Get More Done: Transform Your Workflow with Proven Productivity Hacks

June 19, 2024


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Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working behind the scenes of many successful six and seven figure businesses. I’ve seen it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve learned what it takes to create an empire that doesn’t rise up and rebel on you.

I know I can help you too!

I'm Marta - OBM & systems Strategist

There’s a reason why some entrepreneurs always seem ahead of the game while others struggle to keep up. One secret lies in how they manage their time. These proven productivity hacks have been huge difference makers for me. I hope they’ll do the same for you!

In this post, I’m going to cover some practical strategies to help you master time management and increase productivity including:

  • how implementing project management systems can streamline your operations
  • the benefits of time blocking and day theming to optimize your daily workflow.
  • how to use the Eisenhower Technique to prioritize tasks so that you always know exactly the right thing to work on next

I know… I know…productivity and time management…you either love it (like me!) or you’re already feeling your eyes close as you start to embark on a (well-earned) but ill-advised nap!

If you’ve ever…

  • found yourself hopping from Zoom to Zoom with barely enough time for a bio break, let alone a meal
  • looked up at the end of your work day to find that while you were really busy…none of the important things on your to-do list got done
  • had projects that drag on and on, blowing past their original timelines

If you’re ready to stop being the bottleneck and start getting ahead…then this blog post is for you because once you get past being the bottleneck in your business, things start to look pretty awesome.

Imagine finishing projects not just on time but maybe even early. That feels good, right? And it’s not just about hitting deadlines. Each project that wraps up smoothly is a little win for your team (even if it’s just you!), pumping everyone up and setting a cool vibe for tackling whatever comes next.

With your days organized and your tasks lined up just right, you’ll actually end your weeks feeling like you nailed it. This isn’t about crossing off tasks willy-nilly; it’s about knowing that what you’re doing is genuinely pushing your business forward. And when you log off for the day, you really log off—no more work worries haunting your free time.

Once you stop being the bottleneck, you also start to catch up—and even outpace—your plans. It’s no longer about playing catch-up; it’s about being in the flow. Feeling in control and having space. Yep, that’s as good as it sounds. You’re more in tune with your business and you have the room for new ideas and offers to flow and come to fruition.

Once you figure out how to stop being the bottleneck in your business, the transformation can be pretty game-changing. Just take the story of Sarah, a business coach who was always swamped, feeling like she was constantly running behind.

Sarah used to stack her days with back-to-back client sessions, squeezing in emails and content creation during tiny breaks, which left her exhausted and feeling like she hadn’t actually accomplished much. But everything started to change when I introduced her to the magic of time blocking. She began to carve out specific chunks of her day for different tasks—mornings for client calls, early afternoons for follow-ups, and late afternoons dedicated solely to content creation or strategic planning.

She also got realistic about what she could truly accomplish in the time she had. This meant being honest about how long tasks actually took and not just how long she hoped they would take. She stopped trying to cram a day’s worth of work into a few hours.

With this new approach, Sarah not only finished her days feeling more accomplished but also noticed a serious uptick in her overall productivity. Projects that used to drag out for weeks were getting wrapped up lickety-split. Even better, she started ending her workdays with a clear mind, ready to enjoy her evenings without the cloud of unfinished tasks and 100’s of unread emails hanging over her.

Sarah was a bit of a rebel, so she was a bit leary of implementing these changes, but it didn’t take long for the results to convince her it was worth it. Being more intentional with her time and embracing a more structured day helped Sarah be more present and less distracted in her business and in her home life.

Proven Productivity Hack 1: Use a Project/Task Manager

Don’t worry…I won’t tell you to throw your sticky notes away…how could I??? I love them!

But I will say if you’re managing your business from your email inbox, a pad of sticky notes…or gasp…your memory…it’s time to zhuzh things up a little bit.

If you’re looking for specific recommendations, I recently wrote about my favorite tools/softwares here.

10 Ways a Project Management Systems can help you be more productive

  • Task Prioritization: Use the system to categorize tasks by priority, ensuring that high-impact or time-sensitive activities are addressed first. This is one of the methods you can use to make sure that you’re not just tackling your to-do list, you’re working on the most needle-moving tasks first.

