Time and Productivity Management for Freelancers and Small Business Owners | Susan Palmquist | Skillshare

Time and Productivity Management for Freelancers and Small Business Owners

Susan Palmquist, Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru

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9 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Starting Your Week The Right Way

    • 3. How To Start and End Your Day

    • 4. Getting Rid of Distractions

    • 5. Take a Break

    • 6. Managing Your Other Life

    • 7. Know When You're Most Productive

    • 8. Break It Down

    • 9. Class Wrap-Up


About This Class

Do you often reach the end of the work day and wonder where the hours went and why you haven't achieved as much as you'd planned?

In this class I'll take you step by step showing you ways you can get more focused on what needs to be done to be productive, less stressed out and easy ways can actually start looking forward to tackling each item on your to do list.



1. Introduction: we'll get the same 24 hours a day. Yet some people seem to pack a lot into every day of the week. They're not superhuman beings, but they simply learned a way to become masters of time by prioritizing what needs and doesn't need to be done on, they're able to stay focused on this Syria chores that enable them to run their business efficiently. Hi, my name. Susan Palmquist and I'm a freelance writer, an author and I have been for the last 18 years, and I think I'm pretty productive now. But it wasn't it wasn't that way when I first started out, and I've learned some tricks and tips along the way, and that's what I'd like to share with you during this class. So who is this class for? Well, it's for anyone who you know. You run your own business. You're a freelancer, like May, especially if you have a home based business like May on. It's really for anyone who wants to manage their time or efficiently or get more things done, and I think that's that's everyone these days. So what am I going to cover in this class? Well, how to start and end your day in the most productive way, monitoring your emails more efficiently on how not to get distracted and a whole bunch of other tricks I've learned along the way. So I hope you'll join May on. I'll see you in less than one. 2. Starting Your Week The Right Way: hello and welcome to the class and thank you very much for joining May. Let's start by imagining it's Monday morning. Yes, the dreaded Monday morning and your face with a whole bunch of chores you have to Do you have clients to me, orders to fill on. Let's not forget your out of groceries, too. First thing is, don't panic. I found that panic sets in and you you become less productive. So keep a clear head. And here's the first tip I have for you. Write down everything that you need to do everything you want to achieve. The for the week. Spend maybe 15 minutes doing that. Just make a list, Andi. Now we're gonna divide those into to two separate lis. The 1st 1 is what you need to do but need. I mean, those things that you have to do must be done. Uh, or maybe you lose it. Klein. If it's not done or you maybe even lose your business, they have to be done no matter what on then. The other list you want are the things that you want to do. It doesn't matter if they don't get done. The world's not gonna fall apart. You're not going to go bankrupt. So put those on the separate list. So that's tip Number one is to separate what needs to be done and what you would like to achieve for the week on. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about how we can start each workday the right way. Soul. See you then. 3. How To Start and End Your Day: Hello. I'm welcome back, and this lesson will focus on starting and ending your day the right way. A sure way to start the day in a panic is one where you're overwhelmed by your to do list it on. You scrambled to find things and you're just running around and nothing gets done on. One thing I found that helps me is to spend the last 15 minutes of each day preparing for the next one. I know that sounds like you're giving yourself more work, but it really kind of get your thoughts together, your head together on and it's it's kind of like I don't know whether you did this when when you were at school. But I used to feel more prepared for school. More relaxed, less stressed. If I had everything ready for school the next day, maybe you know, the clothes that I was gonna wear all the books for that, the classes. The next day we were in my bag, so you kind of Greek. The day was with kind of more enthusiasm to, and I think that that's the way to get more things done. So at the end of each day, make a list of the things that you need to do the following day. I on also kind of get pre prepared. Maybe you need directions to a client's office. Don't wait to your in the car. And you think, Oh, there's no while confinement were here, I'm gonna have to go back in and fun, um, blood love are having that all prepared ready for when you have to leave the following day saying for email contact if you need to find someone's email. Andi, make sure programs on your computer up today. One instant was last week. I, uh I had a sky conference call with a client, and my Skype wasn't up to date. So I had to scramble and spend 15 minutes getting out today, and I just barely made it to the time I'd set with the client so that that was a kind of a wake up call for May. So make your programs on your your computer like Skype or up to date so you don't have to scramble if you're, you know, in a dead long with a kloten. Maybe it's information you need for a presentation you're giving and to a claw and get all that prepared, have it set out on your decks. So when you go, you know, start the day you're relaxed, everything's there. And that panic doesn't said in. And I think you'll become much more