When you are running a business, be it big or small, if there’s one thing you always need more of, it’s time. You need more time to promote, to create, to design and to manage. You need more time to help you to achieve a better work-life balance and not let your business and work life take over. You need the time to think about your decisions and do things at your own pace.
But, time is the one thing that you can’t have more of. However much you may long for that 25th hour to do everything you need to, to enjoy it and to get some rest, it will not come. So, instead, you need to find ways to save yourself time.
Saving time with the day to day workings of your business means that you will have more of the precious time to market and sell yourself. To bring in new clients and to plan for the future. And even better, time to spend with your family, celebrating your success.
There are many ways that you can save time. Some will shave a few minutes off your week and others could quickly create spare hours in your day. Either way, it all adds up.
Stick to the Two Minute Rule
When you’ve got a neat and tidy plan for the day and a to-do list you are slowly working through and something crops up, what do you do? Well, it should depend on the job. If it’s going to take up a lot of your time and derail your plan for the day, add it to your to-do list. Either find somewhere to fit it in, add it to the end of your day or put it on tomorrow’s list, depending on its urgency.
However, if it’s something that you can do in less than two minutes, get it done as soon as you can and then forget about it and return to your list.
Schedule 30 Minute Meetings
Do you often find that your meetings run on for much longer than anticipated when everyone starts chatting and coming forward with their problems? This is usually because meetings aren’t well planned and scheduled.
Don’t be vague. Set aside 30 minutes for all of your meetings. It’s very rare that you’d need any longer. Then, write out a plan and stick to it. Make sure your meetings run to time and don’t go over unless it’s essential. This can save you time, help you increase productivity and even save money if you are paying staff extra for their time.
Emails are an excellent form of communication. Set up an email signature including all of your contact details, such as your social media profiles so that you never need to waste time adding them.
Communicating via email means that there is always a record of everything you’ve sent and received. A lot of time can be saved not searching for past conversations and records that you’ve lost.
Cut Time Scheduling
Preparing staff schedules can be exceptionally time-consuming, especially if you’ve got a large team full of people with requests and demands. Use tools like these from getsling.com to save yourself time scheduling and keep your team happy.
Using scheduling tools will make it easier to be flexible with your staff, see patterns and mistakes and generally keep everyone happy. All while saving yourself time and making your own job considerably easier.
Keep Things Tidy
Sorting through clutter and mess countless times a day can add hours to your week. Not to mention the stress and frustration it can cause. Keeping your office neat and well organized can help you to save time throughout the day. If you’ve got a smaller office, you may need to be clever with your storage, but it’s still possible to ditch the clutter.
You should also keep your digital office free from mess. Keep everything saved into tidy, clearly named folders, keep your desktop clean and tidy and make sure you’ve got a system that works for you.
Cut the Chat
Chatting around the water cooler is a leading cause of wasted time in the office. Try to keep talking to a minimum. Have regular, scheduled coffee breaks to give yourself and your staff a chance to chat and catch up with colleagues, but cut the chatter the rest of the time.
Remember, it’s important to set a good example. If your staff see you chatting and gossiping with colleagues and clients, they are likely to think it’s ok to do the same.
Set Aside 10 Minutes for Admin
When you are busy with the day to day running of your business, a lot of the smaller, boring jobs get forgotten. Then, suddenly at the end of the month, you need a day to sort out all of your filing, fill in cash flow spreadsheets and generally organize your admin. Instead of letting it build up and get out of control, set aside 10 minutes at the end of every day to do any paperwork you have to do.
When it comes to organizing your time it’s essential that you prioritize. Both in terms of what needs doing first and what will take the longest. Make sure anything that needs doing that day gets done first, and leave anything less critical for later.
Break Down Tasks
Large tasks can seem overwhelming. Being daunted by what you’ve got to do, can lead to procrastination and putting things off. So, instead of feeling stressed out and avoiding the big jobs, break them down into smaller tasks. Look at what needs to be done and write a separate to-do list, breaking it down into much smaller parts. Tick off whatever you’ve done as soon as it’s out of the way and your big scary task will suddenly start to look much smaller and more manageable.
When it comes to day to day tasks, time yourself. You could even set yourself goals and try to beat yesterday’s times. Just make sure you don’t end up rushing and not giving jobs the focus they need to be done well. It’s no good saving time if you end up having to do things twice to rectify mistakes.
One reason for going over deadlines and taking longer to complete work than planned is being unrealistic with your targets in the first place. Trying to save time is fantastic, but if you aren’t realistic, you could end up making unreachable promises and getting yourself into trouble. This can lead to a loss of earnings and trust from customers and clients.
Set realistic targets and give yourself a sensible time frame to get things done.
If you want your staff to save time, give them clear deadlines. If they’ve got nothing to aim for, they may not push themselves. Having targets to hit can help to drive them forward and give them a boost.
Caffeine may seem like the answer to saving time and working faster, but it often has an adverse effect. Yes, there’s a quick high, and you might get half an hour where you can work more quickly. But, then there will be a crash. You’ll be left feeling sluggish and unmotivated. Switch to decaf coffee and encourage your staff to drink plenty of water and snack on energy-boosting fruit to boost their productivity.
Keep Things Bright
A dull, dark office and workspace can also leave people feeling sluggish and unmotivated. Try to get plenty of natural light and keep your walls bright to boost mood and help everyone stay alert and fresh. Even at the end of a long day.
If you want to save time you need to make sure your systems and technology is up to date. Think of your phone and computer at home, without updates they couldn’t do their best. It’s the same with technology at work. Your computers and machinery should be updated and maintained regularly.
Now so much business is done online, you can schedule a lot of tasks. Sit down at the start of every week and automate any website updates, social media posts, email newsletters and anything else you can think of. This can have you a lot of time and make your job much more manageable.
One way to inspire your staff to work faster is with incentives and rewards, like these https://www.fastcompany.com/3050833/five-employee-incentives-that-actually-work. Big bonuses are great, but if you can’t afford to spend so much, think of other ways to treat your staff. This could be something like the first choice for overtime, an extra tea break or an extra holiday hour later in the year.
Saving time can be a fantastic thing, which can help you to relax, unwind and take enjoyment from the success of your business. Having more time means you can learn more and find even better ways to manage your company and refine your operations. Just make sure you use some of these extra hours in your day to have some fun.