12 Tips on how to save time & be more productive
Hey, everyone, welcome to this collective podcast with Jenna Redfield Twin Cities collective,
which is fine, I love doing solo episode.
But the reason I wanted to do a solo episode today is we are starting a new month, which is obviously March. And it is going to be on productivity, project management, time management, basically how to take control of your business that might be taking so much time to like set things up. And so I'm going to be giving you guys today so 12 of my tips on how to manage your time better how to automate things. I do want to mention at the end of March, we are having an automating your business workshop where I'll be talking in depth about a lot of the apps that I use. So if you're kind of interested in that I'm going to be talking about Dubsado. Asana Trello. If This Then That Zapier, all of the apps like slack things that like can improve your business and just make it function and better. So that'll be on March 28. Tickets are available now on our website, I think that'll be a really fun workshop. So make sure to grab tickets, so But today, I'm going to just be sharing some few simple tips on how I kind of get everything put together for my business for today's collective and then from my previous business that I was running, and how do I just kind of got everything done. So a lot of people come up to me and they say, Jenna, you're doing so much how do you do it all. And I'm like, I don't know. But at the same time, I do have some system setup. So I'll get started with number one. So one of the things that I do, even though I do social media, basically for a living, there are times when I need to focus. So I actually tend to block certain websites for a specific amount of time. So there's two different apps that I use, I use one for my phone is called unplugged. And what you can do is you can actually set it for a time limit to basically turn off your phone, you set it to airplane mode, and then it like, if you pick up your phone, it'll make a noise. And it will make it so that you don't want want to do it. And it like kind of blocks you from using your cell phone for a certain amount of time. This is great if you're on your laptop, and you just want to get focused on working. And then also on my computer, if you don't also want to use certain websites, I use an app called self control. And kind of funny, it's called self control because I do need that. But it's a Mac only app that you can download to your desktop. And then what's interesting about self control is you really can't stop it once it's gotten started. So if you can set it to a certain number of hours, you could even do like all day, I usually do about one or two hours, just in case I need to check Facebook or something for today's collective, you know, I can usually check it on my phone. But I tend to like to block myself from doing any type of social for a certain amount of time, just so that I can otherwise I don't know about you, but I tend to like just click Facebook without even thinking about it, it's kind of become one of those Pavlovian responses to just being on the internet. And so for me, being able to just block it and kind of change my brainwaves from actually just doing that trigger. And is super, super important. So the next tip I have number two is automate, automate, automate. Now, for me, there are so many different ways that I can automate things. And I probably haven't even hit the tip of the iceberg. But one thing that I do, and I talked about this at the Instagram growth workshop is I tend to send a lot of my Instagram posts directly to a bunch of other social media. So for today's collective, I'm not on Twitter too much, or even posting to our Facebook page a lot. But what I do is I send my social media, from Instagram, to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and it may be another spot. But it's a way to actually just get some content out without having to do a lot. So there's so many different ways to automate your business from using like a lead manager. And I'll talk about that a little bit. But you can actually automate, you know, response emails, you can automate a lot of things with apps like if this and that and Zapier, so I'm going to be talking about this more at the automation workshop. But automate, automate, automate is so important for getting things done that you don't want to actually manually do. All right, that's third tip is batch batch batch. So you may have heard the term batch but don't really know what it means. Basically, what it does is you're actually creating content ahead of time, all at once, so that you save time in the long run. So for example, a lot of people batch edit blog posts, where they write like maybe three or four blog posts for the month, all in one day. So they don't do it every week, they actually batch it all at once. So that you're kind of in the zone you're writing, you have all these ideas, and you just get it done. I've seen this also with people creating YouTube videos, I actually did this for the first time and actually really enjoyed it, I recorded two different videos, I changed outfits in between. So it made it look like it was another day. But that's another way you ready set up your video camera, your you know, your makeup looking good or whatever. But then another way to also batch is to do it with photography for your Instagram. So I talked about this again at the at the Instagram growth workshop. But one thing a lot of Instagram is do is they spend one day a month taking photos, and then they can use that for the next 30 days. So I mean, if you think about it, 30 photos isn't that many photos that you could definitely take in a day. So what I recommend is setting up some photo potential, you know, setups or whatever you want to take, do it all in one day I did it so they all look the same. Because your lighting is going to be the same, you know that the day is going to be the same, it's all going to just kind of match. So I really recommend matching photos. Another thing I do for at least for the podcast is I have created a lot of templates in Canada. Canada is my graphics creator that I use every single day I pay for the pro account. And honestly, it's the thing I use probably the most out of any software. I use it so much. We just did our media kit workshop, and I had everyone creating their media kits and Canada. But what I do for the Twin Cities, collector podcasts and how I can save some time is I have all of the graphics for that pre made and then I just change out the names. And I just add the what is it called the hump the