Do you ever find there’s not enough time to get everything done?
We all appreciate time is finite, and in business one of the biggest complaints/excuses I hear is there is never enough time.
So how can we generate more time?
Here are my ten tips for saving time.
1) Do not carry a mobile phone or if you do carry one don’t give anyone your number other than your office and loved ones for emergencies. This won’t always be possible, for instance if you’re the only person in your business then you can’t do this. But if you have an office and someone who can take a message then why not?
Why do you want a call when you are doing an important piece of work or are in a meeting with an important customer? Why let your mobile phone run your life? Every distraction leads to a loss in time as you try to get back to the point where you were interrupted.
2) If you don’t let your mobile run your life do you let email or social media run it? Do you obsessively check your email every five minutes? My advice is do not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night, and only check your email at specific times during the day. I strongly recommend not checking your email until at least 10 o’clock- “batch” and check at set times only. That way you give yourself a couple of hours to deal with your priorities before picking up your emails.
The problem with emails is that someone else then hijacks your day as you feel the necessity to respond to problems quickly. Also, unless you are properly working don’t check your emails at all over the weekend. Chances are if there is a problem you won’t be able to deal with it until Monday and the sender won’t expect a response until then. You will only spend all weekend thinking about the problem.
In respect of social media unless it genuinely brings in good business, ban it from your office and from your work day. Social media absorbs time and needs to be checked. If you have to use it for marketing consider Hootsuite so that you can block time out to work purely on social media.
3) Prioritise your ‘to do’ list and eliminate the unimportant- basically anything which does not align with your business goals. Every time you go back to an idea, a thought or a plan you add time to your day. Here is a great tip from Warren Buffet on how he became successful despite numerous demands on his time:
a. Regularly write all your ideas, thoughts and plans on paper.
b. Circle 3 items which will make the greatest impact.
c. Throw away all the other ideas, thoughts and plans.
If you do this regularly you will be surprised at how few of the old ideas reappear. Try it – you will be surprised at how effective it can be!
4) Do not answer calls from an unrecognised phone number. Probability is it will be someone trying to sell you something! This is why having a receptionist to filter your calls is so important. If you don’t have one consider an outsourced telephone answering service.
5) When you meet with people stick to the point and don’t get carried away rambling on. Deal with the business in hand and move on. Similarly do not let other people (suppliers, employees and customers) ramble on either.
6) Do not agree a meeting unless you have a clear agenda and an end time in mind.
7) Do not over-communicate with low profit, high maintenance customers. Spend your valuable time dealing with your best customers and the issues where you can bring real value.
8) Make yourself unavailable. Block time out in your diary so that you can carry out deep work. Check out the book “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. This book is about the science of productivity. Cal argues the best way to achieve more is by working deeply, i.e. working in a state of high concentration, without distractions, on a single task.
Key to this is building an environment where there are no distractions.
In this environment your productivity levels will greatly increase, allowing you to get far more done than you thought possible.
9) Delegate or outsource. I mentioned in 4) above, the idea of outsourcing your telephone answering. This is just the start. Should you be doing the book-keeping, the marketing, production etc…? Value your time.
How much could you earn per hour by doing the work you should be doing. Break your role down into its constituent parts, work out what you could earn by doing the right type of tasks and then look at all the areas where the cost of employing someone or outsourcing is significantly less.
If you can earn £100 per hour why do book-keeping which could be outsourced for say £45 per hour, and perhaps the bookkeeper would do the work twice as fast as you!!
10) Finally automation. With the advance in technology there are hundreds of time saving solutions available to you. Talk to us about cloud systems. This isn’t just about book-keeping but about the whole way you go about business.
If you have a CRM system, send quotes to clients, generate work orders, stock requests, billing and credit control and are using several systems then talk to us about integrating everything to cut out duplication of effort and speed up all the processes. Xero cloud accounting software has over 800 time saving apps which are transforming businesses and generating huge time savings.
These are my top ten tips. Some are controversial but I’m confident that all can be applied to some degree to every business person.
I’m personally working on all the above with varying degrees of success. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Let me know if any of this resonates with you and if you have any queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org