Being a contractor often feels like running a small business on your own. Because of that, you should know the most important productivity tips and how to apply them until you’re either more confident on your own, or able to hire a team to help you out.
I’ll break down the productivity tips I consider essential for small businesses, focusing on what matters most for contractors in particular. The goal is to allow you to perform every task in a timely and effective manner, the best way possible. Let’s get to it!
Automate and streamline
Most tasks that can be automated should be automated – especially if they’re time consuming otherwise. Here are a few examples:
Financial predictions. A well-made sheet can predict future expenses, but financial apps are even better. No need to manually take everything into account, you just skip a few months and, assuming you set up the correct variables, most apps should give you fair estimates.
Online marketing. Social media posts can all be scheduled in a single day, so it’s usually a good idea to schedule posts for the week, check the results, and do the same the following week. No reason to waste time every day creating one post at a time when you can do it all at once and focus on other tasks during the week.
Apps and other tools. Note-taking, pictures, mock-ups, invoices, templates – there are tons of free apps and tools that streamline everyday tasks for you. Don’t try to make everything from scratch every single time. With some research, you can probably find a tool that simplifies the process for you.
Track your time
Tracking your time is an excellent way to become more productive.
First, because the feeling of starting the clock and concentrating can be very stimulating, which helps you stay focused on a task until it’s over – or at least until significant progress has been made.
Second, it helps you manage future tasks. With a time tracking app that allows you to visualize where your time is going to, you can better estimate how long it takes to complete specific tasks, as well as decide whether or not your time is being well-spent. Being able to notice your time sinks is a great way to identify your productivity problems and solve them!
If you want a suggestion, I highly recommend Toggl. It’s free, easy to use on many different devices and super comprehensive. You can also try pomodoro timers, they usually keep me productive throughout the day.
Control your finances
Once again, apps can really help if you’re dealing with your finances solo. The help of an accountant is always recommended, as well as hiring someone to deal with the finances in your place whenever possible. It takes a lot of brain muscle to manage finances by yourself, let alone while trying to perform every other task.
But regardless, it’s crucial to always have a grasp on your finances. It will more or less dictate what plans you can commit to and which ones have to wait or adapt to your current reality.
Plan your marketing ahead
Planning your marketing strategy on a weekly basis and figuring out what to do every day is extremely draining. Instead, figure out your large scale plan beforehand and use weekly check-ups to see if your strategy is working.
For example, if your plan is to get more leads through social media posts, it’s better to plan those posts ahead and schedule them for the week. Then, measure the results and see what worked and what didn’t, planning your next week.
If you simply make posts without consistency or a plan, it would be almost impossible to gage what works and what doesn’t.
Save time with technology
Technology is your friend when it comes to increasing productivity. There are many ways with which technology can help you out, but I’ll focus on a simple one:
Use an iPad or a tablet.
With a much bigger screen, these tools double as computers you can carry around, making it easy to take notes, make plans, draw annotations, make video calls, and all with the comfort of a less cluttered interface when compared to a phone. It’s flexible, reliable and insanely useful when out on the field.
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