Time management tips

Need more time? Get these 5 quick time management tips

Time management tips

Whether you own your own business, freelance or work for an employer, your productivity often carries significant weight in your career and income success. Learn to maximize your schedule each day, and achieve your goals with time management tips.

The following is a look at five of the most important time management strategies to reach your highest daily productivity levels.

1. Prioritize High-Value Tasks

Successful professionals are usually creative people with vision. If that’s you, it’s likely that you want to accomplish more each day than time and practicality allow. Sound familiar? There’s an easy escape, and it’s relatively simple.

Step one is to prioritize critical tasks in your calendar, which helps you achieve the greatest benefits from the time you do have. As you contemplate which tasks to rank at the top of your list, focus on the impact to your bottom line and your personal satisfaction. Ideally, spend more of your time on high-value tasks that you give you great personal satisfaction when you complete. Then delegate the smaller and less enjoyable activities, or figure out ways to eliminate them altogether.

2. Minimize Your To-Do List

A to-do list is an important time-management tool because it helps you identify tasks and create an order for their completion. To streamline your workday, complete the quick and easy tasks right away to avoid building up your list. As soon as you cross a couple lines off your list, you’ll be mentally in the groove to keep going. Then start to tackle the bigger items by aiming for at least one major task before lunch and one after.

But a word of warning – don’t get too carried away with the small tasks. From a psychological standpoint, piling little items on your day increases the likelihood that you will feel overwhelmed. If it takes almost as long to record the task than it does to do it right away, just cut to the chase and get it done immediately.

Related: Learn 21 ways to get more accomplished every day.

3. Plan Ahead

Know what you want to accomplish at the start of each workday. Depending on when your mind works best, you could start your morning early or prepare your to-do list at the end of each day.

If you try to think of things to do one at a time, you slow down your productivity because you aren’t able to ramp up to full speed. Instead, use a tasks list in your email software like Outlook tasks, or try a free online task list that syncs with your phone and tablet, like Any.do or Wunderlist.

4. Include Your Breaks and Non-Work Activities

Finding balance in your daily schedule is an important, often overlooked factor in entrepreneurial efficiency. This point is especially true if you work from home. Integrate your work, individual and family responsibilities into your plan.

Specific to your work regimen, plan in time for breaks so you aren’t stuck at the desk all day. Taking periodic breaks to move around and refresh yourself helps you sustain adequate energy. Scheduling rests helps keep you fresh and mentally looking forward to breaks in the day, as opposed to developing a tendency to routinely distract yourself from work that needs to be completed.

5. Turn Off All the Notifications

Ever catch yourself reaching for your phone with no real purpose? Our phones have turned into the biggest distraction and time vampire of the modern age – and the constant notifications aren’t helping.

It’s time to cut them from our workday. That means turning off or muting any non-critical app notifications like Facebook, Instagram, games, weather and sports updates. Without the constant pings telling you about a friend’s status update, the latest scores and reminders to play your daily Lumosity game, you’ll be less inclined to check your phone and then waste more time staring at your screen without a purpose.

Business critical apps and functions like your email, calendar, Slack, text messages, phone calls and even What’s App (if you use it to collaborate with team members) can be left on so you don’t miss out on important events and conversations. But cutting the mental clutter of all the countless other notifications will help you break away from that phone addiction.

Time Management Tips Take-Away

Take the time to implement these five primary time management tips into your daily routine and you’ll be amazed at the difference in what you can accomplish. New habits take as much as three weeks to become part of your natural routine and prove effective. But you will never regret working hard at improving your time management and productivity.

Grow your business, satisfy your clients or employer, reach your professional goals and earn optimum income.

Diagram - recent fundings

Recent Fundings – March 2018

Repairing car

Performance Repair Services

The perfect storm

Even the most business-savvy entrepreneurs face challenges when dealing with the volatile energy sector. But for those without a business background, navigating this uncertain terrain can be particularly stressful.

That’s a lesson Brett Haskill learned the hard way when his automotive repair company, Performance Repair Services, started fixing diesel engines for power plants. With over 20 years in business, the family-owned company had a wealth of expertise servicing a vast array of engines, generators, pumps and more. As a result, its new service offering was well-received. Unfortunately, given the energy sector’s uncertainty, the company never knew when, or if, its customers would pay their invoices—an issue that became increasingly severe when the oil and gas sector crashed in 2014, impacting energy-related businesses like Performance Repair Services.

To add insult to injury, not only was Performance Repair Services facing severe cash flow issues resulting from inconsistent accounts receivables (AR), but Haskill was also forced to unexpectedly buy out his business partner less than two years after the two acquired a new company. The timing couldn’t be worse, and—as a result—by the summer of 2017, the company found itself in severe financial trouble.

