–but as an entrepreneur, our time pressure is even more heightened. Being a founder is a constant juggling act, and the best entrepreneurs must prioritize decisively.
As a founder–and mom of three small children–I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient. And as a financial planner, I manage my time like I manage my money: I always plan ahead, I’m thoughtful about how to best invest my resources, and I love to leverage technology to help me maximize.
With this in mind, here are some of my favorite tips, tricks, and tools for making every minute count:
1. Put basic spending on autopilot.
Optimizing your home life helps you focus your full energy on work. Companies like Amazon and Target offer discounts for putting your household spending on autopilot by setting up subscriptions for the items you need regularly.
Once you get set up, check-in monthly to ensure that everything is still needed and that the quantities are accurate. I took an hour to set this all up and now my basics are all 15-20 percent off, shipped to me for free, and I get hours of time back each week.
To make sure that things are running smoothly and there are no odd charges on my accounts, I also practice a daily "money minute," where I open all of my money and bank apps to just check-in on everything. This also keeps my spending on track for the day. Much like the feeling you get when you workout in the morning, where you don’t want to ruin all of your hard work by eating a burger and fries for lunch, I think twice about online shopping purchases if I practice a morning "money minute."
2. Pick one communication platform.
We funnel through so much information over the course of the day, and the way we communicate is more fragmented than ever. We used to just talk about productivity hacks for getting through our inboxes, but what happens when you layer in text, Slack, Google Hangouts, and WhatsApp?
One of my favorite ways to streamline here is to make sure that you’re talking to the same people in the same channels. In other words, pick your team platform and stick with it. For my team at Inspired Capital, we use Slack. You’ll still get noise across all channels, but this way, when you sit down to focus on work, you know exactly where to find your team and you can prioritize there.
3. Get work done while in transit.
Before you know it, business travel can eat up hours of your calendar. Instead of viewing that travel block as lost time, reconsider what you’re able to do with the hours you spend waiting to board. For example, I often schedule quick calls from the gate–in those spare minutes between juggling the security line and waiting to board.
More importantly, I get a ton done on flights. While in-flight WiFi is becoming more common, it also can be incredibly unreliable. To make sure you’re covered, take a second to download work you can do offline. I use the offline functionality within Google Docs so that I always have what I need, no matter the circumstances.
4. Buy your time back.
There’s an interesting study from Harvard Business School that found that we can buy happiness if we invest in time. Think of something you hate spending your time on, like tidying up your home or running a trip to the post office. There are now countless gig economy companies that can help you outsource those tasks and exchange money for extra time.
The list of time-saving solutions is long (and I include a full one in my book Financially Forward), but check out companies like TaskRabbit, Handy, and Instacart to get started.
5. Make meetings active.
No technology needed for this one, but there’s nothing I love more than a walking meeting. You get some time out of the office to clear your mind, the change of setting drives up creativity, and you get work done and get steps in at the same time.
In addition to midday walking meetings, I’m a big fan of taking meetings around early morning workout classes. You get to jumpstart your day with a burst of energy and follow it up with a quick coffee catchup–all before 9:00 AM.
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