Ah, "life hacks". If the term alone makes you think of crazy ideas that are more work than reward (like this semi-gross idea of using toilet paper holders to "organize" cords and crayons), we're with you.
Although there's no end to the search results for life hacks, there are a few helpful tips and tricks that can make your life as a busy entrepreneur just a little easier. Check out our list of a few favorites!
Schedule organization time each week, and stick to it like it's a meeting with an important client.
This is what we live by at FIVE:thirty. Every Monday we take one hour (8-9am) to plan our day/week. We double check deadlines, mark them in the calendar, and make sure we're still on track for budgetary items. This keeps our whole week running smoothly, and means we don't miss those important nuances that are easy to forget when you're only operating on a high level.
Meal Planning can make your evenings after a long days work a little less annoying.
Many people undertake meal planning for health reasons, but we do it simply for sanity sake. After a long day on the run, the last thing we want to do is decide what to eat, run to the store for that one ingredient we don't have, and cook. To avoid this all too familiar situation, every other Saturday we plan 2 weeks worth of meals, put them in the calendar, and make a grocery trip for everything we'll need to get us through. We also prep several items right when getting home from the store to make weeknights even easier. It saves time (no thoughts spent on "what to make" when your brain is fried), money (eliminates costly last minute take out dinners), and spares you the "what do you what"/"whatever you want" negotiation at the end of a busy work day. Bonus points for recipes you can make in a slow cooker and dish up the second you walk in the door. Find a system that works for you, and be sure to schedule in a few nights for leftovers. No more wasted time when you can be de-stressing!
Templates. Templates. Templates.
Almost anything can (and should) be a template- frequently sent emails, proposals, and client files should all be ready and waiting whenever you need them. Simply copy and paste, and you're saving valuable minutes on each little task throughout the day. Client folders in specific are a great way to keep uniform style and system to your files, and makes retrieval- what file storage is all about- much easer. Keep blank templates of proposal materials, contracts, or invoices in the folder ready to use when you need them so you don't have to rename files every time you reuse them from an old project.
Find a custom way to tackle your weak spots.
Confession time: I'm not great at taking meeting notes. By not great, I mean that I can take a whole page of notes (in huge print), and look at them later with no idea of who the meeting was even with. Many times, I've had to cross check the date on my notebook with the meetings I had that day to figure out who, exactly, I was taking notes on. I also have the bad habit of handwriting so large it takes up multiple pages, making important items even more difficult to track down. My solution? A customized meeting notebook, complete with all the things I need to keep myself organized. Gone are the days of searching through loose papers or multiple notebooks to find info from a previous client meeting. A small font keeps my large handwriting from growing endlessly, a header for the meeting title ensures that I won't forget to record it, and a space to write agenda items ensures that even a last minute meeting will cover the important items. (Shout out to Kateri at Copy Country for printing this at a very reasonable price- she can also help design your customized notebook if you want something fancier!)
For every minute you spend creating little systems or life hacks that make your days run more smoothly you can allocate more time towards your actual work, and isn't that what you became a business owner to do?
If you're looking for a company that understands the trials and freedoms of small business ownership, consider getting in touch with FIVE:thirty! #ConsultingWithCare means we've designed an entire system around keeping our clients lives as easy as possible. We look forward to working with you!