Do you know much about Benjamin Franklin?
You may not know that, among other things, he was a master of the art of productivity. He wore many different hats during his lifetime: author, painter, entrepreneur, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, and diplomat to name a few.
In his autobiography, however, he shares a technique that helped him stay focused on his goals: a daily schedule.
What I noticed about the schedule was that it was incredibly tight (something he admittedly struggled to follow).
What I truly loved about his schedule were two questions he would ask himself every day.
At the top of his schedule he printed:
“Morning Question, What good shall I do this day?”
At the end of his schedule, before he went to sleep, he’d ask himself
“What good have I done today?”
This, I believe, was Benjamin’s Franklin definition of success. Success should not be about how much you accomplish but defining the meaningful things you worked on any specific day. It may be one task, it may be three.
Making time for those tasks, the ones that get you closer to your goal, is where the magic really happens. What are the time-sucking tasks then?
Here’s a list of a few that most people struggle with juggling on a daily basis.
Emails and inbox
According to McKinsey Institute, we spend close to a third of our work time managing emails.
The average person checks email 77 times a day, sends and receives more than 122 email messages a day, and spends 28 percent or more of their workweek managing a constant influx of email.
On average, you spend thirteen hours a week scrolling through your email – EEKS.
The first step to having a better relationship with your emails is to acknowledge that you have the power to organise your “email time”. You can schedule emails, block time to engage with people or outsource to a VA (virtual assistant).
One of the trickiest things to set, when it comes to emails, is boundaries. Since it’s really hard to have a face to face conversation with people nowadays we have to find other ways to communicate — and emails have almost become the best way to conversate with teammates and clients alike.
Social media and marketing
According to a research study conducted by Tethys Solutions, a team of five people who spent 3 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent, 30 percent and 70 percent of their time on repetitive tasks, respectively, reduced their time spent to 3 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent, 15 percent and 10 percent after two months of working to enhance their productivity.
We need time to hone our craft — to be better tomorrow than we were today. If we don’t batch some tasks using tools at our disposal, we’ll put this hard work off until tomorrow. I always recommend looking at ways to batch schedule your social content in order to create more time for everything else.
Having a team that supports you with the small tasks (mainly admin) can be what literally makes or breaks a day: “when you’re running a blog and a business it’s just not possible to do everything yourself! I outsource my tax return to a qualified accountant, I don’t want to spend time working out how to do it when there’s someone who’s going to be much better at doing it anyway.” admits Vicky Shilling, wellness industry business coach.
I have a cleaner to keep on top of the house-hold chores and I’ve recently hired a VA to help me with research and keeping on top of social media scheduling. It might sound like a luxury but for my its all about priorities and how I value my time. All these tasks take me away from doing my job which is coaching and where my time is utilised best.
We talk a lot about repurposing, so much so that we also give you 50 ways to repurpose your old posts. You are welcome.
Sometimes I find myself writing very long essays on Facebook or Instagram. This is a perfect time to turn them into posts or repurpose them accordingly. When we write a post, for example, we tend to have sub-paragraphs (or, in the case of Instagram, points) and I take the main learnings of the article, and each of the points become their own Facebook post (when it comes to WordPress or Facebook it can be easily done with the help of scheduling apps, as I link back to the post itself).
The most important thing is to take a different spin: we may ask a question about the topic, or give a new example. If it’s a recipe, make sure you use different shots and focus on different features of the ingredients. You can easily link back to the original recipe on Instagram by copying the direct URL.
How to implement your changes
My best tip when it comes to optimising your daily tasks is to outline which tasks you think you are spending too much time on, and find effective ways to simplify and streamline those tasks. Tackle one area at a time, allow some celebratory ice-cream and fist-pumping along the way.