Like yourself, I have a full plate.
I manage a growing business, promote my company, serve as a director on several organizations, write a monthly life blog, give back to my community, and research new business opportunities.
Yet I still have time to play golf twice a week and spend most of the weekend with my wife, baby, family and friends.
So how do I manage my time and workflow to get the time to enjoy life?
I employ a few things that’s becoming habitual for me.
Here’s what I do:
Develop a Schedule
I develop a realistic schedule that includes plenty of family. Then, I execute my schedule.
If something’s not scheduled, I don’t do it. I don’t compromise, either — unless it’s a family emergency.
It’s hard to not procrastinate sometimes. What has helped me is taking mini-breaks (5-7 mins) between each 30-45 mins stretch.. And I Learned to say No to ensure other things get done on time — which wasn’t and still not easy for me.
Leverage an Assistant
I use an executive assistant. My assistant helps me get things done that I don’t need to do myself. In other words, I delegate.
It takes time to find, hire, train and manage an assistant. But once you do, it’s quite productive. To date, my executive assistant has free up at least 15% of my time (that’s ~1-3 hours a day).
If you are interested in hiring an executive assistant, go create a spreadsheet of everything you do daily. I mean everything. Assign a value to each item.
Next, isolate the activities you have to do yourself. Then farm out the rest to your assistant. It’s that simple. And it works.
Use Productivity Hacks
I use some awesome productivity / time management tools. A few of them are described below, and examples of how I’m using them.
E-mail, Calendars, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, Conferencing, Hangout, Storage Drive in all one platform, anywhere in the world. Everything can be shared, collaborated in real time, and managed delegation.
- My executive assistant helps me schedule calendar (from business to personal life).
- I take photos of business cards of people I meet, and my executive assistant puts it into my contacts along with additional social media research on the contact.
- All my documents can be shared and collaborated in real time – even when writing this article, my editors, assistant can see me writing this in real-time and they can make changes too.
- My calendar is shared with my team, so they know where I am, and how they can reach me.
- All brands assets (logo, templates, graphics) are stored in our drive that my whole team has access to, so they never need to ask anyone for most assets.
- Make FREE Canada and US phone calls with Google Hangout/Voice to any Canadian or US number.
Ever played phone tag trying to set up a meeting? Say good-bye to email and phone tag forever. You need to dedicate at least an hour to set this up so that it fits within your allocated slots in your calendar.
- If I know I need a 15 or 30 min call with someone, I send them the link and have them book it straight in my calendar that is best for them. It will automatically add it to my calendar, and it will send them a calendar invite as well.
- Let’s people book Golf days with me.
Contactually is a web-based contact management tool. It keeps me connected. It tracks my phone calls, texts, and emails.
- I assign people to “buckets.” Then it notifies me when I haven’t spoken to that person in X days based on their bucket (ie. Current clients, past clients, potential clients, investors, governement relations, etc.) and suggests in ways to follow up.
- I can mass send (it sends as individual) to a bucket group. Say I found an article that relates a lot with investment and the market, I can e-mail everyone in my investors bucket and they will get a fully personalized e-mail from me, that is also tracked in my sent folder.
Tired of getting 1000 emails from team members? Slack is like Lync, Skype, Whatsapp on steroids. One communication platform that will help you eliminate all internal emails so you can focus more on your day.
- Everybody on our team is connected on Slack from their desktop, to tablet to mobile phones. We use specific channels so that the topic at hand never gets side tracked.
- Slack also has tons of integrations that allow you to manage and get notifications from different applications such as Trello, Intercom, Google Drive, Hangout, etc. This way, you’ll never have to open up another application.
When the email gets too far down in my inbox, or if I have forgotten to star it, it tends to get lost. However, I also like a very clean inbox and this tools comes in super handy when I need reminders to follow up, or reminders to answer an email later in the day, weeks, or even months. It literally brings the email back into your inbox based on how far you want to set it and has rules like “if no one has responded”.
- When I send quotes / proposals out, and I want to follow up in a week… I’ll send the email, then set the reminder to 1 week and it’ll notify me to follow up only if no one has responded to that email.
- When I know something is important, but not urgent, and I want to respond to them later on in the evening when I have time, I boomerang it to later at 9pm when my kids are asleep, so I can focus on answering it.
- If someone asks me to touch base with them in 3+ months, I will use Boomerang on their email that they sent me, and set it to a date in which it’ll remind me to follow up.
If This, then That — Simple logic programming without coding to help automate simple tasks in life. Works with lots of applications, phones, and household appliances.
- If Missed Call, then Text Message — When I miss a phone call, it automatically text messages the person to not leave a voicemail, and to either Whatsapp me or e-mail me.
- If Thunderstorm/Rain tomorrow, then Alert Me — It connects to the weather network, then notifies me only when it’s going to thunderstorm / shower / rain.
- If within 500m, then Turn on Thermostat — I have the Nest Thermostat, if my phone is within 500m away, it means I’m coming home, so it will automatically set the tempurature to 22 degree for me.
These tools not only save time, they also keep me organized. And when you lead a busy life like I do, that’s key.
If work keeps you from enjoying life, try my three-step approach to managing your workload. It boosts productivity, organizes you, and helps you stay connected.
More important, it frees up time to spend with your family and friends enjoying life.