productive and less stressed on In the next lesson. I'm gonna tell you how we can get rid of outside distractions, which I know. It's very, very important for people who work from home soul. So you then. 4. Getting Rid of Distractions: hello and welcome back. And this lesson focuses on getting rid of outside distractions, which I know is especially important if you work from home. If you're your own boss in I've had lots of experience with this. Even when I worked for a company, I had a home office where I spent a good amount of time and I had to manage the outside distractions I had for May. It was Sometimes I go on watch TV and sometimes someone would make a call. It wasn't work related, and we would chat for longer than than we should have done. And I was kind of too polite to tell them I had work to do. Or maybe I went out to lunch and there again was too polite to tell them. Hey, I have to get back to work. So, you know, then the days the day seems to be gone or you've got to work into the evening s. So I know that all the distractions that can happen to our home based business owner on the first thing to do is you know, you're not being in polite but be firm with your family and friends and maybe schedule time with them after work. Or maybe if it issue in the day, you are willing to work later into the evening. I know I've done that a couple of times, you know, in the last couple of years, and when I started out, I didn't have, you know, many distractions on the Internet, and now that has kind of factored in. When I first started out, I don't think I even had an Internet connection. So that was never a temptation. And now, sometimes you know I'll click on YouTube or maybe watch someone's video. Or maybe I'll go to Twitter to see what's going on them there and now what I do is I use those more off way of rewarding myself. Or maybe, you know, getting something done for now, something that maybe I've been dreading doing. Maybe it's paperwork for taxes or whatever. That's my reward. If I've done that and I've done that for a certain amount of time, then I'll go to YouTube. Bond, watch your video, maybe listen to some music or, you know, hang out on Twitter for a while, but use it more as a reward than a distraction. and e mails I have. This is my kind of Achilles heel. I have a tendency to check emails too many times every hour. You know, I'm worried that maybe my students need May, and then I click on my email, and then I see another email on guy. Respond to that. So limit yourself to how maney email check she'll do per hour. I've limited myself to maybe one an hour, just in case. You know, my students do need may, but you know, whatever works for your business, maybe only need to check your email want depending on. You know, if you have clients that need to reach you by email, as opposed to maybe phone or whatever. And another thing I've been doing recently, I've been going through my email on, you know, people send out newsletters that you subscribed to. You've joined list, you're on Yahoo and Gmail groups on. I found half of them. I can't even remember signing up for on, You know, the information isn't relevant to anything I'm doing now. So I've spent the last couple of weeks un subscribing to anything that I feel I'm not reading any more isn't relevant. on. I suggest you do the same thing. You'll be surprised How many lists that you you subscribe to That thinking? Well, I just cannot remember doing this. So it's a good thing to spend. Maybe on our a week monitoring that and unsubscribe ing to anything that you know you're not interested in any more on in the next lesson. I'm gonna be focusing on the importance of taking breaks during the day, So I'll see you then. 5. Take a Break: Hello and welcome back. And this lesson focuses on you taking a break. And I know when you're pushed for time and you've got more on your to do list than ours in the day. It's all too easy to keep on working. I've done it. I've skipped lunch of skip breaks and I've just continued to sit in front of my computer, and I think it's made me, ah, stressed out and less actually less productive. So, uh, one thing I also have done I've been so tired that sometimes I found myself I didn't realize it. I fallen asleep at my computer and, you know, actually been slumped over my death on a set. The downside is, you get cranky, you get less productive. Your blood sugar levels kind of take a nose dive because you haven't eaten and you feel sleepy, and it just becomes a vicious circle. So make sure you take breaks just like you would if you were working for someone else. I'm sure you know, you kind of be angry if you worked for someone else and they told you Hey, no breaks, no lunch. You probably, you know, quit your job. So make sure you get the necessary breaks. Rest whatever you need to do to feel good, feel energized and, you know, take a break during lunch. Many times I've been so busy that I either skipped lunch or I've eaten lunch while I've been still working at the computer and I sometimes I realized all this is this is kind of getting a bit too much. So what I do now is sometimes I'll still sit at my computer while eight, but I make sure I'm not working. Or click on maybe like Netflix on. I'll watch something for 30 minutes and even if it's in our show, set the timer that hey, I watch this for 30 minutes and now it's back to work. I think if you're kind of disciplined with yourself, you can do that and, uh, said Set a timer. Or maybe find a 30 minute show Tow watch on Netflix. Who? Lou Amazon. Whatever. On. If you do feel your yourself getting into a slump in the afternoon, which is a common thing for May, uh, get out. Walk around. I would have a cup of tea or some fruit, or even sometimes I haven't been so kind of drained and tired with what I've been doing. I've taken a power nap. They say, as long as you don't sleep, I think it's