“Time is money” never really meant anything to me until I became a teacherpreneur. Learning how to budget my time efficiently has been one of the most monumental gifts I’ve given my business. And my bank account! Listen as I share my 10 favorite time savers. And you can thank me later 😉
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Top Time Savers for My TpT Business
Hello there, my friends and welcome to another episode of the School of Sellers podcast. If you are in work mode this week, then I have a super useful and quick episode to share with you today. And I am going to be giving you guys some ideas for my favorite time saving hacks. These will be things that can help you in your personal and business life. And some of these are little minor adjustments I’ve made to the way I’ve worked. Others are a little more major. So I hope that you can take away at least one tip from today’s episode. I want you to go into the new year working smarter and not harder.
Time Saver #1: Front Load Your Week
The first time saving hack that I have started this year brand new is the simple concept of front loading my week. So now I sit down to plan my week out and decide what needs to be done throughout the entire work week both at home and in my business. I do my best to put as many tasks on my Monday schedule as possible. And a lot of times these are also the undesirable tasks.
If I have a big project due, for example, some of these things require a lot of brain power and a lot of focus. So I like to get these projects done at the beginning of the week so that way they are off my to-do list and not hanging over my head. These things also might include undesirable tasks at home. Like if there is an appointment I need to schedule, I always try to do it at the beginning of the week.
Why I’m Loving It
The reason for this is that I feel like by getting as many things done as possible on the very first day of your week, you’re not only obviously getting things off of your to-do list, but you’re also giving your brain that peace of mind that the big things have already gotten done so it puts less pressure on you as you continue the rest of your week.
I’ve also found that by front loading my schedule, it takes care of a lot of the impromptu things that arise that we can’t necessarily plan for. So things at my children’s school, my kids getting sick which seems to be happening weekly at this point. It’s nice to feel like you’ve at least gotten things accomplished even if it turns out that you might not get a whole lot of work done the rest of the week. I’ve also been trying to give myself Fridays “off” as much as possible lately.
I don’t take them completely off, but I leave them wide open usually so that I can spend the day working on any creative projects that I didn’t get to throughout the week. So maybe the majority of my week was focused on business tasks. Friday is wide open so that I can work on a new product. Maybe I’m going to fool around in Canva for a while, making social media posts, things like that. Front loading just makes the Fridays a little more possible every single week.
Time Saver #2: The Power of Power Hours
My second time saving hack, and you guys have heard me talk about it countless times before, is the power hour. I am obsessed with power hours. And I do them by myself for my TpT business. I also do them with Team SOS from time to time when we are trying to tackle certain tasks for School of Sellers. And this is how it works. You set the timer for an hour. Usually, when we do it we are on Zoom, and we kind of just chat for a minute and say what we’re going to be doing during that hour and state our intentions for accountability’s sake. And then we work for an hour.
Sometimes we have a timer that will remind us the halfway point. Sometimes we just work straight through the hour. And we don’t talk. We don’t have our cameras on. We are simply just working, but we are there, and we know the other people who are there are working too. So there’s just this bizarre, amazing level of accountability that happens when you start doing power hours.
I’m extra excited about power hours because this is going to be one of the things we do twice a month when Ignite opens in January. It’s our work club for TpT sellers. And I am so excited to see what magic can happen when we are all doing work together during those power hours. So if you haven’t given your power hour a shot yet, this is a great thing to try over break. It’s a great thing to test out with some of your TpT friends or maybe even your mastermind group. It’s just a really nice way to feel like you’re taking action instead of always just talking about doing things.
Time Saver #3: Get Things Organized Beforehand
My third time saving hack is also kind of a power hour but not in the traditional sense. I’ve already talked about the ways that I love to front load my schedule for the week, but I also enjoy taking an hour out of every single week to sit down with my planner, with my Trello boards, with my Airtable, with my Google Calendar, all of the good things and think about what really needs to be done that week.
