Efficiency Hacks for the Self Employed

Written by Chloe Harwood

It can sometimes be hard maintaining optimum efficiency when you’re working for yourself. After all, without a boss to crack his whip and give you meaningful looks, the only person directly responsible for your workflow and organisation is you, yourself.

Luckily, there are some well-refined systems, tools, and approaches which can help keep you in the driver’s seat and remain the master of your own productivity.

Here’s a short list.

Automate the “make-work” tasks

A lot of the tasks you could be spending your time on, on any given day of the week, will be “make-work” jobs. Things which may (or may not) need to get done, but which will ultimately add little to nothing to your overall business success, while at the same time taking up an inordinate amount of time.

Good examples include updating excel spreadsheets of lead-response status, or clearing and arranging your email inbox so as to keep better track of future correspondences.

While both of these activities are beneficial in their own way, they are also low-skill and potentially time consuming.

What you want to do is automate these kinds of tasks as much as possible. Either invest in software programs which can help you streamline your essential tasks, such as, or consider hiring a PA — either physical or virtual — to pick up some of the slack. Save your energy for your most pressing tasks.

Track your time use

Time has a way of slipping away whenever we’re not consciously monitoring it. One moment we’re diligently handling a project we swore we’d resolve this afternoon, and the next we’re scrolling down our Facebook newsfeeds or Googling things to do next weekend.

As luck would have it, there’s a wide range of time-management and tracking tools out there that you should take full advantage of. Software such as RescueTime will actively monitor how you spend your hours at the computer, while other programs like Toggl will allow you to track the total number of hours spent working on a given project.

Focus on systems more than goals

Contrary to popular belief, goals may not be the ideal way of ensuring success in our chosen careers. Goals are specific objectives you’re striving to meet, and although they will be required at times, they can often cause more frustration than innovation due to the constantly changing nature of business and the unforeseen variables which can interrupt or derail our once-set-in-stone targets.

Systems are something different. A system is less concerned with the “end result” and more concerned with what you do, habitually, every day. A goal might be to lose 10bs, a system might be to count your calories for each meal.

Good systems are a cornerstone of business efficiency and productivity. They allow us to move in the direction of growth, progress, and accomplishment, while not being anywhere near as fragile as goals.

About the author

Chloe Harwood