for than 15 minutes. It's actually good for you. Makes you more productive when you wake up on get don't get up and walk around even go for a quick strong around your neighborhood On another thing too, is we will work with computers now are tablets You know when we look at small screens on our phones on that can cause eyestrain and you know neck pain which there again makes you cranky and you get less productive So make sure you you stretch I even do yoga and stretching in the mornings. Now on the bottom line is all this might seem like a waste of time and the last thing you need to dio But actually I think you become more productive on duh. Sometimes you can even put in an extra 30 minutes or an hour because you do feel like Oh, yeah, you know, I got this energy. I can go another hour and get some more done, so make sure that you you take those those brakes on in the next lesson. I'm going to talk about managing your other life, so I'll see you then. 6. Managing Your Other Life: hello and welcome back. And while we're we have the title of business owners and freelances, that's just not our only role in life were also daughters, sons, wives, husband, mothers, fathers, friends and anyone who lives with us actually becomes part of our working life. So I think it's important that they're on board and supportive of what you're doing. It's very easy when you work from home to become the go to person. You know if if something goes wrong in the house, you're the person that likes the service company into to fix something, and that can kind of take you away from your business. So I think it's very important to have everyone kind of on your side. Yes, you are running a business. Yes, it's important you're owning an income you're bringing in money to the family and two for everyone to be respectful of that on the and also, another thing is to make sure that you're sharing the chores with those people there again , if you work from home, it's all too easy for others to think, Oh, you're a home. You'll be the person that will run the errand during the day or you'll be the person that will go and get our groceries or you're there When you know your child gets sick, we don't need to find a baby sitter because you're there. You'll look after the Children and on all these things can lead to stress in a relationship on really in the end, not only ruin the relationship but can sometimes hurt your business, too. So make sure that you're you're on board with anyone who, you know, shares the house when you share your life with you. And, ah, you know, on the other side of the coin is don't let your business over. Take your personal life. When I was a publicist, I had a home office to and sometimes, you know, I had to turn the volume down on the phone because it would bring at 11 o'clock at night. Or I'd have to turn the facts off because someone you know client will be sending may ah, letter early hours of the morning and you could hear the fax machine. So let no let your clients know what your hours are and set limits. And, you know, it's not being unprofessional being, you know, kind of mean to your clients to say, Hey, look, my office hours are such and such, and if you contact me after se 6 p.m. at night, you know you're going to get my answering service or you're not going to respond to your email or get to you, you know, and appreciate your business and I'll get to the following day. So just make sure that your family know what you're doing and kind of accept that you are running business on the other side of the coin that your clients know. Hi, I have a life outside of business and you know, I appreciate you respecting that. I'm not there 24 hours a day for you. So I think that's important on the next lesson I'm gonna focus on is knowing when your most productive. So I'll see you then 7. Know When You're Most Productive: hello and welcome back. And this lesson is going to focus on finding out when your most productive do you know when you do your best work and when you Kenbrell ease through anything on your to do list. I know I do. Some of my longest stretches off writing after four PM and it's really weird. It's never in the afternoon, never in the morning. It's always that later afternoon going into evening where I feel like I can, you know, sit in, right. And then do, ah, long, long stretches without even having to take a break. And another thing. I know that I like to answer all my emails before noon, which, you know, works for May. So I think we need to always figure out when we do things, you know, when we can tackle anything. Maybe you're a morning person. Maybe you're in afternoon person. So what I suggest you do is for a whole week try kind of different combinations. Maybe you want answer emails till the afternoon or you want me Course your clients to the afternoon. Or, if you've been doing that, maybe you switch the mornings. Or maybe you'd like to duel your kind of paper work in the mornings on and, you know, maybe switching to the afternoon that make you more productive. Maybe even keep kind of a journal to see how you can figure out what you do best and when on Then look at it and figure out how this needs to change. My schedule needs to change. Do that for a week and and see how it works. And if you are being more productive or whether there again you need to switch round. Sometimes it takes a month or more to get into a rhythm. But I think once you do figure out when you're most productive on whether you are a morning or afternoon or tall, specific person, I think it can make you very productive. And you'll be surprised what you can get, you know, checked off your to do list. And in the next lesson, I'm gonna tell you all about health breakdown task to make you more productive. So see you then 8. Break It Down: hello and welcome back. And this lesson focuses on what I call break it down. I know sometimes