  • Visual Scheduling: For all my visual people 🗺️👀! Utilize calendar and Gantt chart features to visually map out project timelines and deadlines. Be sure to pair this with your own calendar so that you never over book yourself again!

  • Time Tracking: Most people underestimate how long things actually take to do and overestimate how much they can get done in a specific timeframe. ⏱️ Track your time for a few days (or more!) to give you a better idea of how long things take and what’s realistic for you.

  • Automated Reminders and Notifications: 🔔 Set up reminders for upcoming deadlines and notifications for when a task is due. This keeps everyone on track and helps prevent last-minute rushes that can throw everything off track.

  • Resource Allocation: 🛟 This is a lifesaver if you have a team! Use the system to allocate resources effectively, ensuring that no individual or team is overburdened. This can help in balancing workloads and optimizing the overall use of available hours.

  • Integration with Other Tools: 🛠️ Connect the project management system with other tools such as email, cloud storage, and communication platforms. This integration can save time by streamlining workflows and reducing the need to switch between different applications.

  • Templates for Recurring Projects: 📄 Create templates for recurring projects or tasks. This saves time in setup and ensures that all necessary steps are followed each time the project is initiated. (super helpful when you start delegating to a team member!)

  • Collaborative Workspaces: Utilize collaborative features of the system, like shared task lists and discussion boards. This promotes better team coordination and can reduce the time spent on meetings and email exchanges.🥺 Please, please, please stop working out of your email inboxes! It’s so messy and such a waste of time when you have to keep going back and forth to read email threads and responses!🥺

  • Progress Tracking: Regularly review project progress within the system to adjust timelines and priorities as needed. This helps in identifying bottlenecks early and reallocates time resources to maintain momentum. Better still…have a project manager or OBM doing this for you 😉.

  • Reporting and Analytics: Use the reporting tools to analyze time spent on various projects and tasks. This data can be invaluable for refining processes, understanding productivity patterns, and planning future projects more effectively. This might be overkill for you to do a regular basis (unless you have a team and an OBM/Integrator I mentioned above) but try to do this on a quarterly or even annual basis to help you refine your planning process going forward.

Proven Productivity Hack 2: Day Theming or Time Blocking

This is totally a preference thing and you may have to experiment with each one to see which works best for you.

Day Theming is basically just what it sounds like. You set a theme for each day of the week. For example: Monday – Admin + Client Work, Tuesday – Content Creation, Wednesday + Thursdays Call Days, Fridays – Catch Up + Learn Day.

It’s pretty simple, flexible and super effective and easy to shift around if you’re having an off day or two.

Time Blocking is very similar, except you’re doing it on a daily basis instead of weekly.

This works best if you need a little more variety in your day or have bigger chunks of work that need to be spread out over more than one day.

Here’s an example of what that might look like.

Here are 5 Tips to Time Block or Day Theme Effectively

  1. Establish Clear Themes: Choose specific days for specific types of work. For example, Mondays could be for planning and setting up the week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for client meetings or deep work, Thursdays for marketing and content creation, and Fridays for administrative tasks and reviews. This helps create a flowy rythym and reduces some of the friction we sometimes have to just get started.

  2. Use Color Coding: Use different colors for different types of activities in your digital calendar. This visual cue makes it easier to glance at the week ahead and understand what types of activities are coming up, helping you mentally prepare and transition between tasks more smoothly. Also, if you’re anything like me, it just has to look pretty 🎨.

  3. Set Time Limits: Parkinson’s Law amirite???😬 Work expands so as to fill the time available. Set strict start and end times for each time block.

  4. Incorporate Breaks and Buffer Time: Add in breaks and buffer periods within your time blocks. Breaks are crucial for maintaining high levels of productivity and avoiding burnout. Especially for introverts (🙋🏻‍♀️like me!) staring at a block of back to back calls! Buffer time can accommodate overflows or unexpected tasks, reducing stress when things don’t go exactly as planned. Every calendar needs a little white space (even extroverts!).

