Time Management


The Truth About Procrastinating


The Truth About Procrastinating

Part IV of our Time Management Series

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Do you find yourself waiting until the last minute to finish that project? Have you ever pushed a task to the back burner and found other things to do instead, knowing that you need to get that one task done? I know I have and do. As a matter of fact, here I am, late on Sunday night, writing this to make sure it gets to your inbox by 8:00 am. Poor time management? No, it’s just procrastination, plain and simple.

Procrastination is an issue that many people use to put off doing something that they don’t want to do, or maybe they just don’t know how to start. And it is a destroyer of any time management system you may have in place.

People who procrastinate know that they must do something before a deadline but wait until the last moment to do it if they do it at all.

Types of Procrastinators

The six most common types of procrastinators all have various reasons for putting things off, but they are very different. You may find that you identify with more than one type because, for some people, it depends on the task they must do to determine the type of procrastination they practice.

One step in recognizing, halting, and turning around your procrastination habits is to identify the type of procrastination you’re experiencing for each task that you’re putting off. Once you do that, you can often find a way to halt that pattern and even change it to increase productivity.

The Perfectionist

If you have an article or speech due, do you find yourself writing, and rewriting, and rewriting, and rewriting? When you’re getting ready to go somewhere, do you find yourself messing with your hair so much, it ends up a disaster and you have to pull it back in a ponytail? It might feel good to say, “I’m a perfectionist,” but the truth is a lot less flattering. Whenever I was asked “what are your strengths” in an interview, I would tell them my strength is my weakness. I am a perfectionist.  In my mind, this is a good thing as I want to make sure the work I am putting out there is my very best. But being a perfectionist is not only a time-waster, it’s procrastinating.

You may often feel as if you’re not good enough, you may even have imposter syndrome adding to the problem you’re experiencing. Perfectionists tend to put things off until the last minute, or may not even try because they cannot live up to the expectations that they’ve set for themselves.

To stop this type of procrastination, it’s crucial to learn to make realistic goals so that you can meet your own expectations.

The Idealist

This procrastinator will spend their time planning and organizing without getting results. Their plan is not realistic because they don’t think of the roadblocks and obstacles that might get in their way. The moment something goes awry, they give up.

This idealist also likes to think they need a muse, or the right emotion, or the perfect space, to do the work they need to do. They will put off getting started until everything is set just right.

To stop this type of procrastination, make solid, concrete goals, that are both challenging and realistic, but broken down into achievable easy to do steps.

The Worrywart

This type of procrastinator is very negative, all doom and gloom. They may suffer from general anxiety disorder. The worrywart turns everything into a tragic catastrophe and often have tons of drama going on. They are often resistant to change and tend to fear anything new or different or unfamiliar.

To stop this type of procrastination, first, determine if medical treatment is necessary for a general anxiety disorder.  Then look strategically at a task or project, and plan for all possibilities. It is essential to accept that getting caught up in so many “what if” scenarios isn’t the real problem. When the circular thoughts get out of control, take it a step farther, and plan for those possibilities.

The Adrenaline Drama

Many people claim that they work better during a crisis and with deadlines. This type of procrastination means that the person may enjoy the adrenaline rush that accompanies the drama of putting things off until the last moment.

Often this person will say that they always do their best work under pressure. I’m one of those. I think I do my best work under pressure. Sadly, this is seen as a good thing by society. Tragically, it’s a lie. Even if you’ve done your best, and the work is good, at the last minute, you can always do better when you give yourself enough time.

To stop this type of procrastination, realize that choosing to do things at the last moment is a choice you’re making, not something you have to do. Reward yourself for setting up the project in advance and working on it a little at a time.

The Rebel

Many people who suffer from this type of procrastination simply hate deadlines, authority, and all expectations from others. They think of themselves as a free spirit.

The hallmark of this type of procrastination is that the person is overt about doing things their own way, including reinventing the wheel if they deem it necessary.

To stop this type of procrastination, understand that you do have choices, even when under someone else’s authority, such as with work, school, or even as an independent contractor with clients. Avoiding deadlines isn’t going to lead to success.

The People Pleaser

Many people are procrastinators only due to being overworked. They’ve overscheduled themselves to the point of overwhelm and then tend to miss deadlines or just not do anything because it’s so much, they don’t know where to start.

This type of person often does not know how to say no. They think they can do everything, yet they cannot. They don’t know how to set the right type of boundaries.

To stop this type of procrastination, you must learn to do is say no. Start saying no or at least, “let me check my calendar” before saying yes. It’s okay to have free time for yourself and to do the things you do well in the time necessary and set by you.

