By Anh-Minh Le
I’ve been a small-business owner for five years now, and fully self-employed for the past two. In the latter period, my client list has (thankfully) grown. But the growth has meant having to figure out how to manage my time so that I’m efficient and bringing in as much as income as possible.
Like many Breezeworks users, I don’t work out of an office and my day-to-day activities vary. To stay on top of things—and help avoid that feeling of being overwhelmed—I’ve initiated some habits for myself, so that I can be as productive as possible:
- Communications: I devote the first hour of every workday to customer communications and other email-related tasks. Once that’s out of the way, I can get started on my actual work. I also designate another small window of time in the early afternoon and at the end of the day for dealing with emails and calls; this is especially important if you work in a field that involves emergency situations.
- Commuting: If I have multiple appointments in one day, I look at the routes in advance so that I can schedule the appointments in a way that makes the most sense driving-wise. For example, if I have two meetings in San Francisco, I’ll schedule those back-to-back, before heading elsewhere. I also make a checklist so that I can be sure I have everything I need in my car for the day’s appointments.
- Tools: It’s also essential to maximize the tools available to you, such as Breezeworks. By taking advantage of its scheduling, invoicing, and payment features, you can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time doing the work that leads to more business (and money).
- Refuel: I make it a point to have lunch, even when I’m on the go. Because not refueling in the middle of the day can lead to low energy—which makes me less productive. So taking even 10 or 15 minutes to eat is definitely worth it. The key is to plan ahead: When I know my schedule is full, I pack a light meal.
- Timing: Be realistic about appointment times. If you think a task is going to take an hour, build in a buffer. That way, you won’t get stressed out when the job runs a little long—which then impacts the rest of the day’s schedule. Being late to arrive at a client’s home or place of business can leave an unprofessional impression, and nobody wants that.
- I’ve been known to lose track of time when I get caught up talking to a client. And this is where Breezeworks is a big help again: The app automatically sends a reminder when it’s time to leave one job for the next.
Of course, just because these things work for me, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Someone once told me that the best way to improve your productivity and time management is to keep track of how you actually spend your hours for two weeks. Keep really detailed notes. That way, you can see where your time is going and determine where you can be more efficient, what you can potentially cut out, and what you need to make more time for.
Because, as the saying goes, time is money.