  5. Review and Adjust Regularly: I used to scoff at the idea of doing a daily/weekly/monthly review. Who’s got the time? But really, it doesn’t have to take long and it’s a game changer! Just take a few minutes at the end of each day, or a little bit of time at the end of the week and ask yourself…What’s working well? What’s not? Take note and make adjustments as needed. This is how you’ll create that ideal day/week/life!

Proven Productivity Hack: The Eisenhower Matrix

If you’ve ever looked at your list of things to do and wondered where the heck to start…this is the tool for you! ClickUp lovers…there’s a template you can use!

Here are 6 Tips on How to Use The Eisenhower Matrix.

  1. Understand the quadrants:
  • Urgent and important: Tasks in this quadrant are urgent and important, requiring immediate attention and action
  • Important but not urgent: These tasks are important but not time-sensitive. They require planning and can be scheduled for later execution
  • Urgent but not important: Tasks here are urgent but contribute little to your long-term goals. Delegating or minimizing time spent on these tasks is advisable
  • Not urgent and not important: These tasks are neither urgent nor important. They often represent distractions and should ideally be minimized or eliminated

2. Daily Planning: Each day do a quick brain dump of everything you need to get done. Then use the template above or grab a piece of paper and pen and draw the 4 quadrants out for yourself.

3. Make Adjustments: As priorities shift, which they often do, be flexible and re-evaluate things and shift your tasks around as needed. What was important and urgent yesterday may not seem so dire today.

4. Use Tools for Support: As mentioned above, ClickUp has a template that helps you integrate this Matrix into your project management system and not only saves paper…but keeps your team updated as things shift around. Its also a good way to document things so you can go back and remember why a decision was made or priority changed.

5. Evaluate and Eliminate: Take a look at those Neither Urgent Nor Important task lists on a regular basis and be honest with yourself. Do they really need to get done?

6. Delegate: If you’re wondering what you should be delegating in your business, the Urgent, Not Important quadrant is your go-to guide for what to offload to a team member.

Anytime you’re implementing new time management techniques (creating any new system or habit), its important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. If these strategies don’t seem to be working right out the gate, consider making a few adjustments to get back on track.

First, be patient with yourself. Adapting new methods takes time and it’s important to give yourself the space and grace to learn and adjust. There will be hiccups along the way. Don’t let that get you down. Reflect on what’s not working and why. Maybe the time blocks are too rigid, or the priorities aren’t quite right. Give yourself permission to tweak things gradually.

Secondly, take enough time to fully implement and experiment with these techniques. It’s not just about getting things set up; it’s about integrating them into your daily habits and routines…I really struggled with this one early on. I would set things up, make it look pretty, and then promptly forget all about it the next day. And then set it all up again in a different set of softwares and systems all over again a few months down the road. Save yourself some time and aggravation and schedule regular check-ins with yourself (and your team!) to assess how well things are going and what tweaks need to be made. Every small iteration brings you one step closer to finding the best workflow for you!

Lastly, if your’e still finding it challenging to make these techniques work for you, consider hiring someone to help. This could be a productivity coach, a business consultant, or even a virtual assistant who specializes in time management. An expert can provide personalized insights and recommendations that are tailored specifically to your needs and challenges. They can also help set up systems, train your team, and provide ongoing support as everyone adjusts to the new methods.

Adopting new productivity techniques is a process that might require several rounds of refinement before you find the perfect fit for your business. With patience, dedication, and possibly some expert help, you can transform these initial stumbling blocks into stepping stones for success.

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Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working behind the scenes of many successful six and seven figure businesses. I’ve seen it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve learned what it takes to create an empire that doesn’t rise up and rebel on you.

I know I can help you too!

I'm Marta - OBM & systems Strategist

I help service-based business owners create successful online businesses.

But not just any old online business. I help people design their dream lifestyle business and then actually CREATE it. Not just dream about it or create a fancy vision board…but BUILD it, LIVE it, MAINTAIN it and GROW it.

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working behind the scenes of many successful six and seven figure businesses. I’ve seen it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve learned what it takes to create an empire that doesn’t rise up and rebel on you.

I’m sure I can help you too!

I am the calm voice of reason that will keep you and your business on track and moving forward...gracefully!

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