As a consultant, a lot of tasks demand your time and energy in an average workday. Emails, phone calls, client communications, and your workload are all fighting for attention. You need to stay in touch with clients but also balance that with your other obligations. And while that can be tricky, it’s not impossible. With a few adjustments to your daily routine, you can get more out of your workday and boost your productivity. These 5 hacks will give you your time, energy, and focus back.
1. Prioritize Your Time with Schedules
It might sound like an obvious rule of thumb to plan your week. But when you optimize your time with scheduling, you have a game plan for your entire week that leaves almost nothing to chance. This time-block style of scheduling prevents bottlenecks in your productivity.
When looking at your workload, prioritize your tasks on their time sensitivity and importance. And then give those projects the attention they deserve. No one likes being busy for the sake of being busy. The next time a client asks about the deadline for a deliverable, you’ll have the exact answer ready with all the details they need.
2. Be Selective About What You Take On
Saying no to projects or opportunities might hurt at first. But being selective and working with intent on what you’re most passionate about leaves room for working on those projects with your full attention. You aren’t saying no to everything, just the extra projects you can’t take on without a slip in your work. You can be more productive by focusing on what’s in front of you – instead of trying to get ahead of all the projects and responsibilities you took on. You’re saying yes without running the risk of burnout from overworking yourself.
3. Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique works to strategically use your energy and time to focus on a task without burning out. The premise is simple: work in 25-minute intervals with 5-minute breaks. Once you’ve spent an hour on a task, take a 15-minute break.
The method of time management works because you’re not trying to rush through your work in one chunk of time. You can reward yourself and refocus during those small breaks. Breaking up a project into much smaller, more manageable pieces makes them easier to handle. You can invest all your energy on the task in front of you.
4. Leverage Your Coworking Space
Coworking spaces offer more than a desk. They come with amenities you can leverage for maximizing your productivity. And a front desk receptionist is one of the best perks offered at coworking spaces.
The front desk can sign for your packages, screen incoming calls, take messages, and welcome visiting clients. Your front desk receptionist is a gatekeeper that eliminates unwanted distractions that you’d have to otherwise handle on your own. They give back the time you might have otherwise wasted with telemarketers, spam callers, and other interruptions. And you can use that time to get back to work and maximize your productivity.
5. Organize Client Communications to Eliminate Redundancies
Redundant client meetings – virtual or in-person – are a huge drain on your time and energy. The time you spend getting everyone on the same page are minutes you could have used discussing new developments on the current project. But you can organize your communications to keep your clients informed of what you’re working on without oversharing.
Some online tools like Basecamp are specifically designed for both internal- and external-facing project management. These platforms allow you to add updates and notes to projects that only your clients will see, or only your team members will see, so you don’t need to comb through your inbox for old email threads.
If you prefer weekly update calls, you can send out clear agendas beforehand and dial in using a conferencing platform with recording and transcription abilities. The platform will record and email a transcribed record of the call so you don’t need to keep the minutes. And once the meeting is over, you can send an abridged version of those minutes with action items for clear and direct communication. You’ll have clear records of everything you discussed and more time in client meetings to discuss new ideas.
You might spend more time than you realize on redundant everyday tasks, especially when you’re running your own consultancy business. Checking email, answering calls, and managing your project pipeline can take hours out of your workweek. But even though these are routine tasks, trying out a few new tools and techniques can drastically cut down the time you spend on them. You’ll maximize your productivity and minimize distractions to get the most out of your day.
Want to streamline your day even more? Check out how you can be more efficient with invoicing on our blog!