Work Smarter, Not Harder in 2020
Every year, we – entrepreneurs, small business owners, coaches – find that word or phrase we’re going to hold on to for the entire year.
This usually starts around the beginning of December….
“What’s your word or 2020?”
When I was first starting my business, I loved the idea of creating a year around one word that would empower me and drive me to FOCUS, BUILD, GROW but in all honesty that didn’t happen.
See the problem with focusing on ONE word is that you negate other aspects of your business and most of us lose a connection with this word shortly after the new year has started.
About two years ago, I started using phrases. These weren’t something that I honed in on specifically but they empowered me no matter the phase my business was in at the time.
And they were allowed to change too.
As business owners, we know that it’s not a straight line but rather a steep and hilly mess at times.
Because of this I decided to create a phrase that would describe my business at that moment while having the same empowering mindset as picking a word. Once that phrase no longer worked, I’d change it so I would continuously be motivated and empowered by what my business was doing at that time, even during the lulls.
In 2020, I decided to really focus on something I say all the time.
“Work smarter, not harder.”
I say this to my friends, clients, coaches, and students alike. It’s something I truly believe.
It doesn’t mean that you negate a work ethic and instead spend all of your time vegging on the couch watching Netflix.
It means don’t make what you do harder or more time consuming than it needs to be.
If you’re creating videos for some Facebook training you’re promoting, record once and upload to several different platforms – Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and even your podcast.
One video you create once is reaching people in multiple places, instead of creating several videos with the same message.
Or when you’re onboarding new clients, have a system in place.
I go over more tips in this video (which I promoted on several channels I want to focus on for 2020)…
For those who enjoy reading, here’s a breakdown of the tips I cover in the video.
Tip #1 – Block scheduling
This helps keep you focused, organized, and helps with productivity.
I haven’t always been a fan of block scheduling but I’ve been doing it regularly for a couple of weeks now and it’s saved myself so much time and has helped me stay more productive. I mix this tip with Tip #6 because I’m a mom and have things to do.
#2 – Batch your content.
Record once and post to several different channels.
This is what I was talking about earlier. Record once and share that to multiple channels
Bonus Tip – If you do Facebook Lives or want to start, you can upload a pre-recorded video as a premiere video and when it is scheduled to post it will play as a “Live” video. Pretty cool, huh?
#3 – Map out your year, it’s not as hard as you think.
I set aside 2 hours to plan out my ENTIRE YEAR. That means 2020 is 90% planned out. I have all the video training I’m sharing, blog posts, and even launches all planned out and organized.
With the help of Batching my Content (Tip #2), I’m able to record a months worth of content (or write it) in a matter of a couple of hours a month.
I have left wiggle room as Facebook Ads are continuously changing, but the main topics that I’m doing training or blog posts on are things people have been struggling with for years.
#4 – Set up a quarterly goal and find someone to hold you accountable.
I love this tip because it really works. I have two business besties that I talk to EVERY DAY.
We know about our families, our likes and dislikes, our personality, and all things business.
They are my go-to ladies on all things business (and sometimes personal). If I want to verbally walk through an idea I have, I leave a Voxer and they give feedback.
But they are also amazing accountability partners.
I tell them what my goals are and they do the same. We devise our plans with each other on how we’re going to achieve that goal and what that accountability check looks like to us.
I also recommend quarterly goals because it helps break the year up and your business can shift pretty drastically overnight so it’s important to keep that wiggle room.
#5 – Utilize a system that works for you and your business
I use several systems depending on what I’m doing.
Mapping out a sales funnel and want it to also run numbers? I use Geru.
Have a new client that needs to be onboarded? Use Trello or Google Drive.
Need a calendar that easily syncs everything together and looks gorgeous, while allowing you to create lists for upcoming launches? That’s Artful Agenda.
Need to create beautiful graphics and pdfs but you’re not a designer? Canva is your answer.
#6 – CEO routine (wake up early, be more productive)
My husband and I started doing this in the beginning of 2019.
I stumbled across this amazing article about what all these top CEOs had in common. They had almost the exact same routine.
Wake up: 5am
Respond to emails
They would have an entire day before the day began for everyone else.
