How many times have you inadvertently allowed technology to hurt your productivity, rather than help it?
Do you subconsciously check social media every hour? Are you addicted to Google Calendar and find yourself scheduling back-to-back meetings for weeks on end? Do you type the same message over and over again?
[Tweet “#Productivity is not about juggling a lot of tasks; it is using tools to work more efficiently”]
It’s time to identify these productivity killers and use technology to our advantage.
Here are 7 life hacks for freelancers to save time and help you work more efficiently:
Set up meeting days and non-meeting days
There’s only so much work you can get done in that small, two-hour window until your next meeting. When you’re going from meeting to meeting, you’ll have no time to sit down and just think. So, be strategic about your meetings during the week. Only schedule meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and let your Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays be solely dedicated to working and brainstorming.
Who wants to receive an email from you at 1 a.m.? When your inbox gets out of control, you may only have time to respond to your messages during the wee hours of the night. But, if you don’t necessarily want to be shooting off dozens of emails at these odd hours, schedule your emails to send automatically. We love Boomerang for Gmail and Sidekick by HubSpot, which lets you write emails when you’re free and have them sent at an appropriate time.
Use “if this, then that” rules
If This, Then That (IFTT) is one of the most time-efficient apps available. It allows you to create recipes between products and apps. For example, you could automatically send a “thank you” tweet to new followers on Twitter, tweet your WordPress blog posts, or post to your Pinterest board any link you share on Facebook.
Delegate repetitive tasks
Don’t be afraid to delegate your tasks to someone else. While it can be scary to relinquish control, you’ll end up saving hours each week. Visit sites like Fiverr, UpWork, or FancyHands and delegate one task. Even something as simple as hiring a graphic designer to find images for your blog posts can make a big difference. As a freelancer, you may even find some projects that you can pickup and generate more business on these sites!
Follow the two-minute rule
Do you push small, easy tasks to the bottom of your to-do list, only to get forgotten about and never completed? To optimize your time and prevent procrastination, follow the two-minute rule by David Allen, a productivity consultant. If a task takes less than two minutes, then do it right away.
Remove all distractions with SelfControl. This tool blocks websites you have listed for a certain period of time. Once you set it, there is no going back. You just have to wait until the time expires, so you’re literally forced to concentrate on task at hand.
Pre-write emails with canned responses
How many times do you write the same email response each week? Save time typing the same thing over and over again with Gmail templates, also known as canned responses. You can create and save email templates, and insert the template whenever necessary. To learn how to set up and create Gmail templates, read this article by HubSpot.
As marketers and freelancers, we’re constantly juggling tasks. You may be posting on Facebook, writing a blog post, and analyzing website metrics all in the same hour. And, no matter what you’re doing, the day never feels long enough. The good news? By using technology to your advantage, you can save yourself time and energy each week.
What hacks have you found to improve your freelance flow? Leave a comment below or tweet me @ShaunNestor