you can look a your list of things to do. And you think, Oh, well, is this Just know why I can get to this on? I found myself in that position many, many times. I've had articles to write people Teoh interview books to write on research, and it can just seem like you want to drop your hands and give up on DSO. You know, I quit. But what I found is, if you break down each of your chores into more doable elements, it seems toe kind of take the stress off. For example, when I was writing a book, I knew I had research to do people to interview, and I broke them down. Like first of all this week, I'm going to do all my research next week. I'm gonna find people that I need to interview for the research for the book and then you know, after that I'll start writing a rough draft, and I think if I have looked at everything Oh, I've got a book to write and I've got a deadline. Teoh me, I would have probably gone crazy and just given up. So make a list. Step one, Step two. And you know, the wonderful thing about that is as I go through the step once that too, I check it off as if, and it makes me feel productive because it's almost like I've got actually more done instead of law. You know, watching about Yale done that. I've checked off research interviewing, and it just might you, Phil, more productive and gives you, in a way, more energy on another thing I'd like to touch upon. And this might be more for people who have, you know, employees. I work by myself, so I'm kind of a one man show. But if you do have other people working for you, never be frightened to delegate chores to people. I know lots of us like Teoh, you know, being controlled because it's all business. But the whole point of harboring other people is to share the workload with you. So you know, if something is overwhelming or something comes up in your life, don't be afraid. Teoh can get your employees on board and have them share some of the chills with you. I think that there again that in turn into a more productive business for you. And in the next lesson, I'm gonna do a recap on a wrap up of everything we've covered in this class. So hope to see you then. 9. Class Wrap-Up: Hello and welcome back. And here we are at the final lesson, which is a wrap up of everything that I've covered so far in this. Ah, this class on my first trip was to start the day off, right? I know it's very overwhelming to come in and on Monday morning and to see a great big to do list in front of you. And that's never a good way to start the week. So what I suggest is you end your day with 15 minutes early and prepare for the next day on even, you know, on a Friday evening finish 15 minutes early and prepare for that Monday morning. And I think you're gonna be less stressed on actually more productive doing that. Just make a list of everything you need to do. Get paperwork ready, email contacts, directions to clients, offices. Maybe your presentations ready. So you're just ready to go? The next thing is monitor your email checking. I mentioned thistles. One of my Achilles heels. I check my email too many times on our So keep that under control. And also outside distractions. Ah, you know, watching maybe like I do sometimes YouTube or going on Twitter, use those more as a reward. Onda. Once you've completed something on your list, maybe you say, Oh, you're going, you know, check Twitter for five minutes and make sure that you ah, more disciplined. If you're gonna go away from you know, you'll take off your work hat and go and do some something fun. Make sure that you're disciplined enough that you're able to come back and say a lot, you know, fun. Time's over. It's work now. Andi, do take breaks. I've been I mentioned this before. I've been guilty of not taking breaks and working all through lunch time, and I think it's made me less productive. And I think that that's the case for everyone. Well, blood sugar levels go. You get cranky, get miserable. And, ah, you know, I think your works office because the rights of definitely take breaks. The next thing is break things down on your to do list. I mentioned this in the last lesson that, you know, step you step one, step two for bigger task in on. Check them off because it really gives you some kind of boost that you're getting more work done and you just feel good and you're less stressed. And I think that's the whole thing. As business owners, we do feel stressed. And, uh, things can seem overwhelming. This is just so much going on in awards to Dan in our lives that I think if we break everything down into smaller choice, it feels like we're being more productive on Ghana gives us ah boost and finally all scholars for help. I think we're all guilty of that. We try and do so much on their own, and we feel like maybe we're a burden to people. If we keep asking them for help. That's why we have family. That's why we have friends. That's why we have. You know, if you have employees, they're there to help to, and that's the reason you've hard them. So don't be afraid to ask. People reach out and say, Hey, look, I'm really pushed for time. Can you help me do this? Even, you know, Family member, I need to go and get groceries. Could you help me out and then do the same for them? I think if we're all in this together as business owners, we really can get ahead and be supportive of everyone. So that's much. That's my final tip. And I want to thank you very much for taking this class. And I'd love to hear you know, what you do to become more productive. And if you're used, any of these tips, if it actually did, might be more productive. And you know how it helped you love to hear that? So, you know, leave a comment or Oscar question and I'll get back to us as soon as I can. But once again, thank you very much for taking this this class. And I hope that it's it's helped to become more productive in your business. Thank you. Take care.