“I didn’t have enough capital to operate my business. The projected growth of my business was sidelined and I owed the bank over one million dollars, so they weren’t remotely interested in helping me.”

~ Brett Haskill, President, Performance Repair Services

Just before bankruptcy started looking like the only viable option, however, Haskill’s local banker recommended he contact Liquid Capital.

A much-needed lifeline

Haskill had employed the services of a factoring company years before, with—for lack of a better word—terrible results. So, when his banker suggested he see if Liquid Capital could help save his struggling business, Haskill was understandably skeptical. It wasn’t until two other people suggested he talk to the company that he finally decided to pick up the phone.

“Liquid Capital seemed like a perfect fit right from the beginning. Not only did they offer the best price structure, but they were genuinely eager to work with me at a time when other lenders were terrified of the energy sector. It was a slam dunk,” Haskill explains.

He also liked the idea that Liquid Capital offered credit insurance, so if one of his clients couldn’t pay their bill, he would be covered to receive up to 90 percent of the cost of the invoice back. This was a particular benefit for Performance Repair Services, which had suffered approximately $15,000 in losses due to bad accounts in the two years prior.

Eager to turn the tide, Performance Repair Services entered a factoring arrangement with Liquid Capital, selling all of its AR over to the company. It then used the cash to finance its labour costs, expand its inventory and pay back-taxes. The free-flowing capital essentially allowed Performance Repair Services to get back on track—and return to its original growth trajectory.

“I used to hate doing invoicing because I would send off all my invoices and just cross my fingers that they’d get paid. Now, my invoices get paid the day I issue them—I’m in control of my cash flow and able to focus more on growing my business.”

~ Brett Haskill, President, Performance Repair Services

Smooth sailing

Since partnering with Liquid Capital last summer, Performance Repair Services has seen a significant increase in revenue—Liquid Capital is now funding twice the amount it did a few short months ago, and invoices often come in multiple times a week. With the energy sector emerging from its downturn, Haskill believes this is only the beginning.

“It’s honestly starting to look better, finally. A lot of O&G companies are changing their portfolios to invest in clean energy and power generation right now, which is benefiting our business,” Haskill says.

Having more control over its AR has allowed the company to pursue much bigger projects than before, safe in the knowledge that it has the capital to cover the labour, parts and other costs required to fulfill them. As a result, Performance Repair Services is growing at a fast clip—and Haskill’s passion for it has been renewed.

“Liquid Capital saved my company from bankruptcy by putting me in a better financial position to pursue new opportunities. I recently started working with a US company, selling a new generation system that could potentially grow my business exponentially in the next two years,” Haskill says. “Already, we’re fulfilling a big service agreement on a $1.5 million gross sale to a new client. In fact, we’re acquiring new clients on a fairly regular basis now.”

With the stress of invoicing a distant memory, Performance Repair Services anticipates maintaining its relationship with Liquid Capital for some time to come.

“My experience makes it very clear that Liquid Capital is willing to work with real, everyday people that may be struggling with their business but still have the ambition to succeed. Thanks to them, my company is now on cruise control.”

~ Brett Haskill, President, Performance Repair Services

Get more accomplished

21 Effective Ways to Get More Accomplished Every Day

Get more accomplished

What secrets do the world’s top businesspeople use to be hyper-productive? How do they seem to fit so much into each day, week and year to get more accomplished than the average worker? The answer is in the small tasks they do to stay focused on their goals, priorities and the outcomes that will consistently progress them to the next level.

Here are 21 of the greatest tips that elite entrepreneurs and business pros do that have put them on top.

1. Get more accomplished with an ultimate to-do list

Create a master to-do list, not a variety of different lists in multiple formats and locations. Stick to one, preferably online that syncs across all devices and that is available when you’re offline — so even when you don’t have Wi-Fi you can keep adjusting your task list.

2. Prep every night

Start the night before by answering three questions for the next day: 1) What will you work on first thing tomorrow? 2) What do you hope to accomplish during the day? 3) What must get completed tomorrow, in priority? The answers should feed into your to-do list.

3. Your routine is key

Establish a daily ritual. For example, you may start your day by pouring a coffee, putting on instrumental music and reading your favorite newspaper online. Then move straight into your most critical task of the day. By mid-day, you may decide to always take lunch and a 15-minute walk, and on the way home you catch the latest podcast on your list.

4. Learn on the go

Speaking of podcasts, listening to them on your commute to or from work is a great way to research and learn. Don’t waste that time on Google or Candy Crush though, when you can be getting in some professional development time or improving an important skill. Listening to podcasts like HBR Ideacast and Outside In will get you thinking a step ahead of your competition.