Regardless if you are experiencing one type or a combination of the types of procrastination, it’s important to identify when it’s happening. Once you name the type and your reasons, then you’ll be able to reverse it.

Are You Procrastinating?

We’ve all done it. You know you need to get out of bed, but you keep pushing the snooze button. You need to study for a test but suddenly want to clean the fridge. You need to write 5000 words for your book, but you surf the internet instead. You need to catch up on your bookkeeping, but you clean your email instead.

The list goes on and on. You may not know it, but you’re procrastinating. Let’s look at some signs that may help you figure out when you’re procrastinating. Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings is an excellent start to stopping procrastination habits.

  • You Have Negative Thoughts About the Task – Break down the work into smaller chunks and give yourself a tighter deadline to ward off the downward spiral of negative thinking.
  • You Find Things to Do Other Than What Needs to Be Done – Force yourself to start the task and stick to it. Add the other things like the dishes, cleaning the baseboards, or other busy tasks that don’t have deadlines looming, to your to-do list in order of importance so you can see for yourself that it can wait.
  • You Do Mindless Things Instead of What You Need to Do – This is classic procrastination. You find yourself spending four hours playing Words with Friends or other games, or mindlessly watching videos of cute puppies when you have something else to do. To limit this, set break timers. For example, take 15 minutes to check your Facebook. If you need more time, then schedule it for the end of the day, when you’ve completed your tasks.
  • You Avoid Seeing or Thinking About What You Need to Do – Keeping your “head in the sand” is not a positive or effective tactic for dealing with things. If you find yourself avoiding a task, especially if it’s important, like paying quarterly taxes, understand that by avoiding it you’re making a choice and it may have consequences.
  • You Keep Waiting for The Right Time That Never Comes – The right time will never come. Set up concrete steps that can help you realize your dreams, and implement them.
  • You Downgrade the Importance of The Thing – You have already determined the importance and priority of your tasks when you added them to your list. If you start making excuses or decide it isn’t important to do when you decided, you need to look at your overall objectives and re-do your task list accordingly.
  • You Keep Learning Instead of Implementing What You’ve Learned – The “professional student”. You like learning about things, but not so great at implementing. Learning is never a bad thing, but you need to set a goal to put what you’ve learned into practice. If you learn about marketing funnels but never do them, you’re never going to experience the benefits.
  • You Keep Making Yourself Busy – You know the person who is always busy but never seems to accomplish much. If that’s you, you’re always cleaning, but your house is always a mess. You’re always working, but you never finish anything you start because you’re always starting new projects, at the same time. To stop this, pick one thing to complete before saying yes again.

Tips to Stop Procrastination

Now that you know how to recognize the different types of procrastination that may be affecting your productivity and causing you to waste time, let’s talk about ways to stop putting things off and start managing your time.

Set SMART Goals

Set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-dependent.

An example of a smart goal:

“I will finish writing my 80,000-word (specific) romance novel by December 20th, 2020 (timely) by writing 2000 words (realistic) a day five days a week, (measurable) Monday – Friday writing from 2 pm until 4 pm each day.” (attainable)

Plan Your Task List

Start with a planner and enter long-term and short-term planning that covers yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily planning. As you create your long- and short-term planning, you will start to identify potential roadblocks and will be able to plan actions to take in advance.

You can also take this time to determine which are urgent and important and must be completed by you, and which you might want to delegate or outsource.

Break Big Tasks Down

When you are being specific about your goals, remember that any big goals need to be broken down into smaller tasks. For example, if you are working on household organization and minimizing the things you have, don’t plan to do it all in one day. Instead, break it down to small daily tasks that will, over the course of the year, add up to an organized and decluttered home.

Develop Positive Habits

The best way to ensure that you end procrastination entirely is to replace your bad habits with good habits. For example, if you tend to press the snooze button each morning, move the alarm to a point where you cannot touch it or turn it off with your voice without fully getting up. If you tend to put off getting in your 10K steps, do that first thing instead of later. If you are always looking at the negative side of things, then come up with three positive thoughts each time you have a negative thought.

Visualize What Being Done Looks Like

One thing that can really help if you are a procrastinator is to practice visualizing what is being done and what it feels like to do that in the timeline given to the best of your ability. Don’t let that push you into perfectionism. Remember, perfection doesn’t exist and never will.

Ask Yourself: What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

One way to stop procrastination is to ask yourself what is the very worst that can happen. Go ahead and think about it. The trick here is to be realistic in your analysis of what the worst is that can happen. Say your biggest fear out loud, adjust your goal to account for possibilities, and move forward anyway.