headshots. So that's really all I need from my podcast guest is their headshots. So I can just check in and I create the title. And then that's really how I, I kind of batch it. I also create Google Drive folders to store everything, so that I have it all in one place. So yeah, so that's batch batch batch. There's so many other ways to batch your items. But I really recommend that for saving time, instead of just doing it once a week. That is definitely so important. Okay, so number four is creating to do lists. Now I am terrible at this, I like to keep everything in my head. And I honestly I have a hard time writing things down. But when I do, I think it helps me feel so much better. Because I connect, you see it all in front of me. So there's two different apps that I use for this one is Asana and the other is Trello. And I'll be talking about these again at that workshop. But I know a lot of people use those, but also use other apps like to do list. And there's a lot of apps on the iPhone and Android that you can check out. But I know a lot of friends also bullet journal. And I've had both Jessica and Alec on the podcast. And they've talked about bullet journaling. So if you're interested in that, make sure to check out those episodes. I know a lot of people use that for getting stuff done. For me, I'm really terrible at writing stuff down like actually physically writing it. So I've decided to kind of stick with apps and do it digitally. Plus, I can sync up with Google Calendar. And I can just kind of track my week that way. But yeah, so to do lists are so important, just to make sure that you're getting everything done that you need to do. And there's a lot of really cool technology that allows you to do that these days. All right, number five, tracking leads. So if you're a service based business, or you're someone who is, you know, working with clients a lot, that is something that I recommend getting is a lead system or a CRM, a Customer Relationship Manager. I personally recommend Dubsado. I talked about it on a previous episode, the podcast. But what's awesome about it is it allows you to track your leads follow up with them, there's just so many things it does that a lot of service based businesses don't realize they're missing. And when they actually, I've seen this a lot, because I'm in their Facebook group, people have been so disorganized without realizing it. And then when they start using Dubsado, they are like, Oh my gosh, like, what was I missing? Like, they're so overwhelmed by the enormity of what it can do that they just realized, Oh, my gosh, I've been, you know, wasting so much time trying to track all this stuff down on my own, when there's a system that can actually do it for you. So I really, really highly recommend Dubsado. It's not super expensive. I'll leave a link, like a affiliate link that I have. I don't think I've ever used it before. But honestly, it's the one product that I just highly recommend everyone I meet, I use it so much. And it's just amazing. Another product that I use, also is acuity scheduling. So if you are someone that meets with people a lot, and you just go back and forth be like what day works for you what I don't know, Wednesday, maybe like what time I use something called acuity scheduling that I embed on my website. And what's cool is if you use Squarespace, you get acuity pro for free. But acuity scheduling is great because you can set up what times you're available. And people can just book online and automatically add it to your calendar. And there's and it's just a really easy way to figure out when you have availability. And as well as when that person can also meet with you. I do this for the podcast scheduling. I do this for any one on one meetings, I have tours of our co working spaces here at Studio co work I use it for everything. And I absolutely love it. And I I've used calland Lee to but I honestly think acuity is the best system that I found. So that's kind of four number five. Alright, so number six is one tab. I don't know if anyone else uses one tab. But I don't know about you, if you're ever on Chrome, or Safari or whatever Firefox whatever you use for your computer. But sometimes you tend to have like 20 different tabs open, I found this Google Chrome extension called one tab, where you just click it and then all of your tabs go away. And they get piled into this new tab. But it's like almost like a web page. So if you need to go back to those tabs, you can click it. But otherwise, I get so overwhelmed by the number of tabs that are open. So I use this at least two or three times a day. Because I just tend to keep opening new tabs. So that's kind of a random one. But I just thought I'd mention it if you do get overwhelmed by tabs on your desktop.
Okay, so next I'm gonna be talking a little bit more about Time, time management, and how you track your time. So some people do this, I haven't really done it before. But I've heard so much about this website called toggl, so to G GL. And basically what you can do is you can track how much time things are taking. So if you are spending way too much time on one thing, which I do a lot, I tend to spend way more time on things than I should, this is something I really need to start using. But basically, it just tracks how much time you're spending. So people use it for if you are outsourcing or you are freelancing, and you need to actually send in how much time you're taking on things. That's what most people use it for. But I think it's great for just tracking your time and figuring out how much you're actually spending doing things. Because honestly, in the freelance and social media world Time is money, the more time you spend on something, the more you should be making. So that's something that I, I would recommend. There's also two different methods that I've heard about over the last few years, I haven't really, really looked into either of them, but I kind of can understand them. So one's called the Parma Dora method. And basically what this is, is you can actually set aside I think it's like a 45 minute, I'm not sure how long it is, but where you just spend 45 minutes doing something, and then you get a 15 minute break. I think that's how it works. But basically, what it does is it basically breaks up your time into kind of blocks. So you block your time for doing something. And then you can like reward yourself after. By getting all that stuff done, it's a really effective way to get things done. I haven't really looked into it too much. So I'd recommend googling googling it. So if you want to learn more, so it's p o Mo, d o, r o. So it's a lot of O's.
