The biggest time drain for nearly all the women business owners I know is lack of focus. It means that even if you manage to free up some precious time in your over-busy schedule to work ON your business for a change, you haven't the faintest idea where to start. You're faced with a to-do list so long and so full of huge jobs that you're paralyzed into inaction. Needless to say, this is not the way to be super-productive. Instead, you need to make your to-do list more manageable and less terrifying and you can do this by breaking every huge job down into bite-sized chunks. I call it eating the elephant one bite at a time.
2. Time Management
Time flies, especially when you have too much to do. So how can you get a grip of your time and fit more into your days? Well I have a really simple tip for you and that's to set a timer. There is nothing like a good old deadline to get your mind laser focused and your productivity gland working overtime. Use the timer on your phone or get a kitchen timer and set it for 20 or 30 minutes. Even 10 minutes if it's a small task that you just need to get done. Don't look at or touch anything else during that time until you've completed the job in hand. You will be amazed how much you can achieve working this way. Try it!
Getting by day-to-day is all very well but you'll be much more productive and much more motivated if you know where you're going. When I work with my VIP clients I get them to create a business vision that shows what they want their business and life to look like in, say five or 10 years. I ask them to consider how much money they want to be earning, how many hours they would like to be working and what they will do with their time off. So I'm challenging you to do the same. What does success look like to you? You can either tear up magazines and create a vision montage on a sheet of paper or use Pinterest. Whenever you have an 'off' day or you take a knock, look at your vision board and remember why you're doing this.
Confidence, or rather lack of it, is a productivity killer. I've seen so many women business owners and female entrepreneurs who have let lack of confidence rule their lives and break their business. Lack of confidence made them say 'yes' to things they'd rather not be doing, take on bad clients because they thought any clients were better than none or not stand their ground when they were being taken advantage of. Lack of confidence is characterized by mind chatter (I call it Mind Monkeys) telling you that you're not good enough, you're not clever enough, no one will pay those prices or even 'you're a bad mother.' But you are better than you think, so instead of listening to the Mind Monkeys on your shoulder, get out your vision board and squash them flat with it.
5. Smarter Not Harder
Working smarter involves outsourcing those jobs you hate (book-keeping, admin, social media marketing) to someone else who loves those kinds of jobs. The time you free up far outweighs the minor expense and you get to free up some valuable mental bandwidth instead of having your mind on a task you need to do but are avoiding. Leveraging your time is another smart working technique. Doing lots of one-to-one work when you could be working with groups and earning more for the same time? Having to come up with new blog content every time instead of adapting and reworking other stuff you've done? There are loads of ways to work smarter not harder.
6. Think Like a Business Owner
Many women business owners suffer from 'little old me' syndrome which is no help when you're trying to be super-productive. 'Little old me' gives in when you're faced with a neighbor at the door who wants a chat because you work from home so you can't be busy. 'Little old me' gets put upon by friends and family because you don't have a 'proper' business. Sound familiar? The antidote to 'little old me' syndrome is to think like a business owner. Would a business owner stand and chat or would she say "Glenda, I'm sorry, I'm just on deadline, can I call round tonight?" 'Little old me' syndrome is self-imposed -- stand your ground and you'll start to get taken seriously.
7. Like-Minded People
Super productive business owners surround themselves with other successful people. They don't tolerate negativity or put up with whingers and whiners. There's a saying that goes "Those who say it cannot be done should not stand in the way of those doing it." And I wholeheartedly agree. There are many groups both on and offline for business owners. Find a network that works for you (there are so many different networks out there that you'll find the perfect fit) and use it. Share your problems, ask for help, be inspired, celebrate successes and use the power of the group -- it's a wonderful thing.