A-Z of time-saving hacks for busy business owners
The clocks will go forward in the early hours of Sunday 25th March 2018 to mark the start of British Summer Time and as a result, we’ll lose one hour of the day.
Whether that’s an hour you would have spent in bed or an hour you could have spent on your business we know that for small business owners time is precious.
So here is our A-Z of time-saving tips so that you can make the most of the time that you do have.
A is for Automate
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.
B is for Breaks
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.
C is for 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.
D is for Delegate
Some business owners find delegation difficult. But, remember that you can’t do everything. By delegating tasks to those that you trust you’ll know the job is in safe hands and will free up your time for other duties.
E is for Eliminate
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.
F is for Focus
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.
G is for Group
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.
H is for Help
Never be scared to ask for help. Some business owners shy away from doing so 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 some assistance. When the task is swiftly completed you’ll be glad you did.
I is for Interruptions
When you’re focused on a specific task interruptions such as calls or texts can seriously hinder your productivity. So, put your phone on silent or aeroplane mode and then batch return calls and texts once you’ve finished the task at hand.
J is for Journey
Make the most of your journey 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.
K is for Keep track
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.
L is for Lists
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.
M is 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.
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N is for No
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.
O is for Organise
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.
P is for Planner
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.
Q is for Quick
Think quick and get rid of the fast 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.
R is for 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. So try and develop a routine that works for you.
S is for Set deadlines
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.
T is for Turn off
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 downtime.
U is for Utilise tools
Technology has developed some pretty impressive tools that could help you to save time on tasks that you complete regularly. So keep an eye on the market to see if anything comes up that could be utilised to save you time on a daily basis.
V is for View
When you look at your desktop what do you see? Many 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.
W is for Workable
Break down tasks into more workable 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.
X is for e(X)perts
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.
Y is for You
You are important and your employees, clients and other contacts know it. But you can’t be available all the time without sacrificing your other priorities. So don’t be. 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.
Z is for Zzzzz
Whilst sleep may seem counterproductive when you have lots of tasks to do, feeling rested will actually help you stay focused and get the job done. So make sure you’re getting enough sleep so that you don’t burn out.
What’s your top tip for saving time? Please share your best hacks in the comments below. We’d love to hear them.
*This post was originally shared as 24 time-saving hacks for busy business owners.