Reward Yourself for a Job Done

Reward yourself when you succeed. Most people who set up and follow a plan overcome procrastination and become more productive. why not give yourself a reward for doing it?

Stopping procrastination requires that you first recognize it, and then accept that you’re doing it, and then make plans to stop doing it. Once you realize you’re procrastinating, you can figure out how to work around it and get the task done.

I hope you have enjoyed this four-part mini-series on Time Management as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I gave you a lot of thought-provoking information as well as tips to help you manage your time. To further help you, I have created a workbook you can use to help identify your time vampires, sets goals, and make a plan. The download link is below.

Use the workbook along with the other guides in this series to take control and manage your time.

Part I – What Is Your Time Vampire

Part II – 12 Steps to Vanquish Your Time Vampires

Part III – Improve Focus and Productivity for Better Time Management

Part IV – The Truth About Procrastinating


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Could You Be A Workaholic?


Could You Be A Workaholic?

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I always knew I was a workaholic. Both my parents are Type-A personalities and I suspect, workaholics, so I come by it honestly. Today is National Workaholics day, so I thought I would dig into the phenomenon a little more, and was surprised to see it is a treatable condition!
Work addiction, often called workaholism, is a real mental health condition. Like any other addiction, work addiction is the inability to stop the behavior.
Some signs of a workaholic may include:
  • Working late and/or taking work home often and unnecessarily.
  • Checking messages at home, or at inappropriate times such as during family dinners, holidays.
  • Consistently canceling plans.
  • Your relationships are suffering because you are always working.
  • Lack of sleep or poor sleep.
  • You're defined by your work
Do not confuse workaholism with long hours, however, as there may be times you will need to work longer hours or cancel some plans, that doesn't necessarily mean you're a workaholic. The same goes if you just love your work so much you work more than an average "40-hour week", which means you're probably engaged, not a workaholic.
So then what is a workaholic? The dictionary defines a workaholic as a person who compulsively works hard and long hours. They might as well put my picture in the definition! It is not uncommon for me to put 18-hour days in, or to get up in the middle of the night and check email, or jot down notes for my blog. I've even been known to forget to eat! But this isn't something new for me. I've worked like this for as long as I can remember. I was always finding extra work to do, taking work home, and working long hours. I thought I was just a hard worker, trying to show my worth. Turns out I'm a bonafide workaholic (ok, tell me something I didn't know!)
Workaholism can become a serious condition, and if left untreated can lead to impaired cognitive functions stemming from sleep deprivation, affect mental and physical health, and even create conflict and discontent in your personal relationships. Ladders.com published indicators of workaholism to look out for. Take a look at these 5 signs of workaholism and see where you land:
1. Workaholics have anxiety

Do you gain a sense of comfort when working? Do you feel guilty or restless if you are not busy doing something? I personally can not, not, be doing something. I always have 10-15 or more computer windows and Chrome tabs open so I can easily and quickly switch between tasks rather than take any downtime.

2. Work is priority #1

Workaholics will put the job before and above all else. Holidays, family time, it doesn't matter. A workaholic spends little-to-no time connecting with others and will always arrange their schedules so work comes first.

3. No social life

As I mentioned above, a workaholic has very little time for socializing. Some may even stress out from the guilt of doing something for themselves. A workaholic must make themselves completely available and indispensable to their job and have oftentimes been accused of being a martyr.

4. Won't admit the problem

A workaholic cannot admit they have a problem, or they might not even realize it. Working long hours, "to the bone", is acceptable in our society and quite often expected.

5. They're unhappy

Oftentimes a workaholic doesn't even like their job, but they have a need to remain busy rather than have nothing to do.

If you find yourself in any of these signs there are some ways you can address the unhealthy behavior. Plan activities for the end of the workday, and don't cancel them. Other ways you can balance your work and home life are by reading books, listening to music, or doing something that prompts inspiration.

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Automate Your Business Finances

Organizational Efficiency: Automate Your Business Finances

Automate Your Business Finances

Organizational Efficiency: Automate Your Business Finances

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Every business must figure out how they plan to keep track of income and expenses and set up benchmarks for planning purposes. In Organizational Efficiency: The Anatomy of your Business, I showed you how automating your business helps free up your valuable time to do more money-making activities. The poster child for automation is business finances. Think about it, most of your business finance tasks are recurring and rarely change, making it perfect for automation! The tools that exist today, such as Quickbooks and Xero, are easy to use, inexpensive, and work great. Today, most bookkeeping software, even Go Daddy’s version, will automatically book your purchases and income for you and categorize the expense, saving you hours! It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Below are some finance tasks you can easily automate:

Invoicing and Reminders

Send recurring invoices automatically based on the criteria you set up. You can also set up auto-reminders for invoices that might need a little tweaking before they go out.

