Five time saving tips for entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur can be a bit like raising a child. So many things to worry about, so many decisions and most of all, just not enough time in the day to fit in the luxury of sleep. While we are (mostly) joking about the sleep, it’s true that often your waking hours are just too short to fit in everything you want to accomplish.
If you feel like you’re always playing catch up, you’ll be happy to know there are ways to recoup your precious time. Read on to find out our top five time saving tips to help you make the most of your working hours.
Track how you spend your time
Before you can save time, you need to know exactly what you do with it. If you spend most of your time online, you can use one of the many time tracker tools available to calculate this for you. Programs like Toggl or RescueTime generate reports on what you spend your time doing. With the results you can then eliminate, reduce or optimise the activities that don’t add value. Spending hours writing content for social media only to generate no interest or clicks? Consider hiring a copywriter or social media expert, or cut it out entirely. Only do what matters to your business.
One time saving hack is to offload as many day-to-day tasks as you can to a computer. Applications like IFTTT (If This Then That) allow you to automate repetitive actions like backing up your files to Dropbox. For the remaining tasks, just having to remember what they are can be a challenge. Try using an online checklist tool like Todoist that lets you assign priorities to tasks and set reminders, or a more process oriented system like ProcessSt.
Another way of capturing information is to use software such as Yack.net. This collaboration platform allows all your conversations, both spoken and written, to be stored in one place. This means that finding a key piece of information is just a search away. Having information in written form also leads onto the next time saving tip…
Delegate where you can
There will always be some tasks that don’t need to be done by you, although you might want them to be! One method to assess your priorities is to use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. Based on the (unverified) quotation from the American President, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important”, you can organize all tasks into four categories. These span from urgent and important to not urgent and not important, and suggests that the latter are delegated to other members of staff. If you don’t have a large team, there’s also the option of hiring a virtual personal assistant to undertake some of your administration tasks.
Disconnect to improve focus
Although entrepreneurs often feel they have to be contactable 24/7, on all available devices and platforms, in fact going offline can be more effective. Research has shown that switching between tasks means that you get less done overall, as your concentration is constantly disrupted. It takes time to get up to speed when working on something new, so removing distractions from emails and calls makes you more efficient.
It’s also an idea to adapt your work to the time of day. If you are more of a morning person and feel you can concentrate first thing, try tackling your hardest job before lunchtime. Alternatively if you do your best thinking in the evenings, shift your day to accommodate this.
Disconnect to unfocus
However, having said that, don’t forget to disconnect from work itself from time to time. Constantly being in ‘work mode’ means you can never entirely switch off. This means you’re more likely to be tired out and take longer to finish your to-do list. Go out for a walk at lunchtime or make sure to spend at least an hour a night relaxing. As far as possible, separate your work and home life, and ensure there are boundaries that work can never cross.
Being an entrepreneur you’re always going to be time-pressured. But give the above time saving tips a go and see whether you’re able to reclaim some of your day. The more efficient you are, the more productive and profitable you can be!