It doesn’t always take an hour, but there’s something about spending a solid 30 minutes at least every Sunday or Monday and just sitting down and figuring out what needs done. And even though you’re taking time to do this, it’s going to save you time in the long run because figuring out what needs to be done is more than half the battle.
Knowing What You Need to Do Ahead of Time = Game Changer
Think about how much time you waste when you sit down to work. Sometimes it takes you 10 minutes to just get organized and even to figure out what the heck you’re going to work on. That eliminates the decision fatigue when you take some intentional time every single week to plan out your week. It doesn’t even have to be fancy. Just scribbling down sometimes.
On my weeks where I’m like the least prepared, I will take a scrap piece of paper. And I will write all of the days of the week. I scribble whatever comes to mind that needs to be done every single day, and that will be my list for the week. It’s still better than nothing. So if you want start small, start casual, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Time Saver #4: Use File Naming Conventions
My next time saving hack for you is to find yourself a naming mechanism that you love that you can remember that you can use again and again and again with your products, with your blog posts. Whenever it comes to naming files, it’s extremely important to use the same structure of your file names over and over. I’ll give you an exact example about what I do. So I have in the past used a code for my blog posts, my products. And I would simply code them, for example, my blog posts start with 1b, then 2b, 3b, 4b, 5b and so on. And attaching a unique code to my products allowed me to search my products more easily on my computer. Because you know how it goes.
Once you start making a product line, it seems like all of the product titles have the same words in the title so it gets really hard to search things on your computer. So I started attaching a unique code to all of my assets for my business.
How It Works
However, if you are not using a code, and I don’t use a code for everything, I like to think about my naming mechanisms, my naming systems for my files as being the most general to the most specific information. So for example, since I have two businesses, TpT and School of Sellers, all of my file names start with either TpT or SOS. And then I will do an underscore followed by the next general term.
So if it’s a product, I will usually include TpT underscore product name or product line name and then underscore and then I will include the exact subtopic. Because a lot of times if it’s a product line, it’s a bigger name. And then the actual topic of that specific item underscore either my name Erin Waters or the date it was last updated. It honestly depends on what I’m naming. But I like thinking about it in terms of broad to specific. So if you don’t have a uniform way of naming your files, I highly recommend it.
It honestly doesn’t matter what you do as long as it makes sense to you. It should also be a system that you could confidently pass off to other people in the future because hopefully, one day down the road, you will be handing it off to people that you hire. So the reason behind doing this is because you spend so much unnecessary time searching for files again and again and again. And of course, it’s only a few seconds here and there, but it truly, truly adds up and it becomes so frustrating too. So once you finally get the hang of how you’re naming your stuff, it’s going to change your life.
Time Saver #5: Batch Please
Next on my list of time saving hacks that I’m thankful for is batching. Batching is my one true business love. It has saved me hours upon hours and probably a lot of brain cells in the process. If you’re not familiar with batching, it’s essentially taking a group of similar tasks and doing them in one batch or one session rather than having to tackle those same tasks every single day. So let’s say as an example, creating social media posts. Let’s say that you are in the habit of creating an image and posting it every single day. Every single day you choose a photo to share, you write the caption, you schedule it, and it posts. If you’re batching, it’s going to look like this.
You will sit down maybe one day a month or one day a week, and you will create all of the images, all of the text, all of the hashtags, and do all of your scheduling in one sitting or at least maybe more than one sitting. But the idea is to get all of your stuff scheduled and created at once rather than stretching it out across every single day. So batching is just purely magical if you ask me. And my favorite thing to batch is a combination of things, blog posts, social media content, emails.
Batching with Accountability is Even Better!
I do it all in one giant batching session which is what I teach inside the Finishing Framework. But it’s really fun because we do it in a large group now for accountability’s sake. So I mean it’s still work and it’s still hard, but there’s something really cool about getting months of work and content done especially when you’re doing it with friends. So batching, highly recommend.
