A key benefit of becoming a freelancer, contractor, or small business owner is that you aren’t subject to your boss’s rules and are free to do as you please. But according to this study, many small business owners work six or more days a week. 

When you’re personally responsible for getting all of the work done, it might seem like your to-do list is endless. To avoid falling behind, make sure you have thought about how to organise your workload.

Let’s discover some tips on how to manage all your tasks:

  • Make a to-do list and prioritise tasks based on importance and urgency
  • Plan your day and week 
  • Make use of tech (link to different valuable apps and websites)
  • Use simple apps to automate financial admin
  • Take time for self-care 

Prioritise tasks based on importance and urgency

You have probably already made a to-do list, but did you think about determining which tasks you should get done first and what can wait? In his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change’, Stephen R Covey, a successful businessman, educator and influential public speaker recommends you categorise tasks based on urgency and importance

Review your to-do list and consider how urgent and important each item is. 

  • Prioritise tasks that are both urgent and important; these should be done first.
  • Schedule uninterrupted time in your calendar for tasks that are important but not urgent. These can wait, but don’t ignore them for too long. 
  • Urgent but unimportant tasks are best to be delegated, if possible. 
  • Tasks that are neither urgent nor important can be removed from your to-do list.

It can be tempting to focus on tasks that are easy to complete instead of those that are important but difficult. You don’t want to take the ‘path of least resistance’ and complete the easy tasks first, as you’ll have less energy left over for the complex but essential tasks.

Avoid falling into the trap of ‘firefighting’, where you focus mainly on urgent tasks. As time-sensitive as they are, urgent tasks might not be the most important in terms of your long term business goals. 

If you want to make sure your business is growing and thriving, it’s best to keep your eye on the big picture and the long term success of your company. Learn more about how to create a long term business plan here.

Plan your day and week

You are your own boss and can play it by ear as much as you like when it comes to planning. But things can get chaotic and stressful if you only rely on improvisation and don’t have a systematic approach to scheduling. Consider this approach instead:

  • Themed days. Dedicate a particular day of the week for a specific category of tasks — for example, Monday for marketing, Tuesday for client meetings and so on. 
  • Schedule a block of time with a specific start and end time for each task. For example, if you dedicate an hour to reply to client emails each morning and night, you can ensure that you’re on top of the communication.
  • Set aside time for breaks. Small breaks can boost your productivity and help you stay healthy. Give yourself a mini rest by taking a walk, talking to a friend or meditating, and you’ll be refreshed and ready to focus again.

Discover this handy guide for more tips on scheduling for small businesses.

Make use of tech

There are lots of handy tools out there that help you stay organised and productive. These tools all have different features, and there’s something for everyone. So check out some of these options and see if they can make your life easier.

  • Todoist is a to-do list and task manager for professionals and small businesses.
  • Countingup automates bookkeeping and financial admin.
  • Calendly makes scheduling meetings a breeze.
  • Upwork helps you outsource some tasks to capable freelancers.

Some of these solutions are also great for outsourcing some of your work. Delegation is the name of the game. No matter how talented and intelligent you are, you can’t do it all. There are only so many hours in a day. Can you afford to outsource some of the tasks so you could focus on growing your business?

Use Countingup to automate financial admin

If you can automate a time-consuming task, do it! The Countingup app is designed to make bookkeeping and tax admin easier for the self-employed and help you run your business more effectively. Countingup has some cutting-edge features:

  • Automatic expense categorisation
  • Receipt capture tools
  • Instant invoicing
  • Profit and loss reports
  • Tax estimates

You can also create and send invoices in seconds, keep tabs on unpaid invoices and instantly share organised bookkeeping data with your accountant without having to worry about inaccuracies or duplications.

Opening a business account is fast, and you get a contactless card, account number and sort code. Automating a colossal task like accounting will save you hours and help you stay on top of your finances.

Take time for self-care

It’s so easy to just focus on everything you need to get done to succeed, especially if your business is having some tough times (find out how to save a struggling business here.) So it might seem like staying in work mode all day is the best strategy. 

But in reality, taking care of your health is vital for the growth and longevity of your business. So switching off from work and spending some time on other areas of your life is more sustainable in the long run.

  • Spend time outdoors
  • Enjoy social activities
  • Get good sleep
  • Be aware of stress and anxiety

These activities help you unwind and reduce your stress levels. When you’re less stressed, you’ll have more energy to focus on developing your business. Have a look here for more handy tips on how to reduce stress.