What’s more, when your client clicks the invoice to pay, the software automatically records the payment.


If you have employees, then you know how timely payroll can be! Investing in payroll software can save you time and money.

Depending on the size of your staff or how many contractors you have, having an automated system will help ensure your people are paid on time, and letting them self-manage their pay helps save you time. Look at your bookkeeping software to determine if there are add-ons to help automate this or try using SurePayRoll.

Bill Paying

Set up automatic payments through your bank or credit card company, so you don’t have to think about them every month. Another plus, automatic payments prevent late fees!

Storing Records and Receipts

Use receipt scanning apps like Wave to take a picture of your records and receipts so that it’s always there when you need it. Your accountant will thank you!!

Expense Management

Managing expenses, especially when you’re away from your office, is easy today with software like Zoho Expense and fylehq.com that help you collect receipts, appropriately book the expense, and so forth. Even your existing bookkeeping software may have an option.

Investing and Saving

The truth is, if you don’t invest and save on a regular basis, you won’t do it. Set up automatic transfers with your bank to send money to your investments and savings accounts, whether personal or business finances.

Automating your finances helps you avoid making the same steps over and over again. There is no reason to repeat tasks today when there is software available to do it for you. You can save hours each day by implementing these financial automation tips and tools.

Download our free Organizational Efficiency Workbook and start taking control of your time!

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Organizational Efficiency

Organizational Efficiency: The Anatomy of Your Business

Organizational Efficiency

Organizational Efficiency

The Anatomy of Your Business

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The first thing to think about when you seek to make your days more manageable and more effective are the parts of your small business, the anatomy. What parts of your business are essential to your success? You'll need to look at your situation for each business to determine it, but this can get you started.

While all businesses share the same fundamental parts, some businesses, especially home solopreneurs, may place importance on different functions depending on their goals. But these potential essential parts of your small business bear consideration so that you can create a solid automation plan.

I will show you how you can create organizational efficiency in all areas of your business, no matter what your business type. This is not about starting a new business but rather how to achieve operational excellence in your business by minimizing waste and maximizing values. Make sure you download the accompanying Workbook and follow along to achieve organizational efficiency.

Organizational Efficiency Workbook


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What's Your Business Type?

Knowing how you have structured your business is vital to determine before you start your automation plans. For example, the way you run and automate an online store where people purchase products will be somewhat different from someone who offers courses or one-on-one personal services.

When you understand the core business, you will know what you sell, who you are selling it to, where your buyers are, and how to find them. You will also see how you're going to distribute the product or serve the customer. Additionally, you know how you stand out from the competition, and you use that to your advantage by differentiating yourself in the marketplace.

So, what is your business type?

Do you have an online store where you sell any type of product, physical or digital? There are many automation tips you can use for online stores.

Do you offer virtual services? Most businesses moved to virtual during the pandemic and continue to stay virtual due to convenience and cost savings. Services offered could range from administrative, one-on-one coaching, social media management, online business management, and so forth. As a service-based business, you will want to organize your business and market yourself differently from an online store where you don't speak to the customers directly yourself and sell products directly.

You may also offer only virtual support and consulting without providing direct service. For example, you may coach your clients to create a sales page, set up a freebie, or set up a discovery call, but you don't do it yourself; you advise them on what to do, and the client with their team does it. This is an entirely different business structure than a business that does the services directly or delivers the product directly.

Suppose you offer classes and "how-to" information to your customers via courses, classes, and content. If you have a business that provides classes, either self-paced or teacher-led, this is a training business. A training business sometimes needs more personal input and engagement than a storefront that sells the complete self-paced course.

There are numerous opportunities for automation in each of these business structures. Get out your workbook and write it out:

  • What is the composition of your business?
  • What do you do for customers and clients, and how do you do it?
  • Are you hands-off or hands-on, or a combination of both?

The more you can document how your business works, the easier it will be to find ways to automate and outsource.

Workbook Task: write out your business structure

Organizational Efficiency Workbook


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What's Your Job as The Owner of Your Business?

