Whether you work from home or you have an office full of employees, you will know how much of your time running a business takes up. Even when you go home at night, you’re always thinking about the tasks that you have to do tomorrow, and you probably struggle to switch off your business brain. However, there are some things that you can do to save yourself a little bit of time, so that you can have that extra moment to unwind, or you can just fit more into your day. We’ve noted down some simple tips, for those seeking time efficiency.
Make a plan
Whether you manage your own business from home, or you’re in the office at 9am every day, you need to ensure that you’re making a plan for every day, week, and month. This sounds a bit excessive, but the only way to really utilise your time is to devote it to certain tasks, and to try and keep it to some kind of schedule. Some of us suffer from pretty bad procrastination, but putting a list in front of yourself and making sure that you do all of those things before you clock off will really help you to stay motivated, and get things done. If you have to include a 20 minute Costa break into your routine, then you can totally do that, too.
Don’t take on too much
One of the main reasons that your business isn’t very time efficient is probably because you’re simply taking on too much. How are you supposed to make any kind of schedule when you have enough work to fill up the planners of 3 people? If you want to become more time efficient, you need to ensure that you know when to say ‘no’ and you don’t push yourself too far. If you have too much on your plate, you’ll feel so under pressure that you won’t even know where to begin, and this isn’t really great where time management is concerned. Take on what you can, and don’t be afraid to say no if you don’t think that you can do it.
Say goodbye to micromanagement
OK, we get it. Your business is your life (and totally your brain-child) and getting other people involved can feel like a difficult thing to accept. You always want to stand over them, checking that they are doing everything right, and this may not come from any kind of malicious intent. However, it’s not good for your employees, and it will make them doubt themselves and the work that they are doing. This is time-consuming for many reasons, but predominantly because it takes up your time, and your team will be too worried that they’re going to produce the ‘wrong’ work, and will subsequently be a lot slower.
Outsource the legal stuff
Most business owners will agree that the single most boring thing that you have to do is all of the legal stuff, from tax returns to ensuring that your payroll is correct, and this can really eat up a lot of your time. Of course, you have to do these things if you want to run a business, but there are many outsourcing opportunities now so that you don’t have to. The Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative means that you have to sort out all of your business tax online now, and it can be a really time-consuming game. Get some Making Tax Digital software instead, and cut out the need for doing all of these things manually!
Do the worst jobs first
This is a tip that works for everybody, whether you’re a freelancer or you’re in the office, and don’t underestimate how much this will help you to get more done. If you have an awful job hanging over you (such as your tax returns…) then it’s a good idea to get this done as soon as you get into the office, when you’re most alert and ready to get it over with. If you leave it all day, you’ll be dreading that time coming around, so you’ll be going slowly through all of your other, more minor tasks, too. As Mark Twain said, it’s a good idea to eat the frog first thing in the morning.
Take breaks when you need to
If you feel super stressed all of the time, as you have so much work to do, you can drive yourself a little bit crazy, especially if you’ve been pulling your hair out and staring at your computer screen for a few hours now. Having a break, whether it’s a 2 minute walk around the office, or an hour at lunch, will really help you to refocus your mind, and it isn’t good for you to just keep going. Walk away from things for a little while, and don’t feel guilty about doing this. You’ll save yourself more time in the long-run, when you come back to your computer feeling refreshed and ready to get back into it.
Stay away from your emails
Look, we know that emails are really important. You have to answer them or your business (and your reputation) will be damaged, but it will take up a lot of your time if you’re just sitting there with your emails open every minute of the day, and you respond as soon as you get a new message in. As soon as you start replying to these things, you’ll find that it’s quite difficult to get back into what you were doing, so don’t keep your inbox open. Every hour or two you should be checking, but ensure that you limit the amount of time you spend here, especially if you want to increase your time efficiency.
So, if you’re looking to make your business more time efficient, why not try out these simple tips? From ensuring that you don’t micromanage your employees, to avoiding that urge to check your emails all of the time, there are many ways to utilise your time in the office, so that you’re not working more than you should. As they say: work smarter, not harder!