Show me an entrepreneur who’s not overworked and trying to do 10 things at once, and I’ll give you a million dollars. They simply don’t exist!
Running a business — much less a thriving eCommerce business — requires every ounce of your attention, energy, and effort. There are orders to fulfill. Fires to put out. Customers to nurture. And many of us don’t even have employees to help with all of this!
Thank goodness for productivity hacks. These little lessons can make a huge difference in how you do eCommerce business, and can even make you feel like you’ve cloned yourself to get more done. Check my guideline of 10 super-useful tips for eCommerce entrepreneurs ant those who just starting a business.
1. Prioritize Your Day
If you’re like I used to be, you get to work, check email, and then blearily try to decide what to work on first as you sip your coffee. Not your most efficient strategy. A better system is to decide at the end of the work day what the top three priorities are for the next day. So if today you got behind on your blog writing, put that at the top of your list for tomorrow, along with updating your website and fulfilling orders.
2. Have Theme Days
Take your prioritization one step further and focus on one area of your business on different days. Maybe you can do all order fulfillment on Mondays and Fridays and focus on marketing on Wednesdays. Knowing that you have the day to focus on one aspect ensures that you pay proper attention to that component of your business.
3. Outsource. Even a Little
Look, I know you feel like you’re the only one who can do things right in your business, but trying to do it all could be jeopardizing your results. Bring in an intern or freelancer to help with small projects, like managing your social media or email campaigns, and you effectively take that thing off of your to-do list. That’s more time and energy you can put on other aspects of running your business. Score.
4. Get a To-Do System
Everyone has a different system that works for them to remind them of what they need to do. For you, that might be:
- A notepad
- Sticky notes
- Paper calendar or agenda
- Digital calendar
- Task app
I’ve always used Google Calendar to block off time to work on projects. That way, I have a fixed amount of time to work on something, and I never have to remember it, because a reminder will pop up and tell me to switch gears. If that doesn’t resonate, find what works. It’s just important that it does work for you.
5. Automate What You Can
Technology is your friend. There are so many automated tools that can help you do more with less effort, that you can shave significant time off of your daily responsibilities. Some examples:
- Set up your email marketing system to automatically send emails post-purchase
- Schedule blog posts to be published
- Automate sharing of blog posts to social media
6. Figure Out When You Work Best
The great thing about owning an eCommerce company is that you’re not beholden to the standard 9-5 workday. If you find that you are super productive working after the kids go to bed, by all means, do it. Or if you find that you’re best at administrative tasks mid-morning, make that the time you handle those activities. You’re the boss, baby. Make your schedule fit your needs.
7. Do The Hard Task First Thing in the Morning
Have you ever had a task that you just dreaded? That you wasted a ton of time thinking about, and then it wasn’t really as hard as you’d made it out to be? Yea. We all have. Sometimes the tasks really are monstrous; sometimes we just make them that way in our heads. Either way, if you tackle these tasks first thing when you get to the office, you’ll mark them off your list and erase them from your brain. That’s a feeling of accomplishment that will serve you well all day long.
8. Come Up for Air
Yes, when you’re swamped, you feel like even taking a bathroom break will seriously mess with your efficiency, but in fact, the opposite is true. Taking even a tiny break can improve mental acuity, reduce fatigue, and make you more productive. Get away from your desk at lunch. Walk around the block to stretch. Just get out of the office once in awhile.
9. Work When People Will Leave You Alone
If most of your emails and calls from customers come in from 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, you’re probably not getting much else done if you’re the one to handle them. So you’ll get more accomplished if you come in before that. Even an extra hour or two before the “rush” can help you get a handle on your day so you don’t feel like you’re drowning in work.
10. Write Your Ideas Down
I don’t pretend to have a stellar memory. Yes, I can remember my childhood phone number, but not what I ate for lunch yesterday. So when I have a good idea, like for a blog post, I write it down immediately before it seeps from my brain. I have spreadsheets for blog topics. You might have a notebook for new product ideas. Or whatever. Just make sure you have somewhere to jot things down when inspiration strikes.
These are a few of the ways you can boost productivity while keeping your sanity!