As a small business owner, you probably think that you have a lot of jobs to do. Some people like to describe the job of a business owner as one that wears many hats. However, your main job description as a business owner is to plan and organize the daily operations of your business.
On any given day, you may be responsible for:

  • Developing your business plans
  • Arrange financing
  • Hiring staff or contractors
  • Reviewing sales
  • Developing marketing strategies
  • Overseeing daily activities
  • Identifying opportunities

All these jobs represent your primary function as a business owner, analyzing the performance, whether it is automation or human, to minimize risk. You do not need to do the tasks yourself physically. Remember, your job as a business owner is that of risk management. Realistically, you may have to wear a lot of hats at first, doing all the tasks; the trick is, figuring out when it's time to let go.

Finding and setting up automation in your business is one of your roles as a business owner. By doing so, you will reduce risks associated with your business because you are going to ensure those tasks get done in a timely fashion by someone (or something) who knows what they're doing.

The more you can automate or outsource, the faster your business will grow because you're going to free up your time so you can discover new opportunities for your business.

 Do You Know What You Do All Day?

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. But, to figure out how to automate your business, you first need to know, in detail, what you do all day long. This exercise will aid you in determining which tasks can be automated, which can be outsourced, and even whether it's something you should be doing at all.

You will have daily tasks, weekly tasks, monthly tasks, and even quarterly and yearly tasks in every business. The best thing to do is get out a calendar and enter the items you know you have to do.

For example, you have to pay quarterly taxes, and you have to balance your books at the end of the month. You must buy a business license each October or January depending on your location and the rules and laws in your area. What you know has to be done should be entered into your calendar and block off the approximate time it will take you to do it.

But what about the daily things you do that generate your income. When it comes to generating revenue, it's essential to specify which actions you are doing that generate income and which activities you're doing that support generating income. Go through the steps you take in your day and write down what you're doing, step by step.

Coaches' example of a typical day:

  • Business: Coaches retired teachers starting a second career as independent course and project designers.
  • Morning: Checks the mail, email, and Trello to determine if there are any fires to put out before diving into the day. Calls her group coaching clients for the weekly group coaching session. Writes product educational and nurturing emails for a new one-on-one coaching product ready to launch.
  • Afternoon: Records part of an online development course. Transcribes the group call and sets up her part as a standalone presentation video.
  • Evening: Answers coaching client questions for those who signed up to receive daily emails and, using automation, schedules delivery in the morning.

Of course, this one day is not representative of all the money-making tasks this coach does, nor is it a complete picture of what happens in the business overall. Still, it does give you a great idea about where to start automating and even outsourcing. Once it's written out and you visually see all that you do, it becomes easier to know where you can improve your process.

Workbook task: Take the time to write out every task you do or need to do each day.

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How to Do More with Less

Many of us believe that being successful means being busy. The truth is, being busy does not mean that you are productive, and many times, quite the opposite. Did you know that multitasking makes you LESS efficient and thereby unproductive? You can also be busy doing the wrong things. The truth is successful people know that getting more done with less implies that the impact you make is more significant than your effort. Now that's a success!

So how do you do more with less? First, you need to Understand your key objectives. What is the point of doing a particular task? Does this task impact any of your critical business objectives or the objective of the one task?

If it's not a front-burner task or something that only you can do, put it on the list for automation and outsourcing.

Once you clean up your list and down to the tasks you need to do, it's time to get organized. Add them to your calendar and create your schedules realistically. For example, you know a task takes two hours and that you need some setup time, so plan three hours. You also want to batch like tasks together. The purpose of this is the fewer steps you can take, the better. For example, if you need to do bookkeeping, save all your booking entries to do one day a week instead of doing it daily.

Next, you want to make sure you are using the right tools. If a tool exists to help streamline your business and eliminate busy work, you need it. There are so many tools out there, developed because of a need, by business owners just like you. I've listed a few in the workbook to help get you started. You can also check out our Resources page to see what we use and recommend.

Now put it into action! Remember when I said turn off all distractions? That goes the same for your tasks. Set up your workspace to eliminate distractions and interruptions. Turn off notifications, your phone, the TV, or anything that can take your mind off what you are doing. Set a timer for each task and track how you are spending it; you will be surprised by the insight you will gain here! Time tracking also helps you gain a better understanding of how long your tasks take.

Remember that being organized in your business is part of what a business owner does. Business owners reduce risk in their business by organizing, planning, and generating new ideas that create new opportunities.

Workbook task: look at each task and prioritize by the impact and effectiveness

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To learn more, check out our 4-part Time Management series starting with https://thetaskva.com/what-is-your-time-vampire/

The Ultimate Boost in Productivity: Automation and Outsourcing

Being productive is an essential element in any business owner's life. Business owners are busy and need to use every moment as efficiently and effectively as possible. Most business owners continually research ideas that will boost their productivity, but the truth is the ultimate boost in productivity will come from a combination of automation and outsourcing.

