As a network marketing mom (who’s also doing a Ph.D.), I am the absolute MASTER of getting more done in less time. Cooking supper, packing lunches, making sure no one trips on a toy car and breaks their necks, organizing play dates, writing papers, running a blog, split testing Facebook ads, and squeezing in some mommy time at the yoga gym requires everything to work quickly.
In fact, time management is one of the most important elements for any entrepreneur. The most precious resource that you have is your time.
After all, you got into network marketing to have more time to yourself, right? To spend more time with your family and less time at work, to become the master of your own time and determine when you work on your own terms.
So how can you ramp up your time management skills and get more done in less time?
Here are 12 simple strategies to become more productive, get more done in less time, and have more time for what really matters.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
Despite how tempting it might be to work from your couch in your pyjamas, having a dedicated work space will train your body and your mind to respond accordingly.
By stepping into your designated workspace, your mind and body will unconsciously understand it’s time to get down to business.
Make sure that you have a dedicated room (your office), or, if you don’t have a whole room available, create a little work space in the living room or the bedroom or the dining room. Make sure that you have a desk with a proper desk chair and keep all distractions out of your workspace. No exceptions. This will help you focus better and get more work done when it’s time to actually get to work.
Add a Little Colour
Adding a little bit of colour to your workspace can help you concentrate and get more done. If you can’t, or don’t want to, paint your walls, just add some accents. A few flowers, a painting, an inspirational poster, or whatever else you love in your colour of choice.
A 2009 study from the University of British Columbia revealed that red improves performance when working on detail-oriented tasks, while blue boosts creativity.
Don't Neglect Ergonomics for Comfort
Another good reason not to work from your laptop on the couch is that the couch has absolutely terrible ergonomics. Over time, this will mess with your body, create aches and pains, and also interfere with your ability to concentrate. If you don’t have to constantly readjust because of discomfort, you’ll also get more done.
So what should you aim for if you want an ergonomic work space?
- You should be able to type with your hands hovering over your keyboard, while looking slightly downward at your computer screen.
- Your chair should allow your feet to rest flat on the ground—no dangling!
- Adjust the armrest height to avoid any further strain on the shoulders, elbows, or wrists.
- Invest in a comfortable chair that provides proper lumbar support—your back will be forever grateful.
Get Up and Move!
Have you ever hit that 2pm energy slump? It’s typical in the afternoon to get sluggish, sleepy, and distracted. The best way to recharge is to get up and move. Go for a walk, do some jumping jacks, or do anything for 5-10 minutes that will get your heart pumping. As you rev up your metabolism, you will get a boost of energy. And if you take a short break every hour or two to go for a quick walk, you’ll give yourself a mental break as well as a physical break.
Don't Sacrifice Sleep
In his book Eat, Move, Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes,Tom Rath, researcher and renowned speaker, explains that every hour of sleep that is sacrificed reduces a person’s overall wellbeing, as well as his productivity and the ability to think clearly.
If you are tempted to sleep less to get more done in your business, resist that temptation. Getting the proper amount of sleep for your body is crucial in maintaining productivity, and if you sacrifice sleep, you will get less done in the long run.
(You can also check out this article on the role of sleep in clearing out toxins from the brain. Then go take a nap.)
Make Sure You Eat Right
What you eat impacts your concentration and your mood quite significantly.
First of all, never skip meals. Your brain needs energy to function, and if you skip meals, you will trigger blood sugar drops and spikes, which will wreak havoc on your energy levels and your moods.
Secondly, try to eat fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein whenever possible. The healthier you eat, the better your body will feel and better your energy levels and concentration.
In Eat, Move, Sleep, Rath mentions a study from Harvard—which tracked more than 100,000 people for twenty years—that discovered how the types of foods consumed can influence a person’s health much more than the total caloric intake. In other words,quality of food matters more than quantity.
While you don’t need to be constantly cleaning and neatening up (as a twin-mommy, I know that sometimes things are never clean and neat no matter how hard you try), you should make an effort to keep your workspace fairly clutter free. If there is too much clutter, then it will impact your ability to concentrate. Our brains constantly process information around us even when we are not consciously aware. That means that cluter makes your brain work overtime and you will get tired faster.
Regarding organization in your files, at the very least, you need to be able to find documents without having to turn your office (or hard drive) upside down. The faster you access important documents and information, the faster you’ll get your work done!
The program that I like to use to keep all of my digital things organized is Evernote. It is web-based, so I can access it from any computer connected to the internet. And it allows you to save and share notes, images, videos, and links.
Invest in a Quality Computer
While every person working from home has different needs, they all require a “solid,” reliable computer to get their work done.
David Allen, in his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity says:
“You increase your productivity and creativity exponentially when you think about the right things at the right time and have the tools to capture your value-added thinking.”
I don’t use a very high end computer, but I do make sure that I have a reliable laptop that has the necessary software and the power to run it: some video editing software (I use Movavi) and the basic Microsoft suite are the things that I use most. Whatever it is, make sure that you have a machine that is reliable and powerful enough for what you want to do.
Spend Time with your Family
As a network marketing mom, you chose this path in order to have more time freedom and more financial freedom. Don’t let your business totally eclipse your family life. Remember why you started this in the first place.
Spending some time with your family will help you unwind and keep you grounded.
The key is to establish a routine in order to avoid sacrificing the already scarce quality time with the family while still being able to get some work done before calling it a night.
Make sure you schedule your work time, but also schedule your family time. Establish a dinner routine where you all leave your gadgets somewhere else. Go for walks before dinner, or have family game nights.
If you schedule in some dedicated family time, and also schedule some dedicated work time, you will get much more accomplished when you do get down to work than if you try to squeeze in work whenever you can – on your phone at the park, on your laptop while the kids are playing – and don’t have boundaries between work and play.
Set Goals, Limits, and Boundaries
Set milestones and reward yourself for achieving your goals. Regardless of how small a reward may be, you’ll find it’s easier to stay motivated when there is something waiting for you at the end of the road. When I got my first automated web sale, I went out and bought a bottle of komboucha to celebrate.
In addition to setting goals, though, make sure that you set limits and boundaries. Make time for your family, get enough sleep, and make time for yourself. If you work too hard and never take breaks and set non-work boundaries for yourself (family time, yoga time, etc.) then you will eventually become overwhelmed and exhausted. Know your work limits and be sure to recharge. Setting limits and boundaires, and making sure that you have some much-needed me time (whether it’s going to yoga, spending time with friends, or even just locking yourself in the bathroom with a good book) will make you more productive in the long run.
Prioritize and Create a To-Do List
Is it so easy to get completely lost in all the little things you need to do each day when you run a network marketing business online (or any other business, for that matter). Make sure that you create a to-do list to keep track of what you need to do, and make sure that you prioritize. This is very important, as you don’t want to waste time on low-priority tasks, and things that can be out-sourced, like much of your social media posts, and sacrifice getting the more important things done (running ads, creating new content, etc.)
One thing that I have found made my to-do list shrink significantly, and gave me much more time to spend on the important stuff, is Hootsuite. Hootsuite will allow you to automate your social media posts. You create an account (a free one, or upgrade to the $10/month account for much more automation potential – that’s the one that I use), log in every week or every couple of weeks, schedule all (or most) of your social media posts for the coming week or two in an hour, and then let it run for you. Seriously folks, this one little outsourcing technique has given me so much more time in my business.