At the time we started this routine, we had a newborn baby at home with two other children who were homeschooled. We felt like we had zero time to ourselves. By the time we’d get the kids to bed each night, we would be zombies. Absolutely exhausted from the long day.
We made this one shift; wake up early.
It was amazing and that’s coming from a NON-morning person. It took a couple of days of forcing ourselves to wake up at that time before it became something we looked forward to.
At night, we would have “clean up” as part of our bedtime routine with the kids. One of us would do the dishes, while the other would help and monitor clean up time, pjs, brush teeth, and book time.
It was a fine tuned system that gave us back our house and our time. We would go to bed around 9:30pm and read for 30 minutes. Then, wake up at 5 am. We were able to do free time in the evening with the kids down by 7:30. In the morning, we’d have another couple of hours of quiet in the house before the kids would wake up.
It’s definitely worth trying for a couple of weeks to see if it’ll work for you.
#7 – Remove apps that distract versus help
Recently I examined my life on a day to day perspective. I really wanted to look at “time wasters”. What I noticed was the amount of time I wasted on my phone and in front of some sort of screen.
I never really was this big of an app user but as life got more crazy I noticed myself turning to scrolling the pages of social media for some sort of escape.
I made the decision to remove certain apps on my phone.
Since I’m a social media agency, I can’t really escape from EVER being on social media but I’ve gotten more strict about the time I allow myself on these platforms. I access them only on desktop at certain times of the day to respond in groups, connect with people, and be part of certain business and mom communities.
In my schedule, I get on for 15 minutes in the morning, respond, schedule posts, etc. Then, I come back for another 15 minutes during naptime in the afternoon and reply to messages, comments, etc. There’s always a line of communication open but now I’ve just put up some barriers because I don’t want this life to take over other aspects of my life and to distract me from my main goal.
#8 – Stop being on call 24/7
I touched on this in the previous tip but it’s incredibly important to set business hours. This helps clients know when you’ll be responding to them.
These hours can look specific to you and your life.
As a homeschooling mom of three who runs a marketing agency, having a schedule was incredibly important. I have time in my morning routine to respond to client emails, messages, and to send updates or reports. Then, I set aside time during naptime in the afternoon to respond to communications again and to schedule strategy calls.
This has helped in so many ways from being more present in my homeschooling time with my kids to having that boundary set for my clients so they know when they’ll hear from me.
Of course, there are the occasional times when I have to work evenings and weekends as well because a client is doing a launch or grand opening or something. But for your main work hours and schedule, I think it’s important to establish those boundaries.
#9 – Put your blinders on
Staying focused in 2020 is going to help you actually reach those goals of yours.
When I say put on your blinders, I mean to rid yourself of the squirrel syndrome. People make claims all day about this proven system and how this course changed their lives, or how doing this strategy will scale their income, and so on.
We are constantly bombarded by all these courses, programs, strategies, tools, etc. They all promise to have the answers and yet sometimes it doesn’t work for someone. Unless you have the time to take that course or your business needs it right now, keep moving past it.
I know it’s hard. Trust me, I get it. I’ve invested in so many courses, tools, and coaching programs and 90% of them did little to nothing to actually help my business grow and instead left me playing catch up so I would meet the goals I originally set for myself.
#10 – Self-care
You need to take care of yourself. How can you expect your business to grow if you’re always running on empty?
Self-care has grown in popularity for a reason. I’m not exaggerating this, you really need to take care of yourself.
Women are less likely to do something for themselves, especially moms. Our day is full with doing things for others that we don’t even consider what we need to do for ourselves and how the day-to-day takes its toll on us.
Whatever you enjoy doing if you had some alone time, do it.
For me, it’s a bath by myself 3-4 nights a week. I grab my book, a glass of wine, and close all the doors. This is after the kids go to bed so the house is quiet. Other times, I get out of the house and get a pedicure and massage.
Set aside a monthly self-care budget, put it on the calendar, and actually do it.
If you really have no idea what to do, get a subscription box. There are some great self-care ones out there.
If you’ve tried any of these tips or have some that may benefit someone else’s life, please share them in the comments.