Now that you have taken the time to write out your business goals, understand your core business, and audited your internal processes, it's time to apply that knowledge to help you with automating your systems or outsourcing.

Remove Bottlenecks

When you start to automate and outsource tasks in your business as you develop each process, you will notice that bottlenecks are a thing of the past. Because the truth is, in most small businesses, especially those run by people starting them from home with no business experience, the bottleneck is the business owner.

When you want to outsource or automate something, you will need to write down the process to visualize every step, including the impact of the actions. Through these business processes, you will create a situation where you improve every single function you have.

Sometimes lack of skill causes a roadblock. Sometimes you may lack desire or energy because everything becomes so overwhelming. But whatever the reason, if you are engaged in organizing and planning and focused on automating and outsourcing, ensuring that others are responsible for their tasks, you are going to get more done.

Even if you do not have a skill, you can find it in software or find it in an individual or company. Simply put, a sole proprietor or a small business can perform like a big business due to increased capabilities.

Reduce Errors and Mistakes

When you work with software, fewer mistakes will happen, provided you set it up correctly. If you don't know how to do something, you're going to make mistakes as you learn. But if you hire an expert, they're going to make fewer mistakes. If you use technology and set it up correctly, there will be no mistakes.

The truth is, hiring experts or using automation software can reduce your errors and mistakes so much that the cost will produce a fantastic ROI (return on investment).

There has never been a better time to be a small business owner!  There is an endless resource of technology to implement in your automation plan and plenty of people to hire in your outsourcing plan. Figure out what you want to do, set your goals for doing it, and then follow through.

The work you produce will be much better when you work with technology and contractors to see your vision come to reality.

Spend Time on Higher Value Projects

Focusing on your primary business, which is the core of your business's existence, is the biggest reason of all to automate and outsource. While you may need to do things in your business as a job, once you reach specific benchmarks, you should automate those tasks that you can and outsource the others to spend time on business planning and idea generation, which is the key to business growth.

When you have more time to judge how your business is performing, and you've developed each process to be the most efficient possible, you're going to have more doors open for you when you need them.

Workbook task: develop your processes

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To Outsource or Automate, that is the Question

There are numerous things you can automate in your business. Some things you may have already thought about or started, such as email marketing. But others you may not have thought of yet, such as auto file generation, event registration, data collecting, file creation, document sharing, and form filling.

From time tracking to expense management, anything that happens repeatedly is ripe for automation, and think of the many saved hours in your workday and work year. Those are hours you can use to create even more fantastic products and solutions for your ideal audience.


If you can document the steps you do for a task, you can likely automate a lot of it. From using macros within your documentation to implementing new automation tech, there is probably a way to do it.

The best way to determine what you want to automate is to track what you do each day, week, month, and year. Review the daily process you recorded in your workbook.  For tasks that repeat, do a little research about how other people automate that task. You may be shocked to learn how simple automating your business is. Automation is not nearly as expensive or complicated as you may think.


As you learn more about business automation, it is essential to understand another way to automate your business, which is by hiring someone else to do the work for you. No automation plan is complete without an outsourcing plan.

Hiring experts to deliver work for you on your behalf is called outsourcing. If you cannot automate it, you can likely get someone else to do it for you. If you outsource to a contractor, they are not employees because you can only make requirements on the deliverables but not on how they use their time creating and producing the deliverables.

A few common areas to outsource are legal work, finance, technology needs, marketing, graphic design, customer care, administrative tasks, and writing. Most of these tasks are cumbersome and overwhelming, and small business owners can save a boatload of time, stress, and money by outsourcing.

As a business owner, you should make it your goal to outsource or automate almost every task in your business.  When you outsource more, you free up your time to focus on what you do best.

Wrap Up and Where to Go from Here

Beginning today, start tracking what you do every single day. Don't make any changes yet; simply follow what you're doing. Pay attention to the things that you do that are repetitive. Also, note the tasks you would rather not be doing or spend a lot of time figuring out how to do.

Make a list of these tasks, and then look at the software and tools you are already using to find out if you can add features or integrations with other solutions to get more out of what you're doing.

Most of all, remember that productivity does not mean that you have to be busy all the time. The opposite is true. Being busy is only an indicator of movement, and all movement isn't impactful. Test your results. Measure your efforts so that you can improve as you go.  Before you know it, you'll have a smooth-running, mostly automated business and finally have control over your most important resource, your time.

