Owning your own business is a lot of work, and despite your best efforts at adding in that extra hour to the day or the much desired day to the week, the attempts thus far have been futile. While adding more time to your day may not be possible, there are plenty of ways you can increase the efficiency with which you use the time you have.
Here are twelve tips and tricks that can help you capitalize on those 1440 minutes in a day and make your life just a bit easier:
1. Make a Plan.
The better prepared you are for what’s to come, the more efficient you’ll be at managing the predictable tasks that accompany your time. The more efficiently you are at managing those tasks, the more time you’ll have to deal with the curve balls that come your way.
2. Use a Project Management Tool.
Some people are great at penciling in and updating tasks in a traditional planner, but that’s not the case for everyone. A project management tool like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp can make life a lot easier by giving you a visual reference and a digital log for that plan you created. You’ll also mitigate the risk of oversights by having a platform that can remind you of upcoming deadlines and meetings.
3. Automate Tasks.
Payroll, invoicing, and expense tracking are all tasks that can be automated with the right automation tools, platforms, and apps, and many of these tools are affordable if not free (up to a point). If you can use technology to eliminate time consuming tasks like processing payroll, then it’s in your best interest to do so.
4. Select Apps that Offer Integration.
Today, many of the apps we use to simplify our business processes (HR, project management, scheduling, payroll, invoicing) easily integrate with each other. For example, ADP integrates with Quickbooks, meaning data can easily and quickly be transferred from one to the other. As you select apps and software to use in your business, keep an eye out for integration capabilities; they can lead to some significant time saving opportunities.
5. Select Apps That are Available on Multiple Devices.
In addition to integrating capabilities, many of today’s business management apps are also available across multiple devices, meaning you can start something on your desktop, tweak it on your phone, and send it to a colleague or client from your tablet. The freedom to seamlessly pick up where you left off can add some substantial time back to your day.
6. Schedule Time to Manage Your Email.
Depending on the size of your inbox, checking mail can quickly turn from a 5 minute task to a 3 hour expedition that leads you down a complex system of rabbit holes. Instead of checking it every time you get a notification, schedule a block of time to manage your mail. When that time is up, unless something is absolutely pressing, move on to your next task.
7. Take Advantage of Mobile Apps.
Many business owners find that they’re constantly on the go, but being on the go doesn’t need to impede upon progress. From business related tasks to personal life management, many of today’s tasks can be completed right from the palm of your hand. Completing both personal and professional tasks from available apps frees up time in all aspects of your busy day.
8. Make the Most of “In-Between” Time.
Activities like driving or exercising aren’t necessarily representative of the best time to get work done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of them when appropriate. Brainstorming, planning, or mentally working out a problem are all things you can do on the go. Need to keep track of your thoughts? Use your phone (or a good ol’ fashion tape recorder) to record all those brilliant thoughts you have while commuting to and from work or burning off some calories.
9. Schedule “Me” Time.
Yes, there are plenty of hours in the day in which you can work or think about work, but making it a top priority every waking minute of the day is a dangerous habit to fall into. Not giving yourself time to decompress or enjoy life will lead to a quick burn out. If you’re foggy, tired, overworked, or significantly stressed due to a lack of down time, your projects and tasks will suffer, and you’ll end up wasting far more time than you would have if you just took those few hours to clear your head.
10. Factor in Some Buffer Time.
Yes, planning is essential to any attempt at saving time, but that doesn’t mean every single minute of the day needs to be actively accounted for. Buffer time allows you to compensate for the unexpected without impeding on the expected.
11. Make Lists.
Life’s like one big trip the grocery store. If you have a list, you won’t forget that important ingredient or essential commodity. Without a list, well, you’ll spend half your day retracing your steps, waiting in line, navigating traffic, and desperately trying to make up for the time you lost and the tasks you forgot.
12. Break Things Down into Manageable Tasks.
Big tasks are often complex in nature and have many moving parts. If you know you have a big project coming up, a product roll out or new marketing campaign, for example, break the task up into more manageable pieces, and don’t be afraid to delegate. Not only will this help you stay on track, but it will make it seem like you’re making progress as opposed to suffocating under the weight of one massive to-do.
It may not always feel like you have the power to free from the shackles of time, but with some careful planning, useful technology, and some good habits, you’ll be able to take back your day. Have a time-saving tip you can’t make it without? Let us know!