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7 Productivity Tips for Busy Business Owners

Reading time: 6 min.

Time is money, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. But as I was journaling the other day, I had a realization — time is more precious than money. 

Yeah, yeah, you probably already know that. We’ve all heard that “Time is precious,” but it’s so true! 

You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. You can replace money but you can’t replace lost time. It’s the most precious resource you’ve got!

And when you’re a busy biz owner with a neverending laundry list of stuff to do, making the most of your time is tough. 

So right here, right now, we’re going to talk about some of the best productivity tips for business owners, so you don’t constantly feel overwhelmed (or spiral into burnout).


Productivity Tip #1: Use the Pomodoro Technique

If you’re a parent, you know kids have absolutely no concept of time. They have no clue what the heck you mean when you say “Just give me a few minutes.” And honestly? Sometimes I don’t know if adults do either (at least, not me!).

That’s why I love using the Pomodoro Technique. Because I can sit and tell myself to “just work on this for a few minutes” all day long, but when I’m in the middle of working, it’s hard to conceptualize how long “a few minutes” really is

But using the Pomodoro Technique means you can be dialed in, heads down, and focused for about 25 minutes before you come up for air in a breezy little five-minute break. Then, rinse and repeat.

No getting up to pet the dogs, no bathroom breaks, or snacks. Those 25 minutes are dedicated to pure focus. 


Productivity Tip #2: Use The Big Three (or Big Two)

Everybody and their mothers talk about having a Big Three. It’s essentially just having three things on your to-do list each day. 

But three is a lot. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a hard time getting three things done in a day. So I actually just do two, but I like it better that way because I actually end the day feeling accomplished. 

And then I have one “adulting” task like doing something around the house, so I guess you could say I have a Big Three, but just a Big Two for work. 

I know my focus is short. I have a lot of things going on. And I know that if I keep writing things down that I have to do, I never get to them. I keep pushing them back and I’m going to feel pretty crummy about myself!

To avoid all of that, and actually get stuff done, the Big Two (or three-ish) it is. 


Productivity Tip #3: Fridays Are For Planning 

For years I tried to plan on Sunday nights. I got my cup of tea and sat down for a nice quiet, uninterrupted evening of planning. Then I had kids. And when Sunday night came and the kids went to bed, I just wanted to sit on the couch and veg out. 

So then I thought, why not Monday? I tried to use a good chunk of my time after my brain was rested and before the week started back up again, but that didn’t work either. Because you know how Mondays can go. 

Eventually, I landed on a Friday planning day because I started to notice that by the afternoon, I was ready to check out. 

If no other day of the week worked, and I had to do something, I would make the best use of my time by making Fridays work for me — right before my energy fell off but while my brain was still in work mode. 

Plan for the week ahead

I like to plan ahead — something along the lines of seven days to two weeks. If I have a longer-term focus (but not one big enough to overwhelm me) I can easily see where new ideas fit into the grand scheme of things. 

I have enough structure to stay focused but enough flexibility to roll with the punches. 

It also helps me identify any blocks in my schedule, like teacher workdays when my kids will be home, or might night a babysitter instead. Or planning around date nights to make sure I’m done with work in time to honor that commitment. 


Productivity Tip #4: Track Your Time

*Audible groan* I know. 

This one’s not so fun, but hear me out — this is my favorite productivity tip! 

When I was in my corporate girl era, I tracked and billed my time. Attorneys track and bill their time. Contractors who are assisting you with things in your biz are doing it too. 

This is the only true way to know where your time is going. You’ll start to see things that are taking you way too long to do, where you can cut back, and what’s getting you the most bang for your buck.

And you don’t need fancy tools to help you do it either. They can help, but if you’d rather get your teeth pulled at the dentist than do this, going “pro” may not help. 

Just get simple. Mark your start and stop times on a sticky note for each task.

I challenge you to try time-tracking for at least seven days. This gives you plenty of space to see what patterns have formed in your routine and identify gaps along the way. 


Productivity Tip #5: Time-block Your Schedule 

You’ve probably heard about time blocking before, but I’ve actually switched up my methods here and I’d love to share them with you. 

I try to sit down in the morning before I do anything else and block out my day. I need at least two hours of time to be fully focused. 

During those two hours, I’m doing high-level work with my phone on focus mode, no notifications, nada. Some days I can do more than two hours, but two is the magic number because it’s my batting average! 

And because I get a creative burst of energy in the morning, and then later again in the afternoon, I’ve learned to plan my time around that energy


Productivity Tip #6: Theme Each Day

This may sound a little silly, but really helps me — I theme my days. 

Monday through Saturday, and not just for business stuff either. Why? Because it helps me organize my to-do list and remember to get stuff done. 

  • Mail Back Mondays: Anything that needs to be shipped out, like returns or going to UPS, happens on that day of the week.
  • Text Back Tuesdays: Anyone else have too many unread messages? Whoopsies! 
  • Water Wednesdays: Time to water all the plants!
  • Thank You Note Thursday: Any note writing, not just thank you notes, happens on this day (“Note Thursday” just doesn’t have the same ring to it). 
  • Finance Friday: Anything financial-related in my business, like budgeting and expense reports.
  • Sheets Saturday: Laundry day! Although admittedly, sometimes I skip this if something comes up, but for the most part, I’ll pop a load in the morning and wrap it up before bed, even when me and the fam are running around all day. 

Do you have to do this? No. But the idea is that sometimes productivity tips need to be done in a more fun way kind of keeps the momentum going and helps you remember your to-dos. 


Productivity Tip #7: Join the Art of Efficiency!

All in all, the most important thing to remember is that you have to find things that work for you. There is no one silver bullet to this productivity thing, so don’t be afraid to do some digging and explore the possibilities that might work for you!

And if you want to get a little bit deeper with your time and productivity habits, then hop on over to the waitlist for The Art of Efficiency! This three-stack, three-week system is designed to help you find ways to create your most proactive, sustainable workflow as a creative entrepreneur.

Join the waitlist here!

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7 Productivity Tips for Busy Business Owners | Ashlyn Writes

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Reading time: 6 min. Time is money, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. But as I was journaling the other day, I had a realization — time is more precious than money.  Yeah, yeah, you probably already know that. We’ve all heard that “Time is precious,” but it’s so true!  You can make more money, but you […]

3/31/23

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