Corporate life is busy for managers and employees, but more so for business owners. Being an owner and leader means you don’t get off the clock—you are always working.
And as exhilarating as it can be to make your job your life, the demands of such a working lifestyle can be detrimental in the long run.
Constantly having to innovate, manage relationships, deal with problems, find creative and effective solutions—it’s all part of the job but it takes its toll on a business owner.
Being ‘on the job’ all the time inevitably leads to decreased productivity, lack of creativity, and loss of motivation.
As a business owner, you can’t afford to take your foot off the pedal but that means juggling several projects at the same time. But where is that time coming from?
With so many tasks to complete and so many items and people to manage, business owners have to manage their time properly.
In this article, we will look at six simple ways that business owners can save time.
Business owners have to juggle numerous tasks at the same time and it can be tempting to do everything yourself. After all, nobody knows the business better than you do.
But unless you are a one-person startup and have yet to employ anyone, trying to do everything on your own is the worst possible strategy you can undertake.
It is physically impossible to do everything yourself—you are one person and you cannot multiply yourself to be in several places at once, nor do you have more than two hands.
Instead of doing everything on your own, trust in your team to take on tasks that you would have been able to manage had you had the time.
There are certain tasks that you still need to handle yourself—such as executing growth strategies and expanding your business.
But other tasks, such as asset management and creating business reports, can be handled by efficient members of your team.
This will give you the freedom and time to innovate and grow your business, instead of having to concern yourself with the nitty-gritties of running a business.
Have an Action Plan
Task lists aren’t only for employees with a standard set of operations to complete on a daily basis—they are essential for running a business, as well.
Don’t start your day at a loss about what you have to do—create a daily and weekly action plan about all the tasks you need to accomplish.
Make your plans as detailed as necessary—what has to be accomplished, by when, and how you can accomplish them.
And divide your tasks up according to priorities. Some tasks may need to be completed on an urgent basis. Others may need to be subdivided into smaller tasks to reach completion.
If you don’t have an action plan for your day or week, you will waste too much time floundering about what needs to be done.
This will not only lead to an ineffective use of your time, but could cause costly mistakes such as missed deadlines, meetings, or opportunities.
It can be frustrating to take time out of your day to make and update your task list, but you will reap the benefits in the long run. In the end, task lists are a prerequisite for time-saving.
Invest in Productivity Tools
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly automated, and business owners can use such automation tools to their advantage.
Why spend time manually posting social media updates, when you can use social media scheduling tools that can not only post for you but give you detailed reports?
There are also numerous time management apps that you can use to manage projects, teams, and to work collaboratively with remote employees and partners.
You can opt to use free productivity tools, or invest in high-end paid tools, that will make your working life more efficient and easier to manage.
Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to force yourself not to look at something unrelated to your current task. But distractions and procrastination are time-wasters and must be avoided.
There are certain simple things you can do to avoid distractions in the workplace—set a period of time to check your emails instead of dipping in and out of your mailbox with every notification.
Give yourself a set lunch break and don’t let it spill over to longer than an hour.
The same goes for discussions with team members, employees, and managers. It can be tempting to talk about the latest movie or game scores, but limit it to lunchtime.
If you are working from home, don’t put on the TV too loud—only as white noise and in another room from where you are working.
Most of all, don’t check your social media during your working hours. This is particularly hard because we are all on our phones and it is so simple to open up the apps and take a peak.
Social media will break your concentration and will be a waste of time for you. Look at installing apps on your phone and laptop that will block access to social sites during the day.
There are so many distracting elements online and around us that it can be hard to concentrate. But by being strict with yourself and using app blockers, you can save precious time.
Be Flexible (to Some Extent)
Most employees in a company get to go home at 5 pm and switch off for the day—as it should be. But business owners cannot afford to clock off from work on a routine basis.
You have to accept that there may be days when your work continues long into the night—this will impact your life at home and how much free time you have.
But when you are building a business, work will need to be a priority and you need to manage your time properly.
While it can be tempting to take work home every day, sometimes it is possible just to leave it for the next day. You need to assess your tasks and prioritize accordingly.
Because there will be days when you simply can’t do anything until certain meetings come through—don’t waste time trying to do things you don’t need to or have delegated to others.
When you have work to do, make the time for it, even if it means coming in early or staying late. This will set a good example for your employees and motivate them.
On the flip side, in the rare instance that you really don’t have anything to do, take a break and rejuvenate your mind instead of burning yourself out.
Hold Fewer Meetings
The life of a business owner seems to be filled with meetings. You will find that most of your time is spent in meetings, rather than accomplishing anything.
But do you really need to have so many meetings?
Meetings take up much more time than they have any right to—from scheduling them to sending out minutes after the meeting—they require far too much effort.
Assess the agenda for a planned meeting and decide whether you really need a certain group of people to meet in a physical place for this discussion.
It might be far easier just to send out an email or post a quick message on apps like Skype so everyone can move action forward without having to take two hours out of their day.
Being a business owner is an all-consuming role and it can be difficult to manage one’s time.
But with a few simple changes, owners can save time while being productive and motivated.
Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and create an action plan that will help you prioritize.
Invest in productivity tools that will increase efficiency and help you avoid distractions.
Understand that you need to be flexible but don’t overwork yourself to the point of burnout.
And finally, if you don’t need to have a meeting, don’t hold one. There are more efficient ways of communicating that don’t require you to physically meet your team.
These six simple methods will help you save precious time so you can be a better owner and leader in your business.
Cover photo by Kaylah Otto on Unsplash
Image via Stocksnap.io