No matter how motivated, focused, or hardworking you are, it’s common to feel like there are not enough hours in the workday. As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate and it is important to use your time wisely. Here are six ways that you can save time, be more productive, and prevent burnout.
Set goals and create a schedule
Begin your workday by writing out a detailed to-do list of the tasks you wish to accomplish. From there, create a schedule of when you will accomplish each item on your list. We recommend scheduling the top priorities, urgent matters, and most challenging tasks in the morning. This is when your brain is the sharpest, and there are likely to be fewer distractions.
Closeout those email and social media tabs
A survey found that people spend an average of 352 minutes (about five hours and 52 minutes) checking emails each workday. Over two hours were spent each day on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. As you can see, spending all this time on email and social media leaves little time to get work done. Watching new emails and social media notifications come through is a major distraction. We recommend clicking the “x” on these browser tabs and only checking them at designated times.
In addition to checking emails and social media, avoiding other common distractions will help you save more time. Turn off the TV and avoid chatty co-workers when there is work to be done. If you are in charge of answering your small business’ phone calls, you’re also likely losing a lot of time. Think about how many wrong numbers, telemarketers, and junk calls you to deal with on a weekly basis. This time adds up and can be costing you lots of money. We recommend either hiring a receptionist or partnering with a call answering service to free you up for more important tasks.
If researching a project while responding to emails while also managing a constantly ringing phone sounds familiar, it might be time to slow down. Multitasking can sound like a time-saver, but it actually decreases productivity and increases errors. It is much more effective to focus on one task, finish it and then move on.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
We realize that there are going to be some tasks that only you have the skills, knowledge, or credentials to complete. For all the other tasks, delegate. Bookkeeping, data entry, customer service, IT support, and marketing are all simple tasks that small business owners can easily delegate without spending a fortune.
Take breaks throughout the day
It may not seem like taking breaks can save you time, but they actually make you more productive in the long run. Lunch breaks, as well as several short breaks throughout the day, will reduce fatigue and help your brain understand and retain new information.