It’s Part 3 of the Working Smarter Series and the pieces are about to come together! I’ve got an awesome freebie for you to download that’s sure to spark a few light bulbs in your beautiful business brain, but first let’s do a quick refresher on the first 2 parts of this series.
Part 1 Review:
In part 1, we learned that being your own boss doesn’t mean you don’t have a boss, it means that you ARE the damn boss! (Crazy breakthrough here, I know.) Just because someone isn’t watching over your shoulder or checking in to make sure you’re getting your work done doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all, so get to work! The sooner you adopt the CEO mentality, the quicker you’ll become successful. Hold yourself accountable!
Part 2 Review:
In part 2, we learned that in order to spend more time being productive, you need to first understand how you’re currently spending your time in an average work week. So, I gave you the assignment of tracking your time on all activities and tasks that you completed in your business over the past 5 work days by using a free and easy online time tracker called Toggl.
If you haven’t tracked your time yet, keep reading anyways! You can still benefit from Part 3, but I highly recommend doing the Toggl challenge as soon as you get a chance. It’ll really open your eyes as to how you spend your time, which–trust me–is probably much different than you think.
Now, for part 3!
Alright, so how did the Toggl challenge go? Did you time everything? Did you accidentally leave the timer running for 24 hours? Did you forget to time important tasks? Don’t worry! It’s all part of the learning process and soon tracking your time will become a habit. Practice makes perfect! If you did mess up the timer, you can always go back and change it manually. Even if it’s not 100% accurate, at least you’ll have all your tasks in there.
To review a beautiful summary of how you spent your time during the past 5 work days, log into Toggl and click on the Reports tab at the top. You’ll have lots of different options there for the types of stats you’d like to see. Since you probably didn’t do this assignment Monday – Friday, but instead, Friday – Thursday (today being included), you can click on “This Month” in the top right instead of “This Week” to ensure that you’re seeing all of your data. Moving forward though, I find the weekly summaries to be very useful.
Don’t you just love the little pie charts? Ahh! <3 *Geek Alert* When you hover your mouse over a section on the chart, it brings up the timing information for that project.
Okay, so what did you learn from this? As discussed last week, you may have discovered that you’re putting in less time than you think you are. Maybe you thought you were working overtime but you’re actually working a standard 35-40 hour work week. Or, maybe you realized that you’re putting in 60+ hours a week but not really making a dent in your to-do list, which is obviously something that we can fix! You might have also realized that you’re spending way too much time “marketing yourself” on social media, and not enough–or any–time on your own company development.
Getting clear on how unproductive you are might feel like a giant bitch slap to your work ethic or your business, but guess what: you probably needed it! (Figuratively, of course ;)) We need this kind of reality check in order to change the way we think about how we spend our time. It’s all about making long-term mindset shifts because success doesn’t happen overnight and you’re in this for the long-haul! Do you want to feel like a hamster running in a wheel forever, working hard but never moving forward? Or do you want to break out of that cage and see how far you can really go?
(Sidenote: I’ve never seen a hamster who actually ran free, and that might have been a bad example because although they’d enjoy it, I don’t think they’d get very far. You, however, can take your business as far as you damn well please! ;)
Okay… on to the fun stuff!
Sorting and Prioritizing Your Business Tasks (Like The Boss You Are)
Now that you can see all the tasks you’re spending time on in an average work week, it’s time to sort them into categories! If you’re like me, you’ll absolutely love this homework. There’s something so powerful about getting your business tasks out of your head and into an organized chart that you can reference back to. Your chart will help you prioritize your day-to-day tasks, plan for the future (*cough* Part 4) and even decide what to cut-out completely.
Here’s What To Do:
Step 1: Download and print out the homework sheets. I’ve included a sample template to help you with ideas, as well as a blank template for you to customize.
When the PDF opens, right-click on the document then select “Save As” to download.
Step 2: Review your Toggl summary. Look at all of the tasks that you completed for the week and sort them into one of five categories using the sheet provided.
The 5 categories are…
- Non-Money Makers That DON’T Have To Get Done
- Non-Money Makers That HAVE To Get Done
- Indirect Money Makers
- Direct Money Makers
- Customer Care + Hot Leads
Add up your total time at the bottom so you can see how much you’re spending on each category in an average week. This will come into play on Part 4 of this series, when we learn to create the perfect schedule to maximize your productivity. For example, if you’re spending a lot more time on “non-money makers that have to get done” than you are on “direct money makers”, you’ll benefit from the action steps that we’ll be discussing on creating your perfect schedule.
Helpful Notes For This Week’s Homework:
In the sample template under “non-money makers that don’t have to get done”, I listed a lot of common–and I’m sure relatable–distractions that online business owners face on a daily basis, especially when working from home! You probably didn’t track this stuff but I just want you to be aware of it. Save these kind of things for when you’re off the clock. ;)
- Do your homework. Fill out the sheet provided with any/all business tasks you complete in your business. Keep a copy in front of you while you’re working this upcoming week as well and if anything comes up that you forgot to categorize, add it to the chart.
- Review your chart. What can you cut out immediately? What should you be spending more time on? What should you be spending less time on? Think about what your perfect work week would look like.
- Continue tracking your time with Toggl. Make it a habit to know how much time you’re spending on each activity during the work week.
- Focus more on categorizing the tasks themselves then worrying about the accuracy of the total times at the bottom. As long as you have a rough idea how much time you’re spending per category, we’ll be able to move forward with your planning and scheduling next week.
Okay, there you have it!
Did you find this helpful? I’d love to know in the comments below!
If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email.
Sorting your business tasks this week will help you feel empowered to take back control of your time–and your success. So what are you waiting for?