How to save time at work (24 hacks for busy business owners)
When you’re a business owner it can often feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done, and you may often find yourself wondering how to save time at work.
Juggling a wide variety of tasks, attending meetings and overseeing the general running of the business can be overwhelming to say the least.
That’s why time management is so important. But, with so many distractions it’s often easier said than done.
So, here are 24 time-saving hacks for busy business owners – that’s one for every hour of the day!
1. Break down tasks into more manageable chunks
When you have a number of large tasks to tackle it can be overwhelming. Instead break each of them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Each little accomplishment is then one step closer to completing the mammoth task ahead of you.
Some business owners find delegation difficult because they want to oversee everything. But, remember that you can’t do everything. By delegating tasks to employees that you can trust you’ll know the job is in safe hands and will free up your time for other pressing issues.
Whether it’s your social media, blogging or invoicing that’s clogging up your working day, you may be able to automate the process to save some time.
If you’re finding there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, and your internal resource is stretched, you may benefit from outsourcing some of your key business tasks to the experts. They’ll save you time and will often bring specialist knowledge with them that can significantly improve results.
5. Make a to-do list and stick to it
Every morning write down a to-do list of specific tasks you need to complete that day and stick to it. By working to a set list you will boost your productivity and limit procrastination.
6. Set every task a deadline
Working to set deadlines comes with many benefits. Firstly, it allows you to prioritise your to-do list so that urgent tasks are completed first and not left until the last minute. But, it can also help to stop you procrastinating as you have a target for completion to work towards.
7. Get rid of the quick tasks first
If you know a task is only going to take you five minutes why wait? Take these tasks out and you’ll have more time to concentrate on the harder, more labour-intensive jobs on your to-do list. Plus, the satisfaction of crossing lots of items off your list will give you a boost for the rest of the day.
8. Focus on one task at a time
When your to-do list seems like it’s never ending, it’s easy to start trying to multi-task but this can be counterproductive. Instead, focus on one task at a time so that all your energy is directed to one goal.
9. Turn off notifications
Whether it’s a personal text, social media or maybe even a reminder that you have more lives on your favourite game, as soon as your phone buzzes you’ll want to look at it to see what it is, distracting you from the task at hand. So, turn off notifications and you can check in for updates when you’re having some down time.
10. Put your phone on silent
Likewise, when you’re in the zone the last thing you want is to be interrupted by numerous calls and texts. So, put your phone on silent or aeroplane mode and then batch return calls and texts once you’ve finished the task at hand.
Are you forever losing important files on your computer? Do you have to wade through a tonne of paperwork on your desk before you find the piece you’re looking for? If so, it’s time to organise your office so that you waste less time searching and more time doing.
12. Develop a routine
Having a routine can do wonders for your productivity because your brain becomes used to concentrating through certain periods. You’ll be amazed how much more you can accomplish when you stick to a schedule.
13. Use canned responses
If you find that you send a number of similar emails every single day, it could be beneficial to create some canned responses. Then, rather than typing the same email every time, you can use these instead, freeing up valuable time for other more important business tasks.
14. Use a planner
It’s good to have a visual guide to both your short and long term plans so that you can keep track of your availability whether it’s today, this week or next month. If you prefer a digital copy of your planner you can even sync it across multiple devices so you can check your availability on the go.
15. Rearrange your phone apps/desktop
Business owners waste a considerable amount of time searching their desktop for what they’re looking for. So, create shortcuts to files you regularly open and remove distracting links from your desktop to prevent procrastination. This works on your phone too. Move all your useful apps to the first page and demote the distracting apps to the back so you’ll be less likely to open them.
16. Schedule calls during travel times
You could free up lots of your time by scheduling calls for when you’re travelling. Whether you take the bus, catch a train, walk or drive (if you have hands-free that is), you can get to your next destination and cross something off your to-do list. It’s a win-win situation.
17. Batch small tasks together
You may find that it saves you time to group small tasks together. For example, if you have numerous phone calls to make, do these back-to-back rather than periodically throughout the day.
18. Take regular breaks
Whilst taking time out may seem counterproductive, stepping away from your work can actually boost your productivity so that when you return you get more work done.
19. Don’t be afraid to say no
With many business owners scared of saying no, it can be all too easy to become a yes-man and take on everything that is thrown at you. But don’t feel like you have to say yes to everything. You can’t please everyone and you’ll only end up in a sticky situation when you don’t have time to do everything.
20. Don’t be available all the time
It can be really frustrating when you’re mid-way through an important task and your phone keeps ringing or your door keeps being knocked. So, schedule periods where you are unavailable and communicate this to your team so that your distractions are limited.
21. Set time limits for meetings
When meetings run for longer than expected it can throw out the rest of your day. So, never leave meetings open-ended. Always schedule a set start and finish time so that your expectations are clear from the outset and your time is respected.
22. Track your time
Knowing where you spend your time can help you to spot where you need to work more efficiently. So, for the next week or two start documenting how you spend your day and then brainstorm ways to cut back on wasted time.
23. Tackle your least favourite tasks first
When you have a difficult or stressful task looming over you, it can distract you from other jobs on your list. So, accomplish these tasks first so that you can face the rest of your day with a clearer mind.
24. Ask for help
Some business owners shy away from asking for help because they fear it will make them look bad. But, you can’t be an expert at everything. So, rather than spending hours struggling to complete a task, ask for help. When the task is swiftly completed you’ll be glad you did.
Do you have any time-saving hacks you’d like to share? Please comment below.