Download our free Organizational Efficiency Workbook and start taking control of your time!

Organizational Efficiency Workbook


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Simple Steps To Enjoy Your Vacation Time


Take These Simple Steps So You Can Enjoy Your Vacation


Summertime! Vacation time! Many of you are planning your vacations but also worried about what you will be greeted by upon your return. After a relaxing vacation, coming back to a larger than normal workload can be stressful and discouraging.

Whether you’re going for a week or two, or just a few days,  taking care of a few things now, and keeping a positive mindset, can help ease you back into the work routine and may even stretch your “vacay” mood a little longer.

Use the checklist below to prep your office before you leave:

✔️ Automate Your Email

Create Rules to Filter Emails:

Setting up filters to determine which emails should receive priority upon your return is a huge time saver! Gmail allows you to mark which email type, or contact, as important or with a star. You can even color-code your stars in order of priority in the Settings section.

In Outlook, go to “Rules & Alerts”. There you can fully customize how you want your incoming messages to behave. Sending them to a folder or marking as high priority, are just a couple of timesaving filters.

Out of Office Automatic Reply:

First, take time right now to set up your Out-Of-Office and Voicemail message. These are probably the two most overlooked yet simplest tasks to quickly take care of. Outlook’s “Automatic Replies” and Gmail’s Vacation Reply will let you schedule the OOO in advance. Your message can be anything from “I’m outta here!” (not really recommended ????) to something more elaborate with information the sender may need. You can also decide if you want the automatic reply to go to everyone, even those outside your organization, or contact list only.

Most voicemails will let you schedule an outgoing message to run at a specific time, but if your phone system doesn’t allow for advance messaging, write the message out now and have it ready to quickly record.

Remember, the idea of advanced settings is so you don’t stress yourself unnecessarily by waiting until 5 minutes before you’re trying to get out the door!

✔️ Organize Your Calendar Now

Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of "The Humor Advantage,” recommends:

"If your work situation permits it, leave a day after you've 'officially' booked off and arrive a day before you've announced your official return. This buys you an extra distraction-free day at both ends of your vacation so that you leave feeling better prepared and more relaxed and return to work without feeling overwhelmed."

 Another wiggle room tip is your catch-up time. I remember returning to the office after I had taken a cruise. Everyone stopped by my desk or caught up with me in the community kitchen and wanted to know all my vacation details. These quick “water cooler” chats quickly morphed into a time vampire! Block about 30 minutes of “catch up” time to socialize and catch up with your office pals. Scheduling this time will help avoid unnecessary interruptions and keep you focused.

Don’t forget your own self-care! Schedule three lunches your first week back. As you ease your way back into the routine, time away becomes paramount. Schedule alternate days (I recommend this!), or consecutively, but do it in “ink”, as these should be non-negotiable.

And finally, don’t schedule any meetings your first day back, preferably keep the entire week clear!

✔️ Prioritize Your Task List:

Make a complete list of all the projects you are working on. Are there any projects that have been on a backburner for over a year, take a good look at it – are you really going to work on them? Can they be delegated or even discarded? Take a few minutes to prioritize everything – use the Eisenhower Matrix to help organize these projects. Your “vacation brain” will thank you when it’s time to jump back into things.

Set up your return task list now for at least the first two days back. When adding tasks, keep it real! Don’t set unrealistic deadlines for your first day back and don’t try to do everything on that first day, this will only leave you overwhelmed, underproductive, and put you behind in your work.

The first day should be sorting through and answering priority emails, just dip your toe in the water, no cannonballs on this day!

Day two should consist of your top three priorities, in order of deadline dates.

✔️ Schedule Social Media Posts

A social media presence is essential for businesses today, and letting it go for even a week,  can send your engagement into a downward spiral. Luckily, there are programs that will allow you to schedule your posts such as Hootsuite and Sendible. You can also schedule posts directly on  your Facebook business page using Publishing Tools.

If you have a lot of customer interaction, you could hire a Virtual Assistant to reply to comments and private messages, and keep the engagement going. Nothing says sloppy business like failing to respond to messages and questions from your followers.

Alternatively, you could post that you are going on vacation and will not be available during this time. If you take this route, I recommend pinning the post to the top of your page, and make sure you set up messenger to respond accordingly.

✔️ Communicate

Get in touch with your clients and let them know you’ll be away. If you’re able, have a backup contact for them in case any urgent needs arise.  Clients will appreciate the high-touch service.