And other thing I was on a team up until recently, I decided to leave the team just because of I've been changing my whole career, I've been kind of changing more towards twins, this collective. And this is back when I was doing video editing and I was on a somebody else's team. So I was like one of their team members. And they use something called a scrum board, or sprint planning, which I had never heard of before. But I kind of learned a little bit about it. But basically, it's way and they use the sauna for this. And what you can do is you actually it's called sprint planning because you kind of plan everything out in three months chunks. So you kind of plan ahead for the next three months. And then everyone on the team gets assigned what they need to do. It seemed pretty complicated. I honestly couldn't really figure it out. But I know it worked for the girl that was running it. So I recommend looking into that if you're on a team or you have you know, coworkers and you need to figure out a better system for figuring out how to work with everyone. So that is s c Are you m Scrum board and then sprint planning. Alright, so that's number seven. So number eight. This is another one that a lot of people are like, How on earth do you do this? That is waking up early. So a lot of people like to sleep and I understand. But recently, I've started going to 6am workout classes. And this has helped me so much because I get it up early. I hate getting up early. But you know, once I'm up, I'm up and I get my workout done for the day, I've been going to orange theory for the last two months. And it's a one hour fitness class. So I basically done by 8am because the classes at no sorry, I'm done by 7am. So that I can go home shower, you know, get get ready for the day. But there's another method that I I read part of the book. And again, I'm terrible at finishing books, but it's called the Miracle Morning. And that's something where you kind of get everything done before like 9am. That's kind of like how it works is by getting up early, you can get so much accomplished and then just be more productive throughout the day. Including, like taking, like, I think there's like a 10 minute, like meditation and just kind of like planning your goals. There's also stuff about reinforcing with positive thinking. And it's just, it's like before you go to bed the night before you do stuff as well. Again, I I'm not summarizing it super well. But I'd recommend the book, it's a super, super, super popular book. It's a best seller. And I know a lot of people use it, and they are obsessed with it. So if you're feel like you don't have enough time in the day, I recommend looking into the Miracle Morning. I know a lot of people like with kids and stuff, it's hard to get up. But you know, if it's if you're really struggling with time management, I recommend potentially getting up earlier and going to bed earlier. So that's just another tip. All right, so number nine is systems, systems systems, I think having systems set up and working together is super important for anyone to be more productive. So I think investing in software, looking into ways to improve your time, I think those are still important for everyone to just learn it and learn more about and I'll be talking about this, again, at the workshop, just some some systems that I've heard about, and ways that people can potentially use to just be a little bit more organized. I think that when people are launching a business or you know, they they've done the the I'm quitting my job and following my dreams, they don't realize that basically you this was this is a really like a misconception about being self employed is that you still have people that are, I don't know how to describe this, you still have people that are your bosses and your bosses are basically your clients. So even though you think that you're going to be self employed, and you're not going to have a boss anymore, it's actually even harder because your bosses are your clients. So you definitely need to be organized for them because they can fire you just like a boss could. So I think that's a really important thing to do is to create systems and to to just be organized. The next one is planning ahead and launching. So I mentioned a little bit before about like the sprint planning. But I think that this is really important for anyone that is planning on launching something, whether it's a blog, a YouTube channel, a course, workshop, I think planning ahead and figuring out all of the steps you need to launch something is so important, I haven't really talked about launching on the podcast or in any of workshops or anything. But I think it's really important because I'm the kind of person that just wants to like push it out right away without it probably being ready, just because I just want it to be out in the universe. But I've realized working with some of the bigger people out there, like, I haven't worked off, nevermind, long story, I almost worked with a really, really big person about a year ago. And I just got a little bit of an inner glimpse of her systems, but she's got like, maybe like five or six employees. And I was just overwhelmed by how organized it was. And also like how far in advance that they actually planned things out. I know that like really big corporate companies, I know target does this, they plan out like a year ahead of time for their launches. Like Like, I know, when they were doing like the Magnolia line, they had that like a year in advance. So they had everything ready so that by the time they were going to like push it out into the world, it was ready. And I think a lot of people launch before they're ready. And I think that affects everything, it affects sales, it affects, you know, your marketing and affects everything. So I think really, really planning ahead, and kind of giving people sneak peeks and getting them excited, I will share one company locally that I think did a really good job of this. That is like the coven, and if you've heard of them, but they are a women's only co working space. And they have been sort of building their, their, their following for the last like year, and they haven't even launched. So by the time they're ready to launch, they had such a big following already. So I think that they did a really good job of that. I also think honestly that we've done a pretty good job of growing our Twin Cities collective before launching anything, I basically put an entire year of just building the