One of the best ways to make an immediate impact in your edupreneur business is to take the time to come up with a well thought out time management strategy. So often edupreneurs have an endless to-do list with more ideas, action items, and plans than an entire team could complete let alone a solopreneur on a side hustle.
The first step in setting up an effective time management strategy is to be intentional with your time. As Steven Covey pointed out “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important.” I noticed that I was always checking my email, replying to all of that, then social media and comments and then eventually checking out my to-do list to determine what I wanted to work on for the day. I was continually focusing on what was urgent but not spending near enough time on what was important.
How to design your time management strategy
Determine what is important
The first step in establishing your strategy is to list out your main goals for the week, month and year. This step is crucial because it will determine where you focus your attention throughout the year.
Long-range Yearly Goals
These goals can be more vague and there are going to be less immediately actionable steps but they are still important as they will inform your more detailed goals. For these long-range goals it is important to think about the whole picture and how your edupreneur business will fit into it. How will your family look? What will your income be? Where will the income be coming from? How will you feel? I call these types of goals our vision board goals. I also spend time every morning visualizing these goals and being grateful for achieving them (if that is too woowoo for you at least write them down so you can track your progress towards them).
Mid-range Monthly Goals
With monthly goals you can get a lot more granular. For this step, I took my entire yearly calendar and then broke it down by months. I then took our annual goals, broke them down into milestones and then set a schedule for reaching the milestones. Next, I took into account holidays, tpt sales days, and personal life timing to establish when I wanted to have each milestone completed by. A big reason for breaking all of this down is to make it easier to set up batching and automation schedules (two time management tricks I will discuss later).
Immediate Daily Goals
For daily goals, I tried to figure out what I needed to do each day to meet the monthly goals I established. I tried to figure out what I could do consistently that would help me meet most of the monthly goals and then I made notes if something extra needed to be done on a particular day (prep for site-wide sale or something like that). If you are doing this step correctly some of your goals could surprise you. I originally thought that making new products was by far the best way to increase my income but when I took the time to determine where my income was coming from it became apparent that marketing existing products was way more valuable to my business. So my goal changed from creating X amount of new products per week to creating X number of new video pins and blog posts. This was all to hit the monthly income goal and yearly lifestyle goal.
Okay, you have your goals listed, broken down and a basic idea of what you are going to do each day. Now comes the fun part.
How are you going to get it all done?
The first thing you should do is try to automate as much of your daily to-do list as possible. I talk about Tailwind a lot in the Elite Pinning Course because it has been an absolute game-changer for my automation. Using Tailwind and Smartloop I have been able to schedule all of my Pinterest marketing for the whole year. That means I am pinning every day, for the whole year, including seasonal content at the correct time, without having to do anything! The best part is, now that it is all set up I never have to do it again! We also automated a lot of our email sequences using Convertkit (use this link to receive 100 additional subscribers for free!). With our automated email funnels, we are continually engaging with our email audience without even having to open our laptops!
Some things just can’t be automated or are so time-consuming that they don’t make sense. For me, that was product photos. I realized early on that my products that had actual photos in the preview (rather than digital JPEG versions) sold way better. I could have bought a nice camera, lightbox and printer then learned how to use them and done the product photos myself but it just didn’t t make time sense. Instead, I hired a friend with an art major. Now any time I create a new product I send it over to her, she prints it, photographs it and even makes videos! I now look at every aspect of my business that can’t be automated and ask if it would be worth it to outsource. A lot of times the answer is absolutely yes (especially when you take into account lifestyle goals).
If it can’t be completely automated or outsourced, batching is your best friend. I use batching for just about everything else on my to-do list. Instead of my weekly to-dos saying “post to Instagram” my Monday says “schedule all Bright Futures Instagram posts for the month”. Then Tuesday says something like “schedule all podcast guests for the month”. Focusing on one thing at a time like this has been waaaayyyy better than trying to post to Instagram each day and then reach out to the next podcast guest and then post to Facebook and then do my Tailwind Tribes. I use Buffer to batch schedule all of my social media posts.
For action items that can’t be automated, outsourced or batched I highly recommend a content calendar or to-do list. I use Trello which is free. Do yourself a favor and try to keep this list as small as possible. Every Monday, for example, I have a reminder to submit a featured resource to the TpT newsletter (one day I’ll get selected! 😂 ). Writing blog posts is another example (although I do try to outsource some of those via guest posts). Recording podcasts is another example. If you are going to be working with someone else on these (for example podcast interviews) I recommend using Calendly to help with scheduling.
So there you have it. Taking the time to think about all of this now will absolutely make your life easier and your edupreneur business more productive in the long run.
- Set long, mid and short term goals
- Break goals down into actionable steps and schedule the steps
- Determine if the step can be automated, outsourced, batched or eliminated
- Schedule or set reminders for everything else
Tools I Love
Not set up for Tailwind yet? Use my affiliate link and get your first month free! Using my link will also help support the podcast and blog and I truly appreciate it (the cost is the same to you).
Looking for more goal setting ideas? Make sure to listen to episode 114 where I share my 2020 goals and what I am starting and stopping in 2020.