Kerr says:

"Contact any high-priority clients before going to make sure you've answered any questions and addressed their needs before heading out. It's not only a great customer service habit to get into, it will give you greater peace of mind. It also gives you a simple but legitimate excuse to reach out to clients you may not have talked to in a while."

If you work with a team, make sure everyone is aware of your travel plans and how to reach you in case of an emergency.

✔️ Clean Up Your Desk

About 20 minutes before the end of your day, take some time to clean up your desk. Put away the files you’ve been working on, put books back where they belong, straighten up the supplies. Take one last look at your Task list and review this check list to make sure everything is ticked off.

You're Back at Work, Now What?

Part of the lure of a vacation is that you're free to do as you please. Work often seems like the end of the fun part of your vacation. Nonetheless, with a bit of strategic planning, and following a few return tips, you can help relieve the stress of the return and harness the excitement and happiness of your vacation.

Stealth Mode 

Try to stay in a selective stealth mode the first few days back, giving those that “need to know” a heads up about your return.  Break up the first few days into little chunks. For example, take care of emails and phone calls on the first day,  and review reports on day two.

Do Not Stay Late

As tempting as it might be, slowly easing back into that full “work late” schedule will help you be more focused and productive.

Keep the Vacation Alive

You can keep the spirit of your vacation alive by enjoying similar leisure activities on weekends long after you return to work. Have margaritas with dinner occasionally. Tan privately on your patio. Ask your partner for a massage once in a while. And, enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you. If you look around you, you'll find that total relaxation can be experienced everywhere!

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Time Management Hacks Used By Successful People

Time Management Hacks Used By Successful People


When you think of a successful CEO, do you wonder how they make it look so easy? How did they get where they are? It almost seems a fantasy that someone can run a company, spend time with family, exercise every day, yet still manage to enjoy their hobbies as well, such as writing a book, or building a boat. You know the kind of person we’re talking about because there are loads of these successful people out there. Do you want to know how they do it? What is their secret formula?

Here are a few time-management hacks from some of the world’s most successful people:

Wake Up Early - Every Day

It’s nice to have some level of structure before a busy day. I don’t know about you, but if I’m rushed in the morning and leave out my morning ritual, my entire day can be off! You set the tone for your day! Waking up early gives you that "self" free time so you can get things done that are important to you. In this YouTube interview with Jocko Willink, former Navy Seal Commander, Casey Neistat explains why it's so important to wake up early every day and have a morning routine that you stick to.

Reduce the Number of Decisions You Have to Make

Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day so that he didn’t have to mull over a bunch of wardrobe options every morning. Barack Obama limits his outfits to gray or blue suits. Nick Taranto used to only wear shoes without laces, so he didn’t have to tie them. Keep a diary of all your repetitive daily tasks; which ones require a decision or take a little time? Can you narrow the choices down, or eliminate altogether? You may think that trivial decisions only take seconds away from your time, but those are seconds you’ll never get back.

Make Task Lists that you Actually Do

How many loose papers with untouched to-do items have you accumulated over the years? First, stop calling it a “to-do” list. That gives your subconscious  the impression that someone is telling you what to do. I personally don’t like someone telling me what to do, I’d rather it be my idea! So, change it to your task list, or objectives, or goals, anything that motivates you. A friend of mine has a Daily Challenge list. She is quite competitive, joins almost every challenge she sees, and this works out wonderfully for her!

Next, set aside a few minutes at the beginning of your day, every day, to make a realistic list that you will knock out. Make that promise to yourself, and don’t break it.

Reinvent Meetings 

Take it from American businessman and billionaire, Mark Cuban: "The only way you're going to get me for a meeting is if you're writing me a check.” Plenty of successful people avoid meetings like the plague. Why? They are almost always a waste of time. Most things can be handled via email today, but if you really need to schedule a meeting, have a streamlined agenda and a time limit for the meeting – and stick to it!  Otherwise, migrate your meetings to an email chain or work chat platform like Slack.

Stop Wasting Time

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how much time is wasted unnecessarily. If you’re waiting in line, check off some of your task items, or when you’re driving, listen to a podcast or audiobook that will teach you something new to implement into your life. To put it simply, train your brain to always be productive.

Turn Your Tasks into Games

Get competitive with yourself. Instead of thinking, “Ugh, I have to get this done by noon,” say, “I bet I can get this done before noon!” If you want to ratchet it up a notch, try using a gamifying task list app such as Habitica.  Have fun with it!

The art of time management is an involved practice. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and it often comes with roadblocks that deter people from optimally using their time. Do you have any tried and true time management tips? Don't keep them to yourself! Use the comment section below and share your tidbits!

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