5. Power hour

Schedule a “power hour” for the first 60 minutes of every morning — where you work diligently and uninterrupted on the most important task on your list. Avoid checking email and doing the little tasks that can veer you off course all day long.

6. Satisfy the stomach

Never ignore a rumbling stomach. This doesn’t mean you should satisfy every snack craving, but make sure you’re staying fuelled up during meal times throughout the day. Working straight through your day without a meal can be the ultimate crush to productivity. So scheduling those meals into your calendar can also be a nice reminder.

7. Get away to recharge

Get in a couple mini-breaks throughout the day, whether that’s just to step away from the computer for 10 minutes, or a walk around the block. Establish a “break habit” by scheduling them into your calendar or using an app to keep track of your time — and potentially to signal when a break is needed.

8. Emails can be your worst enemy

Enforce a personal email strategy, where you set certain times on your calendar to check email — and don’t spend any more time than allocated. Process the emails according to priority and pick up the phone for emergencies, rather than resorting to typed messages.

9. Time to tidy

Organize your workspace. It doesn’t have to look as clean as an office showroom, but your space should be tidy and uncluttered, which helps you focus on the tasks at hand. Nothing is more stressful than searching tirelessly for your office supplies, working files or phone when you need to get things done in a hurry.

10. Zero distractions

When you’re in true work mode, close down any distracting Internet browsers, email programs or other software. At the very least, minimize them from your computer screen so you won’t get the urge to click elsewhere.

11. A “social” reward

Treat social media like a reward. It’s easy to get distracted by eye-catching headlines and notifications on your phone, so shut those off and save the fun stuff for when you accomplish a task. Then, when you complete each major task, you can reward yourself with your favorite distraction — like a quick one-minute video of a cat being cute. Just make sure you shut it down after the reward to stay productive.

12. One task at a time

Stop trying to multitask. Studies show it actually can make you pay less attention and have troubles recalling information. You may feel like you’re getting more done, but in reality it could slow your performance down.

13. Just say ‘no’

Contrary to what you may have been taught, it’s not impolite to say ‘no’ to tasks that derail your productivity. You may want to help others out with their requests, but sometimes you need to decline their request in order to get your work done. By saying ‘no’ you can free up future time for something you really want to say ‘yes’ to — and that will be more fulfilling in the long run.

14. Like Costco for your calendar

Schedule time slots to work on things in bulk. Like many people, you may have had days where you jump so quickly from task to task that you never have a chance to sink into any of it. Instead, schedule multiple working time slots in one to two-hour segments throughout the day where you can have uninterrupted work.

15. Cut your low-value tasks

High productivity people follow the Pareto principle — 80% of your results can be driven by 20% of your effort. The key is figuring out what the other 80% of your effort is spent on, and then systematically delegating, deleting or diminishing those from your schedule so your day becomes more valuable.

16. High-impact times of day

Discover your productivity rhythm — that is, the time of day that you are most impactful. People can be classified into three categories: the morning crush-it, the high noon heavy hitter, or the night owl ninja. Find out which one you are and schedule your tasks accordingly.

17. Always be goal oriented

Never lose track of your long-term goals. Too often, we move from one thing to the next just trying to get through the day. But by integrating your yearly objectives into all your meetings and activities, you’ll be more prepared to cut unnecessary activities and keep your teams (and yourself) focused on the right priorities.

18. Positively priority proficient

As new tasks arrive, reprioritize with speed and ease. The trick is giving every task an A, B or C rating (or 1, 2, 3 if you prefer). The As will get ultimate priority as your most important tasks — so if a new B task comes in and you’re working on an A, that new B task can wait. But conversely, if an A task arrives, you better hop on it.

19. Make meetings count

Make sure your meetings are efficient and worth every minute — otherwise, they won’t be worth your time and you should cut them from your schedule. Every meeting must include an agenda with clear objectives, and schedule less important meetings into the second half of your day so you have more time in the morning to complete key responsibilities.

20. High gear afternoons

An hour and a half before the end of your workday, you have a perfect window of opportunity to kick your productivity into high gear. Get your affairs in order by checking your email and drafts folder, finishing those last messages and then completely closing your Inbox. Then, your last hour of work can be spent entirely undistracted.

21. Final 10 before freedom

The last 10 minutes of your day can set you up for a more productive tomorrow. Make sure your to-do list is finalized, clean-up your workspace, sign out of every app and program (including on your phone), and then do a brain dump — where you jot down anything left on your mind so you can go home with lighter shoulders and enjoy your night.