Again, start small if you’ve never batched before. See how it feels to batch a week’s worth of something. And then you can kind of see how it feels and go from there and build up. I’m at the point now where I batch all of my content quarterly. I have weekly content going out. So that’s quite a lot of content. But it’s a really great feeling once it’s all done and I don’t have to worry about it for literally months.
Time Saver #6: Yearly Business Planning
The next thing you can do to save yourself major time in your business is to do yearly business planning. And I know when I say yearly business planning, a lot of people are probably like, how the heck can you plan out your entire business for the whole entire year? And the answer is that you can’t 100%, but you can do a pretty darn good job. If you know your business well enough and you know what needs to be done and what’s important in your business and what’s not important in your business, it gets pretty easy to figure out and to anticipate what might need to happen in your business over the next year. And I enjoy kind of mapping out all 12 months.
What I do is I take a look at what performed well in the last year content-wise, product-wise, everything under the sun. I try to take away some things that really worked that I want to continue doing in my business. I also try to identify some things that really didn’t work, that I want to stop doing in the next year. Then see how that goes for my business. Based on those findings, I create a to-do list for every single month of the year, and I also create a content plan for every month.
Creating a Content Plan
So let’s talk about the content plan first. On my content plan, I think of the blog post I want to post every single week that month. I think about the types of reels or Instagram posts that I might want to create for our social media accounts that month. And then I also think about what emails I might be sending. Maybe it’s an email I sent at the same time last year that did really, really well. And I’m going to just resend that same email maybe with a different subject line.
This is a spot where I can kind of sit down and think about what I need to be talking to my audience about this month. I can also use my other content plans to kind of inform what my email plan looks like. So it really all builds on each other. But it feels really good to come up with a tentative plan for what you’re going to be creating in your business every single month. And if it changes, it changes.
I’m Happy with 80% Staying the Same
But I find that usually about 80% of my plans stick, and I would much rather have 80% of my year planned than nothing. Then my monthly to-do list is going to be subject to change as well. But I really think that it’s possible to take a look at the recurring tasks in your business and see what you’re already doing. You already know what you’re responsible for doing every single day, every week, every month. So that’s not going to change in the new year.
Like I said, it is fairly doable to predict your year. So if you’re not used to planning your business year, give it a shot. It’s a fun thing to do over winter break, maybe even Thanksgiving break. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the clarity it gives you and also the time it’s going to save you overall throughout next year.
Time Saver #7: Repurposing with Purpose
And finally, my last tip to offer you as I am thinking about all the time savers that I’m thankful for is the gift of repurposing. When you repurpose, you are simply taking one piece of content and using it somewhere else or for another purpose, the list goes on. But the idea here is that if we stop thinking that we need to create everything from scratch, then we’re going to free up a lot of time in our schedule. I know that repurposing is not a new concept whatsoever. It’s been around for ages and ages. So for the sake of this podcast, I just wanted to share with you my newest way of repurposing. I think that everyone could do this easily, and it’s actually pretty enjoyable if you ask me.
So lately, I have been using my blog post as my starting point, and I am doing my best to turn every single blog post into an idea pin. The pin will be like a step-by-step overview of the tips that I offer in that blog post, which I am then also converting into a carousel post for Instagram. And a lot of times, I use the exact same images, exact same text. Everything is the same. It’s just some slight adjusting in Canva and with the sizing, and then I’m good to go. I’ve really been enjoying doing this, and in the new year, I’m even challenging myself to add reels to that list. So wish me luck.
I would love to hear about ways that you are repurposing. So please feel free to share in our School of Sellers Facebook group your favorite repurposing hack or just time saving hack in general. One of my favorite things about this whole topic is that it seems like there are always new ideas and new techniques to try out. So excited to hear from you guys. Thank you so much for listening today, friends. Again, I’m so, so, so very thankful for you and our School of Sellers community. And I hope that this holiday season finds you somewhat relaxed, well rested, again, eating great food, and spending time with all the people you love. I’ll see you again here next week, same time, same place.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- School of Sellers Facebook group
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