community before actually launching any workshops or anything that has been helpful to people. So it's been a long, long game, I guess, in that way. But I think now that I've built the community, I think that it's easier for me to get people excited about stuff that's coming out. So that's just one thing that I recommend is you know, building a community planning ahead and then launching, so that you have the people behind you when you do that. All right, number 11. That is email. So I am not the biggest fan of emails I I don't know that they just pile up so quickly. But I do find some awesome tools that help me keep them in track. One of them my favorite one, which I not sure if I've mentioned this on the podcast, I think I might have but it's called unroll. Me. So it's unroll. Me. And what you can do is you can actually go on there, and I do it for every email that I have. And what it does is it finds all of your subscriptions, and rolls them up into a daily email for you to read. So instead of getting like 15 to 20, you know, subscription emails that you probably never read. You can either unsubscribe, roll them up or keep them in your inbox. I use this every single day. And it makes me realize how many how much time I spend, you know, like going through emails, figuring out, why am I subscribed to this? Like, did I sign up for it? Why like, Is it worth it to me, I usually unsubscribe from probably at least 70% of the emails I get. And so the ones that I really want to keep I actually roll up. Other than that, I also use something called streak. So streak.com, which is a CRM for your inbox. So if you are on a budget and can't really afford Dubsado or just want to get started. streak is something I use to kind of track lead sometimes I haven't been using as much lately. But it's really great. If you're trying to organize your inbox, I really recommend that with with email, I recommend using Gmail, unless you're on obviously like outbox, or outlook for work. I really think Gmail has so many awesome systems like Google Drive, Google Photos, YouTube, Google Analytics, there's just so many ways to use Gmail. And it's free, I mean, the basic ones free, so that's awesome. It also looks a little bit more professional than using like hotmail or you know, AOL, those are a little bit outdated. So I recommend getting a Gmail account.
Also, you can use so many Chrome extensions, as I mentioned before, there's so many that you can use for your email, as well as just for using the internet. So that's just a few tips with email, I also recommend kind of using the label system on Gmail, where you can actually label different emails when they come into your inbox ahead of time, you can set up rules. So if someone for example, like if you get a lot of emails from this account, you can even have it skip the inbox and go straight to a folder, you can label it, there's so many cool ways that you can use emails to make your day more productive, because honestly, I don't know about you. But emails take up a lot of my day, and they just add up super, super fast. So that's number 11. And then finally, number 12 is consistency. So one thing that I do think I'm pretty good at is being consistent with, you know, posting on Instagram, doing things every week, you know, coming up with a podcast every week. It's something that I pride myself in being pretty good at. And it's something that I think has helped with growing twins is collective. So one thing I recommend is, when I talked about badging in the past, you know, having consistent either blog posts, YouTube videos, etc, it's important to kind of build that up for your audience. And by actually planning ahead, you can actually be more consistent on that. So consistency is something that I recommend, as being part of maybe a new year's resolution or something that you want to work on this year. Because honestly, the most consistent brands, and the most consistent people are the ones that get the most follows the most adoring fans, because they feel like they can trust that person. And they feel like they know when the person is going to be coming up with new stuff. Whether it's a new YouTube video, or you know, weekly email newsletter, there's so many ways that you can kind of automate and have everything ready to go. And then you can actually schedule so many things to just go out, like emails, blog posts, you can actually schedule those to go out. So you don't even have to worry about him. I do that with podcasts I have, I'm scheduled to go out a certain time. So even if I finished it a week, or like I'm recording this on Friday, it doesn't come out till Tuesday. So I'm actually like, ahead of time, I could have this scheduled today to go up on Tuesday and not even worry about it. It'll just go up without me thinking about it. I didn't mention this, but I actually use a system called recur post for automating my Facebook posts every day. So if you're in the Facebook group, you'll see at 9am every day, I put up a post, that is actually not me, I have automated that so that it does it. So I don't forget, you know, but I'm still obviously looking and interacting. It just reminds me so I don't have to freak out at 9am every day been like, Oh crap, I didn't post the thread of the day. So I really recommend that for you know, doing if you're doing something every week, there's a lot of different tools out there. And I'll be talking more about them at the workshop. So again, make sure to grab tickets for that it is on March 28. It's here at Studio co work. And it will be kind of more digging deep into a lot of this stuff. So if you guys have questions about anything, make sure to bring them with you. And if you want to even start looking into some of those software, as I mentioned, you should do that and then come again with questions. And I can kind of show you more about how to set everything up, as well as how to use all of those tools. So I hope that you guys have enjoyed this podcast episode. That's kind of my top 12 tips for time management and productivity. I will be interviewing, hopefully some, you know, virtual assistants and some project managers this month that are going to be talking about maybe some of the systems they use, how they stay organized, how they plan, maybe event or you know helping with social media scheduling. So thanks, guys for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.
Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.
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