Time saving tips for the savvy small business ownerStuart Taverner
We all have those days where you sit down with your morning coffee, read a few emails, then look at the clock and it’s already 2pm. Time just slips away from us, and for business owners, this happens far too often. Unfortunately you can’t add more hours to the day, so here are our tips on time saving for business owners.
Planning, preparing, and organising your day helps map out what needs to be done, when, and by who. Scheduling your day will not only keep you on track, but it allows you to set time for personal activities such as exercise, social events, and spending time with the family.
You can download free schedule templates from Microsoft here to help you get started.
When it comes to mapping out your day, set specific times to answer emails, make calls and check social media. That way you won’t be tempted to constantly be checking your phone or refreshing your notifications. Batching tasks into blocks of times, such as responding to all your emails at once, not only improves concentration, but you also don’t waste time going back and forth with the recipient.
If you’re someone who gets lost in their work, or loses track of time, setting reminders or alarms is a great way to stick to your schedule.
When you are short on time and have 100 things on your to do list, choosing the easiest task to complete sounds like a good idea. But it might not be the most important thing on there. Create a list of all the tasks you have to complete for the week. Then organise the list by highest, to lowest priority. Next, work out realistically how long it will take for each task to be completed, and organise your week based off your findings.
Delegating responsibilities is a must for small business owners. However, as the captain of the ship, business owners can find it difficult to let someone else steer. Being able to delegate between a team or colleague can reduce stress, increase productivity, and save time. You can’t- and shouldn’t, do it all.
Outsourcing for things such as marketing or distribution, is another tactic to save time and resources. By outsourcing, you can put your focus and efforts to other tasks, while letting the experts work their magic.
Many small business owners are extremely hard workers with ‘do it yourself’ mentalities. It’s a good trait, but doing everything is a lot of work, and extremely time consuming. If you are completing a task more than once, more than likely, it can be automated. Paying bills for example, you can set up automatic payments for recurring costs.
You can also look at where software can help you maximise output for minimum effort. A great example is setting up bank feeds within your accounting software. This can cut down the time spent on your end of month bank reconciliation dramatically, not to mention saying goodbye to hours of data entry.
Interested? Learn about bank feeds with Cashflow Manager.
When it comes to the biggest distraction at work, the mobile phone takes the cake. According to a study by RescueTime, the average person checks their phone 58 times a day (30 within working hours). That’s an average of 3hrs and 15minutes! Yes, you might check your emails, calendar and make business calls on it. But most of the time, scrolling through social media, the news and using non work-related apps is how we spend a majority of that time.
If this is something you are guilty of, try minimising the amount of time you are on your phone. This can be done by answering your emails and making those business calls in the designated time on your schedule.
Setting due dates is a great of combatting distractions by staying focussed. As a business owner, usually you are the one handing out deadlines to your employee’s projects or assignments. But are you doing the same for yourself? Setting due dates can reduce time spent on projects, saving time for other tasks.
Implementing just one or two of these tips can help you eliminate distractions, improve efficiency, reduce stress, and hopefully free up some spare time during your workday. A lot can be achieved if you work smarter, not harder.