7 Techniques To Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder (Whether You’re Self Employed or Not)

By MBO Partners | February 11, 2022


When it comes to work, efficiency is key. But sometimes focusing and being completely plugged in is hard. Especially when we are trying to navigate through all of our various roles in life, such as being a parent, a friend, a loving spouse, and a business owner! While there’s not a single secret to being productive each and every moment of the day, we’ve pulled together our top 7 hacks for you to adopt into your work life in order for you to build upon and advance your business into 2022.

1. Prioritize Your Tasks

Prioritization should be simple, right? Sadly it’s not. Breaking down your to-do list can help. However, instead of ranking your list in order of the ‘most important’ or from hard to easy, instead, try making it in the form of building blocks. For instance, rank the task by asking yourself:  What needs to be done first in order to make the day or week better? Figure out what tasks you need to start with, in order to advance forward. Even if that means doing something small, or not as vital, but will help you build towards accomplishing that ‘hardest’ goal. By connecting your steps you’ll have an easier time prioritizing and becoming efficient at the same time.

Need more help? Try our top time management strategies for self-employed workers.

 2. Set Boundaries & Strategically Leverage Do Not Disturb

Sometimes we just need silence. However, in a digital world, we are constantly buzzed, called, or pinged. But carving out time for silence, and no distractions will plunge your productivity level into full gear. Whether it’s getting up early, staying up late, or even turning on the do not disturb setting on during a set period of time during the workday, setting boundaries and carving out work or self-care time is a vital practice. And don’t worry about being rude, you can even customize a response text, or allow calls from only certain people during this time. Trust me, people will wait for your attention. Simply have your automated reply say: “Thanks for contacting me. I’m working on a special project right now, but I’ll get back to you asap.”

3. Take Time for Self-Care As an Independent Professional

If we don’t take care of ourselves, how could we possibly take care of an entire business? And self-care doesn’t always have to mean a luxurious trip to the spa, instead, it could be as simple as treating yourself at your favorite coffee shop, a walk around the block each day to connect with your thoughts, or lighting your favorite candle. Start to notice what makes you happy and identify new hobbies you could adapt to your routine to help you relax. When you’re at your best self mentally, emotionally, and physically you’ll be able to truly be productive.

Want more? Try our top self-care tips for self-employed workers.

 4. Set Healthy Work Habits

No one knows you better than yourself. But sometimes we have to consciously become aware of our actions. Take a few days or weeks to jot down what you notice about yourself. We all have good and bad habits, but being able to identify them and be conscious of them is vital. And once you know your habits, such as you’re more awake in the early hours, or you’re more creative at night, then you can use these habits to your advantage. They can help you plan out your day based on when you know you’ll be acting a certain way. Or you can create a workspace that feeds into your good habits rather than your bad ones. For instance, maybe you need a window to brighten up your workspace, or maybe you have to have snacks nearby so you don’t consistently walk to the kitchen where even more distractions (like those dirty dishes you haven’t washed yet) are there to take you off course.  

Feeling like you haven’t set the best structure? Try these healthy habits for business owners to get back on track.

5. Become A Planner

Remember how easy we had it in school when we were given the syllabus at the start of each session? Unfortunately, as an independent business owner, no one is there to give you the road map for the coming year. This is why you’ve got to take it into your own hands to become an Agenda Master. In order to have a successful business where you reach your goals, you MUST create your own system. And whether that looks like a gorgeous paper planner with all the fancy pens and stickers, a minimalist notepad, or even just a dedicated productivity app for independents. We promise that once you find and adopt one of these ways which work for you, you’ll see an increase in the number of tasks you were able to tackle off that never-ending to-do list.

Try these time management strategies to stay on track!

6. Tie Your Long-Term Goals to the Everyday

reach your goals

What is your end goal? The DREAM! If you don’t know what your ultimate goal is, then trying to create small goals or tackling even larger tasks won’t create a sustaining feeling of accomplishment. You must have an End Goal in order to break down every mini-objective with purpose. And once you identify your long-term goal start thinking about how you can get one step closer to it each and every day. Dreams don’t happen overnight, you’ve got to work for them. 

Create an Entrepreneurial Mindset – here’s how.

7. Define What Productivity Means to You

In an instant gratification world, many have misconceived that productivity means doing more, faster. However, there are many ways to measure productivity. Instead, productivity could mean doing the best job you possibly can, at the right time, with the correct resources, and for the right objectives in order to achieve the greatest outcome. If you begin to view it that way, instead of rushing through every task, you’ll notice how you do not only get the job done, but you get it done with the correct energy behind it and you’ll feel more fulfilled at the end of the day.  

Overall, becoming efficient is something to strive for throughout your life as an independent business owner. There will always be thousands of tasks adding up each and every week and in order to not get overwhelmed we encourage you to add some of these tools to your everyday routine. Test drive them all, or just one or two, and comment below or on our social media pages which one made the most outstanding difference for you. 

Eager to learn more about MBO’s latest research? Click the links below to download our exclusive reports:

  1. State of Independence: In our 11th annual report, we look at how Americans are rethinking what work means and how it defines their lives. With this study, you’ll learn what it’s like to be a part of the independent workforce that’s changing the future of work as we know it.
  2. Digital Nomad Study: The 2021 report covers how economic and social factors, such as COVID-19, led to a seismic shift in remote work and a significant increase in the number of digital nomads who make up the workforce today. Learn why so many people are choosing to pack their bags and work in remote places by downloading the study now.
  3. Creator Economy: Digital content creators are one of the fastest-growing segments of self-employed, independent workers. They’re monetizing their knowledge and they’re leading the change on how the market sees work.
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